It also comes as a political crisis in Pakistan has sent thousands of protesters into the streets of Islamabad and Lahore, the center of a battle between the leading Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the main opposition party.
Some tried to quickly blame India, but most analysts believe it was an attempt to further destabilize a government that has been criticized as failing to take a militant threat seriously.
"This is a major attempt to undermine the writ of the state," Ahmed Rashid, author of "Taliban," told ABC News from his home in Lahore. "It was superbly planned. The bus was surrounded by police commandos and [the gunmen] obviously had inside information for the arrival of these people and the route they would take. This is a meticulous operation."
Lahore residents, already unsettled from the recent removal of the province's chief minister, said they were dazed their city could become a target yet again.
"There is a general feeling of disbelief that this would happen," one resident said. "Lahoris are cricket lovers so this is a disgrace in their eyes."
This is the first direct attack on cricket players in Pakistan, though a May 2002 suicide bombing damaged the Sheraton Hotel, where members of the New Zealand cricket team were staying.
But this incident is likely to end international cricket in Pakistan, at least for now. Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka are currently scheduled to host the 2011 World Cup.
"We pride ourselves on being a loving sporting nation, but if these kinds of things happen, well it's really sad," former Pakistani cricket captain Waqar Younis told a local television channel. "This is not good for our society or for our cricket. We wanted foreign teams to come and play but now it looks remote. … People will refuse to travel to our part of the world."