London:England captain Kevin Pietersen on Thursday back-patted his teammates for showing courage and standing united by agreeing to return to terror-struck India.
England captain Kevin Pietersen on Thursday back-patted his teammates for showing courage and standing united by agreeing to return to terror-struck India for two-Test series without any pressure and be in sub-continent in its hour of need.
"It's fantastic the guys want to go and rub shoulders together with India at a time of need. It's a huge stance by this England team to jump on the plane and go and do the business," he said before leaving for Abu Dhabi where England will practice ahead of the Tests.
"Everybody has become a bit more open-minded about their decision. They've spoken to family members and they have realised that it's pretty huge to go back to India.
"I didn't persuade anybody, I respect everybody's individual concern and respect their decisions - they are men at the end of the day. I think it's very clear that nobody was told what to do," he was quoted as saying by the 'BBC Sport'.
The England team will leave Abu Dhabi on Monday for the first match starting December 11 in Chennai, after approval from security squad in India under the leadership of Reg Dickason. There will be no warm-up match in India.
Pietersen also made it clear that it would be a collective decision of the players to come home.
"There's a collective decision now. The guys are just waiting on reports from Reg (Dickason, the ECB security adviser) on Sunday night. If there are any alarm bells ringing the collective decision will be to come home," Pietersen said. "But we are very focused on playing red-ball cricket," he added.
On speculation that all rounder Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison would refuse to go back to India, Pietersen said "They became a lot more open-minded which is fantastic because they are two big players and we certainly want them in our team."
Meanwhile, Indian airports were put on high alert on following warnings of possible airborne attacks. Security was beefed up at city airports across the country, including the one in Chennai.
ECB managing director Hugh Morris said he was in the process of finding out more information about that development.
"We are obviously concerned but what we need to do is find out the situation. I've spoken to our security team out in Chennai and when more information is fed back to me that will form part of the security audit."