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Page last updated at 21:05 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

England set to resume India tour

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England are committed to fulfilling the tour of India, say cricket bosses

The England cricket squad will fly to Abu Dhabi on Thursday ahead of resuming their two-Test tour of India.

England are set to play the first Test from 11 December in Chennai, but their return to India still depends on assurances over their safety.

While the players are training in Abu Dhabi, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will work to ensure all its security requirements have been met.

The original Test squad will be joined by nine Performance Programme players.

England's tour was abruptly halted following the attacks in Mumbai last week, and there had been speculation that several players were unwilling to return to India.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew described Wednesday's announcement as "a major step" because all the players are behind it.

I have been assured by the ECB that they would never compromise the players' safety and security

PCA chief executive Sean Morris

"We were hearing about Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, James Anderson, players who maybe were wavering and certainly a few days ago you would not have had all of them on board," he said.

"The ECB will feel the players are in a better place to make a rational decision, amongst their team-mates, away from family. They can sit down as a team and decide whether they are going to go.

"But while the board will say subject to security, this will happen, I still think the players are going to think 'we will make our own decision over the weekend'."

England batsman Andrew Strauss told BBC Five Live: "To begin with, there was a lot of shock and emotion as it seemed close to home.

"When things like that happen, you think about being with your family and cricket's not such a priority.

"But after a few days to let things settle down, we've been able to look at things logically and objectively - it seems the right thing to do for cricket and for the England team."

Strauss said the biggest problem the players would face was not worrying about security, but the lack of preparation.

"It's basically a week, so we've got to get over there, get over jet lag and get some practice in to make sure we're ready to come next Thursday," he said.

"It's a big challenge, but circumstances like this can bring a team together, so I hope that's the way it works and we might surprise one or two people."

All the players have received reports from the ECB security team and the recommendations that security adviser Reg Dickason has insisted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) put in place.

Hugh Morris, managing director of English cricket, will travel to India with Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, to meet Dickason and ensure all the ECB's requirements are implemented at the Test venues in Chennai and Mohali.

Reg Dickason
ECB security adviser Reg Dickason has been in Chennai this week

Hugh Morris said: "We've spoken over the last 48 hours with every player on at least two and probably three occasions.

"Today (Wednesday), Sean and I spoke to each player together and clearly for those who were out in India, it's been a very traumatic experience.

"I'm just delighted that everyone will be on the plane for Abu Dhabi. I think it's very important and shows a lot of solidarity.

"(Captain) Kevin Pietersen has been incredibly supportive, and it's nice to see the players lining up behind him."

He added: "The critical thing is that we've had the initial security reports and we will be continuing to monitor them on a daily basis."

PCA boss Morris said: "The PCA and ECB have worked extremely closely on this issue and the players have been fully supportive throughout.

"We will access the highest calibre of security advice on a regular basis so that we can provide the players with the latest accurate information.

"I have been assured by the ECB that they would never compromise the players' safety and security."

England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham backed the plan to return, telling BBC Five Live: "I believe that if you don't go then you're letting India down.

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"I think it's a matter of us all standing together, it's not India's problem, it's a world problem.

"India have bent over backwards, they're desperate for England to go back, and I think we need to show some unity and hopefully continue life as normally as possible."

Seamer Ryan Sidebottom will miss the tour having failed to recover from a side strain sustained during the one-day series.

Nottinghamshire bowler Stuart Broad will remain behind for further treatment on a hamstring problem before flying out.

The nine players from the Performance squad flying to Abu Dhabi include Kent's Amjad Khan and Lancashire's Sajid Mahmood, who had been added to the one-day squad as cover for injuries before the tour was halted.

Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara will also fly out with Nottinghamshire's Samit Patel, Durham's Liam Plunkett and uncapped quartet Mark Davies (Durham), Robbie Joseph (Kent), Ollie Raynor (Sussex) and Alan Richardson (Middlesex).


England squad for the two-Test tour of India:

KP Pietersen (capt, Hampshire), TR Ambrose (wkt, Warwickshire), JM Anderson (Lancashire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), PD Collingwood (Durham), AN Cook (Essex), A Flintoff (Lancashire), SJ Harmison (Durham), MS Panesar (Northants), MJ Prior (wkt, Sussex), OA Shah (Middlesex), AJ Strauss (Middlesex), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire).

Performance squad: RS Bopara (Essex), MA Davies (Durham), RH Joseph (Kent), A Khan (Kent), SI Mahmood (Lancashire), SR Patel (Nottinghamshire), LE Plunkett (Durham), OP Rayner (Sussex), A Richardson (Middlesex).

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see also
Prior ready to return to India
03 Dec 08 |  Sussex
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


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