Umpire Ahsan Raza makes emotional confession about Sri Lanka T20I in Lahore

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KARACHI: Pakistani umpire Ahsan Raza revealed he was left teary-eyed when he heard the national anthem being played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore during the final T20I against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Ahsan was injured during the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus back in 2009, and said that he was overwhelmed by emotions before the match.
“I wasn’t afraid when I entered the stadium,” he said, while talking to Daily Express. “I started crying when I heard Pakistan’s national anthem being played at the Gaddafi before the game.”
He continued by saying that it was Sri Lanka captain Thisara Perera who consoled him. “Perera was standing next to me and said, ‘I can understand your emotions. You are a brave man’.”
Ahsan also revealed that he asked his fellow umpire to let him stand at the non-striker’s end for the first over. “I asked my fellow umpire if I could stand at the non-striker’s end for the first over. He said he was more than happy to let me do that.”
‘Everyone praised security arrangements’
Sri Lanka were provided with state-level security for the T20I match in Lahore and Ahsan said all members of the touring party returned satisfied.
“I was staying in the same hotel as the team,” said Ahsan. “I would meet players and officials at breakfast and everyone expressed their satisfaction with the security arrangements. ICC’s GM Geoff Allardyce also praised the security.”
After T20 success, Sri Lanka promises more Pakistan tours
He added: “Match referee Andy Pycroft was so happy with the arrangements, he said that two matches could’ve been organised in Lahore instead of one.”
‘Pak Army’s role is applaudable’
Ahsan added that the return of international cricket in Pakistan owes much to the Pakistan Army due to the safety and security they provided to visiting players and officials.
‘Thank you Sri Lanka, for trusting us’
“I returned from the jaws of death in 2009. It left a deep mark on me and my life. International cricket has returned to the country and I would like to credit the army and Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi for everything they have done,” said Ahsan.

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