ECB keeping a tab on news of threat to Indian airports

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Concerned by hijack threats at Indian airports, the ECB said it was keeping a close watch to take a final decision after getting the security clearance.

Updated: December 04, 2008 13:45 IST
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Concerned by hijack threats at Indian airports which have been put on high alert, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday said it was keeping a close watch on the situation and will take a final decision on returning to India for the Test series only after getting the security clearance.

Hugh Morris, the ECB's Managing Director, said they had asked for more information on the reported hijack threat and will take into account the revelations before making a final decision.

"Obviously we're concerned, but what we need to do is find out the information. I've spoken to the security team in Chennai this morning already to find out exactly what the situation is with the alerts.

"When we get that information it'll be fed back to me, to the board and form part of the security audit that we're undertaking," Morris said at Heathrow airport ahead of the England squad's departure for Abu Dhabi, where they will prepare the Test series.

"We feel as though going to Abu Dhabi provides us with practice before the first Test match, and it also gives us some more time to implement our security plans on the ground -they are in Chennai at the moment - and that is how we're proceeding," he added.

Airports of Indian metros - Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai - the venue of Test series opener - have been put on high alert after receiving threats of attacks by hijacked aircraft, putting the Test series under a cloud of uncertainty again.

While the England team and high performance squad prepared to leave for Abu Dhabi, Hugh and Sean Morris, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, are flying to India to meet security expert Reg Dickason.

Dickason took stock of the security arrangements at the MA Chidambaram stadium, venue for first Test in Chennai, and will fly to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to deliver a final security report, which will determine whether England will proceed to India for the two-match Test series.

The chances of the series going ahead had brightened late last night after the ECB issued a statement that the England squad would leave for Abu Dhabi before going to India for the two-match Test series against India.

"After spending the last 72 hours consulting security advisers and Government agencies at the highest level, the England and Wales Cricket Board has determined that England will leave for Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Thursday) to resume their two Test tour of India," the ECB statement said.

Hugh Morris, Managing Director of England Cricket had outlined the players that the tour would go ahead, subject to security recommendations being implemented in India.

"The England Test squad will therefore practice in Abu Dhabi along with nine members of the England Performance Squad and will fly on to India early next week for the two Test matches in Chennai and Mohali if the security recommendations have been implemented.

"All the players have received reports from the ECB security team and also the recommendations that Reg Dickason, the team security adviser, has insisted the Board of Control for Cricket in India put in place," the ECB statement added.

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