Karachi: Umpire Ahsan Raza, who survived the deadly militants attack on the Sri Lankan team and match officials in Lahore six years ago, still remembers the day as a nightmare. “I still remember that day, those minutes when our coach was attacked is one of the worst nightmares of my life. But even after that incident I just kept on praying that someday international cricket will return to Pakistan,” the international umpire said in an interview.
Raza was travelling with match referee Chris Broad, field umpire Simon Taufel and the TV and reserve umpires when the militants opened fire on their coach. “I vividly remember all of us getting on the floor but one bullet grazed my shoulder and another one went through my stomach and I lost consciousness,” he said.
Raza underwent a life-saving operation as there were fears his kidneys might have been damaged. “But somehow I survived and today it is a big honor for me that I am going to supervise matches of the first international series in Pakistan since that black day,” Raza said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has been forced to appoint its own umpires for the series of two T20 and three ODIs after the ICC declined to send its match officials for the series against Zimbabwe because of security concerns.
Luckily for Pakistan, Cricket Zimbabwe has sent former test umpire, Russel Tiffin with the touring side and he will stand in all three ODIs. “It has not been easy for stakeholders in Pakistan cricket and difficult for us to tell the world that we can play international cricket in Pakistan despite all the problems. So for Pakistan cricket the Zimbabwe tour is a breakthrough,” he added.