Chennai:England's decision to go ahead with the two-Test series in India after the bloody Mumbai siege is a victory for cricket, a top Indian administrator said on Tuesday
"We welcome England back to India, they have ensured cricket is the winner in these difficult times," said Inderjit Singh Bindra, who now serves as the principal consultant to the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"We are grateful to the tourists because this series is important for world cricket, for Indian fans, for the country in general."
Kevin Pietersen's men arrived in this southern Indian city on Monday night from their training base in Abu Dhabi, 10 days after abandoning the one-day series and flying home due to the Mumbai attacks.
The tourists have two days to practice before the first Test starts at the Chidambaram stadium here on Thursday.
The second Test is scheduled to be played from December 19 in Bindra's home base of Mohali, pending a security clearance by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The ECB's security advisor, Reg Dickason, and managing director, Hugh Morris, will fly to Mohali this week for an inspection, amid reports that New Delhi and Bangalore had been put on standby.
But Bindra, a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was confident Mohali will get the green light for the second Test.
"We have no security issues and we will be able to convince the ECB that it is safe to play in Mohali," he said.
The ECB's Morris said England's players were aware of the significance of going ahead with the series.
"It's been really important for world cricket that this tour does go ahead -- the players recognise that," Morris told reporters.
"Sportsmen and women in any sport will have a record which they will be proud when they retire, but there are very few opportunities to actually make a statement beyond the cricket field.
"Through a tragic set of circumstances these England players have been given that opportunity and made a tough decision to come back.
"This will be a particularly poignant series -- it does spread beyond the bounds of cricket."
Indian police have deployed 5,000 personnel, including 300 armed commandos, at the teams' hotel in downtown Chennai and the stadium in a security operation normally reserved for visiting heads of state.
"We are not taking any chance," senior Chennai police officer P. Balasubramaniam was quoted as saying in local media. "The security will continue till the teams leave the city on December 16."
Media reports said the entire 200-room luxury hotel where the teams are staying had been booked by the BCCI for the exclusive use of the players, officials and visiting cricket officials.
Hotel staff declined to confirm these reports, but outsiders, including reporters and TV crews, were not being permitted to enter the heavily-guarded hotel.
The media will also not be allowed to enter the playing field for the next two days and have been barred from speaking to the cricketers, except at pre-arranged press conferences.
Cricket's top administrators, including ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, will attend the first Test match in a show of solidarity with the players and Indian fans, local officials said.