India vs England: Birmingham Test on schedule despite riots

The third Test between India and England in Birmingham will be played on Wednesday, despite riots spread across London and other adjacent areas, including the venue itself.

Updated: August 10, 2011 10:19 IST
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London: The third Test between India and England in Birmingham will be played on Wednesday, despite riots spread across London and other adjacent areas, including the venue itself.

This has been confirmed by cricket officials at Edgbaston. Steve Elworthy, head of communications for the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: "it is business as usual and we are preparing to be ready to go."

"We are communicating with police but the usual protocols are in place," he said.

A press release by the Warkwickshire County Cricket Club also said that the third Npower Test match between England and India will proceed as planned and play will begin at 11 am (local time) on Wednesday as scheduled.

Violence and looting spread across some of London's most impoverished neighborhoods had put the third Test that in jeopardy. (Also Read: England stars reveal their horror)

Already down 2-0 in the series, India take on England at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Wednesday. India skipper MS Dhoni has said that the recent incidents of violence and rioting in London is unfortunate but his team continues to remain focused on the third Test at Edgbaston, beginning from Wednesday.

"It is sad what is happening. But not much we can do as cricketers. Our job is to practice," Dhoni said.

"There are concerned authorities that are looking into this matter," he added.

Some players were out in the city when violence spread. The team management had called them. "We were outside shopping. We came back and were planning to go out for dinner bit were advised by security to stay indoors," Dhoni said.

The Indian and England players were asked to stay in their hotel rooms till the situation improved. Their security has also been beefed up.

"All players are safe and are inside their rooms," Indian team manager Anirudh Chaudhary had said earlier.

Despite the arrests and the deployment of hundreds of reinforcements, police appeared unable to contain the spread of the rioting, which began Saturday night amid community anger over a fatal police shooting. Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, was gunned down in disputed circumstances Thursday in the Tottenham area of north London.

Though the initial unrest was sparked by Duggan's shooting, some blamed unemployment, insensitive policing and opportunistic looting for the worst violence the city has seen in years. Police and politicians insisted the disorder was the work of a criminal minority and not a sign of social tensions or security lapses. Over 200 people have been arrested so far as the police continued to grapple with trouble spreading to newer areas in London.

Suresh Raina, a member of the Indian team, tweeted and assured all his fans and countrymen that the team was safe. "Everything safe here guys don't worry thanks for your concern....focus on 3 Test can't wait to wait for the match," he tweeted. (Pics: India, England cricketers tweet on London riots)

"Police vans all around Birmingham where we are right now. Either @alexhales is in town or these riots are spreading," Stuart Broad tweeted.

Media footage showed on Tuesday rioters creating chaos across the streets of London, smashing shops and setting cars to fire. The violence is widely recognized as London's worst in several decades.

Former South African cricketer Pat Symcox tweeted: "Take the bloody Olympics away if it doesn't end by lunch 2morrow!u will see ordinary folk taking a hold of the rioters and hanging them!"

London is to host the Olympic Games next year.

"They have just locked our hotel in Birmingham Riots just started here. Insane!," Kevin Pietersen tweeted.

England pacer Tweet by Tim Bresnan posted on Twitter: "Just seen the rioters in Birmingham fleeing down the main street followed by a load of police in the full get up. What's going on?"

"Good luck to those surrounded by the carnage. Be safe," England spinner Graeme Swann tweeted.

In the hardest-hit area, Tottenham, many residents agreed that the looting was the work of greedy youths, aided by instant communication through SMS texts and instant messaging.

"It's nothing to do with the man who was shot, is it?" said 37-year-old Marcia Simmons, who has lived in the diverse and gritty north London neighborhood all her life. "A lot of youths ... heard there was a protest and joined in. Others used it as an opportunity to kit themselves out, didn't they, with shoes and T-shirts and everything."

(With agency inputs)


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