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Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

England stars 'set to shun tour'

England captain Kevin Pietersen
England flew home following the attacks in Mumbai

At least five England players are not prepared to return to India following the Mumbai terror attacks, according to former Test fast bowler Dominic Cork.

The players are waiting for a security report and a decision on the future of the Test series may be six days away.

Cork told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I know at least five who will turn their backs."

Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Sean Morris has hinted England players may head to a holding camp in Abu Dhabi.

Morris is flying to Chennai, where the first Test is scheduled to start on 11 December, on Thursday to meet security advisor Reg Dickason to see if the England and Wales Cricket Board's safety and security recommendations are being put in place.

You don't dilute an England team just for the sake of fulfilling a contract with another board

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

He told BBC Radio 4: "I don't think (the holding camp is) 100% confirmed yet.

"I know the logistics of preparing for the games are well developed. But I don't think it's set in stone yet.

"But I'm sure they're looking at that and if that's the case we will go and meet them in that camp."

Morris also said that no players had told him outright that they did not want to travel.

But he added: "The guys are very nervous because they are being asked to go into an environment which is not necessarily the safest place on the planet right now.

"They have asked me to assure them all security is in place and that's what we'll do and then it comes down to a very simple equation, it's either safe or it's not and then the decision is effectively one of the ECB's."

Morris also confirmed a number of peripheral players were on standby, should regular first-teamers like Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison, pull out, as they are rumoured to be contemplating.

Cork, who played in 37 Tests and 32 one-day internationals for England, refused to name the players involved but said the most important thing was that the squad stuck together.

He said: "Those I've spoken to are traumatised. What they saw on television was 10 times worse than what was shown here.

"If one doesn't go, they all shouldn't go. They make a stand and say 'it's not safe for us to be there'."

The two final one-day matches were cancelled after the attacks in Mumbai last week.

England returned home but have been offered a revised schedule, with the first Test in Chennai and the second starting in Mohali on 19 December.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has stressed that regardless of the security report findings, the players would not be forced to go.

Cork added: "I am not sure about the captain (Kevin Pietersen). I know of certain players who are going to put their families first.

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"I've spoken to players and they are very upset and feel they wouldn't be able to go out and play cricket in India.

"What is the point of England taking a diluted squad? You're going to India in their backyard. You have a big series against West Indies, and then Australia. It's not very good preparation. The guys will not be focused."

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said the series was still up the air.

He added: "It is laudable for cricket to continue and for the ECB to work as hard as they are to get cricket back in India, but they shouldn't be simply sending out anybody.

"You don't dilute an England team just for the sake of fulfilling a contract with another board.

"The onus really now is switching to England's cricketers. If Dominic Cork is right, then I don't think anyone would support and England team going out and playing under those circumstances.

"But he might not be. By the time security reports are presented to the players, those that he claims are wavering might well change their minds."

Matt Prior's agent Andy Smith has told the BBC, the wicketkeeper would return to India if the right assurances were given.

Smith said: "He takes the view that he's a professional cricketer and it's his job to go back with the team.

"He's discussed it with both Sussex and his family and along as he gets the right assurances, he'll return".

ECB chairman Giles Clarke said meetings had taken place with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Tuesday and would continue on Wednesday, along with the PCA.

He said: "A lot of progress has been made and some extremely good and constructive meetings have taken place.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India is doing all it can to facilitate the tour but we must do what we have to do properly and thoroughly. It is what every England player wants and deserves."



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see also
England wait on security report
29 Nov 08 |  England
How Mumbai attacks unfolded
30 Nov 08 |  South Asia
PCB chief fears divide in cricket
29 Nov 08 |  Pakistan
India tour of Pakistan in doubt
01 Dec 08 |  Pakistan
Police declare Mumbai siege over
29 Nov 08 |  South Asia
Jonathan Agnew column
28 Nov 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket
Hampshire sign all-rounder Cork
02 Oct 08 |  Hampshire


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Times of India England set for return after security - 29 mins ago
CNN England tour of India remains in balance - 54 mins ago
Leigh Today Players may reject revised tour - Cork The England and Wales Cricket Board are thought to be close to accepting tightened security arrangements for the resumption of the tour to India, but Dominic Cork claims as many as six will not return and a - 2 hrs ago
Observer Five Test cricketers will not return to India, says Cork - 2 hrs ago
Western Telegraph Players may reject revised tour - Cork - 3 hrs ago


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