Lahore, May 22: He was lucky enough to survive the tragedy and it took six months for him to stand on his feet again. But Ahsan Raza, the Pakistani umpire who sustained bullet injuries during a terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team here in March 2009, is now fearless.
Forty-year-old Raza, who was just hours from officiating his first international match at home, said surviving that attack has made him immensely stronger. He still remembers that black day that saw Pakistan being left in an isolation by the cricketing world as none agreed to visit it after what the Lanakn players faced.
Raza said it was a normal day but as they were traveling to the ground in a separate vehicle for the third day's play in the second Test, they heard gunfires and soon it was clear that something was seriously wrong. Their vehicle came under a hail of bullets and the driver, Zafar Khan, was badly injured. Raza, 34 then, went to protect match referee and former England cricketer Chris Broad but sustained a shot in his lung.
Broad didn't forget to reciprocate. He lied on Raza to press his wound and stop the flow of blood, something that saved the Pakistani umpire's life, doctors said. Raza said his survival was nothing short of a miracle.
Raza said he could have migrated to England but he wanted to stay back in his own country.
He said he is fortunate to be a part of the revival of cricket in Pakistan after six years.
No team went to Pakistan during this time and the country even lost the opportunity to co-host the 2011 ICC World Cup. They played their home games in the UAE.