Sri Lankan cricketers rushed to hospital on return from Pakistan

March 4, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s wounded and shaken cricketers flew home to Colombo Wednesday and were rushed straight to a local hospital, a day after being attacked in a deadly ambush in Pakistan, officials said.

There were emotional scenes as relieved relatives welcomed home the 25-member tour party, who were led from a specially chartered Sri Lankan Airlines jet by team manager Brendon Kuruppu.

Star batsman Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana, who both received hospital treatment in Pakistan, were among the first to be brought out and taken to a private medical facility in Colombo, a senior official said.

“Both of them may need further treatment and surgery,” said Geethanjana Mendis, a sports medicine specialist who was at the airport to receive the team. The extent of their wounds was not immediately clear.

Mendis said the entire team needed medical evaluation while some members would require further treatment for their injuries.

Spin bowler Ajantha Mendis was seen leaving the aircraft with a plaster behind his right ear. A total of seven players and an assistant coach were hurt in the attack, which left eight people dead.

Vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara, who was also woun