Players, officials back England's return

Updated: 29 November 2008 11:53 IST

England's decision to abandon the ODI series against India and return home after the terror attack in Mumbai has been backed by the cricket fraternity.


England cricketers' decision to abandon the one-day series against India and return home after the terror attack in Mumbai has been backed by the nation's cricket fraternity, which termed it a 'sensible' move.

Kevin Pietersen's men, trailing 0-5 in the seven-match ODI series, decided to return home after cancelling the remaining two matches in the wake of the devastating terror strikes in the financial capital of India.

Both the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) and its English counterpart are optimistic about England's return to India for the Test matches and in a bid to salvage the two-match series, the BCCI on Friday shifted the venue of the second Test from the terror-hit Mumbai to Chennai.

But if the English players are reluctant to travel back to India, they have an ally in former England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman Lord MacLaurin.

"It was absolutely the right decision to come home. The England cricket team are very high-profile individuals. If these fanatics are going to target people then the England cricket side could be a very big target for them," MacLaurin was quoted as saying by 'The Guardian'.

"My own view is that I would be very, very surprised if the security people will give them the OK to go back. I don't think they should go back. I think it's sad for cricket but the safety of our players is absolutely paramount and I am sure the ECB will take the same view," he added.

Former England cricketers also backed the team management's decision to return, saying the situation in India was not safe for the players to stay back.

"I'm sure they would have taken a lot of security advice. Two One-Day Internationals may have been cancelled but if you look at the bigger picture there has been a devastating attack on the commercial capital of India and a lot of people have lost their lives," Solanki said.

Wicket-keeper Paul Nixon, who represents Leicestershire in county cricket and the World XI in ICL, lauded the rebel league management for calling off the World Series which was being held at Ahmedabad and said the Mumbai attack was too scary to continue playing cricket.

"Obviously the top board members of the ICL made the decision that it was getting too scary out there really for everybody's safety," Nixon said.

"It was horrific. The bombs in London . . . it's been exactly the same in India."

Former England coach David Lloyd also supported the team's return and felt under the circumstances the chances of Kevin Pietersen and his men returning to India for the Test series looks really dim.

"I know the plan is still for the Test series to go ahead but I can't see how it can under these circumstances. It's terribly sad for India as a country, its cricket and its people. Our production crew were almost in tears about what's gone on.

"The people here are terrific; they are cricket disciples who turn up at grounds four hours before a match. We want to come here and play against a team that is the best in the world, make no mistake.

But if you work back from the December 11 - when the first Test is due to start - I don't think it's feasible," David said.

"So, in order to play in India on the sixth they would need to leave England on the fourth. That would be around five days after they return home. I don't think it will work. If it's not safe now, it's not going to be safe in five days time," he added.

Former left-handed batsman Mark Butcher said he would be surprised if England returns for the Test series and feels the onus will be on individuals to take the decision.

"I would be incredibly surprised if England got back on the plane again to go back to India once they've got home.

"Kevin Pietersen has already said that he wouldn't put pressure on his players to make a decision against their will; I think once those players get home back to their families I think they will find it very difficult to go back out," Mark said.

"In the end I guess it will be put up individually to players to make a decision. That's what's happened over situations that have nothing to do with cricket in the past and there's every possibility that's what will happen again.

"I hope that a sensible decision is made in terms of player safety. We are talking about a game, after all, and if people feel that their safety is compromised or they are being put in a position which is unreasonable to expect someone to do for the sake of a cricket match then the right decision will be come to," he added.

Topics : Cricket
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