Mohali doubtful as second Test venue

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The PCA stadium in Mohali remains doubtful to host the second Test match between India and England.

Updated: December 08, 2008 10:27 IST
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New Delhi:

The England team's tour of India for the two-match Test series may have got the go-ahead following a security clearance, but there is still some doubt on whether Mohali will be the venue for the second game.

The BCCI, in a bid to salvage the series chose Chennai and Mohali as the two new venues instead of terror-hit Mumbai and Ahmedabad, but a final all-clear for Mohali is still awaited.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's security adviser Reg Dickason is expected to make a recce of the stadium and the hotel in Mohali some time this week before a final decision is taken.

Dickason, the ECB's Managing Director Hugh Morris and the Chief Executive of England Players' Association Sean Morris were scheduled to visit Mohali tomorrow but the trip has been put off for a later date.

"The visit of ECB security advisor Reg Dickason has been postponed and the exact schedule of his visit has not been received. Therefore the press conference which was fixed for December 9 stands cancelled," the Punjab cricket Association said in a statement, without giving any reason for the postponement.

A full-strength England team will reach Chennai tonight in two batches and will play the first Test at the M A Chidambaram stadium from December 11, which means the players will get just two days to acclimatise to the conditions.

But doubts have risen over Mohali as the venue for the second match mainly because of logistical problems. Bangalore and Delhi are in line as alternatives, and both would allow an easier passage home for the squad.

"It's purely a time-frame thing. Once the players are in Chennai the security guys will be doing all of the checks (in Mohali). There are a couple of small details we need to sort out. Then hopefully it will go ahead," Sean Morris told Sky Sports News.

The series, which had become uncertain in the wake of the Mumbai carnage, got the final nod late last night after the players were briefed about the security assurances given by the Indian authorities.

"We took players through security advice and now they are looking forward to getting down and playing cricket now. My role was to make sure they have the accurate information", Morris said.

"They asked some great questions and it was great to see the room come together. I spoke to every player over the last few days. They had a lot of questions and needed them all answered," he said.

The BCCI officials, on their part, are confident that they have met all the ECB's requirements for extra security, which will be at unprecedented levels during the two Tests.

There were reports that some senior players like former captain Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison may back out of the tour but apparently Dickason's security briefing has allayed their apprehensions.

Two new faces were added to the squad earlier on Sunday, with Kent's Amjad Khan replacing the injured Ryan Sidebottom and Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid being taken along for exposure.

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