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Aussie umpires slam Pakistan security arrangements

Posted March 5, 2009 11:05:00
Updated March 5, 2009 12:22:00

Australian cricket umpires caught up in Tuesday's violence in Pakistan have criticised the security for cricketing officials.

Simon Taufel and Steve Davis were travelling immediately behind the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus in the umpire's mini-van when the convoy was attacked by up to 14 gunmen.

The mini-van driver was killed and a fellow umpire seriously injured. Seven other locals were killed and some of the Sri Lankan cricketers were injured.

Mr Taufel says he had checked that security arrangements would be provided for the officials, but on the day it was not adequate.

He says his security entourage abandoned their van when it was attacked.

"You tell me why no-one was caught. You tell me why. Supposedly 25 armed commandos were in our convoy, and when the team bus got going again, we were left on our own," he said.

"I'm angry that we were isolated. I'm angry that we didn't get the same level of security that the players got. I'm angry that in our hour of need we were left on our own. I'm angry that the team got to the ground and no-one came back for us."

Mr Davis also says he is angry at being "let down" by Pakistani security forces.

"Security were nowhere to be seen when we were left at the roundabout. So we were quite disappointed at that and quite angry," he said.

He says he agrees with English match referee Chris Broad's comments that they were promised extremely high-level security, and in their hour of need that security vanished.

"We had all sorts of assurances before, and I'm sure the team feels that way too - they had some assurances. Despite all that, this was still able to happen," he said.

"We were put in a very vulnerable position and I felt very helpless."

He says he is still coming to terms with the scale of the event.

"There's a bit of anger there, that we were let down. We had all sorts of assurances before, and despite all that this was still able to happen. We were put in a very vulnerable position and felt very helpless," he said.

Mr Davis says the attack has shattered his belief that cricket transcends political turmoil and the game will never be the same.

"It's changed the face of cricket, that Tuesday has. I was naive to think that cricket was above all that," he said.

"Why should we be any different to any other innocent victims anywhere that get caught up in terrorism? There's no reason why we should be different."

Meanwhile, Australia has updated its travel warning for Pakistan to note this week's terrorist attack.

The overall level of the travel advice is still the same, with the government warning people to reconsider their need to go to Pakistan and to consider leaving if they are already there.

The Foreign Affairs Department says there is a very high threat of terrorist attack, sectarian violence and an unpredictable security situation.

Tags: sport, cricket, unrest-conflict-and-war, terrorism, australia, sa, pakistan, sri-lanka

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