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England to donate first Test fees

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Interview - England's Alastair Cook

England's players will donate half their match fees from Thursday's first Test with India to victims of the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Following a meeting at the team hotel on Tuesday, the players issued a joint statement pledging about 35,000.

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board is confident the second Test in Mohali will go ahead.

England returned to India on Monday amid unprecedented security after the attacks in November.

The second match of the two-Test series, which starts in Mohali on 19 December, was moved from Mumbai.

"We're going through the same checks in Mohali as we did in Chennai," ECB boss Hugh Morris told BBC Radio 4.

"Our security team is on the ground with the local authority in Mohali at the moment and Sean Morris, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, and myself will be travelling to Mohali to ensure that all our requirements are in place.

"We are hoping to complete those checks in the next 48 hours.

"We've received excellent support from the commissioner of police here in Chennai and the Board of Control for Cricket in India and we're expecting to have exactly the same level of support from the Punjabi Cricket Association and the police authorities there.

"We're very hopeful that everything we need, as far as our security requirements are concerned, are going to be in place."

As well as pledging half their fees, the statement by the England players also underlined their reasons for returning to India in the aftermath of the attacks, which killed 181 people.

Their return signified an "open and public statement of support for the Indian people following the tragic events in Mumbai", and they also extended their sympathies to those affected by the attacks.

Opening batsman Alastair Cook, who read out the statement on behalf of the squad, added: "We have made a massive pact at our meeting when we came up with the statement that this is it and nothing else can distract us from playing cricket.

"It was something that everyone wanted to get across."

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England's one-day series in India was cut short after the attacks on 26 November and during their time in Chennai they will be protected by more than 5,000 security guards drawn from India's police force and commando units.

Morris, the ECB managing director, added that security was their primary concern on the team's return to India and that every precaution had been taken to protect the players.

"Clearly we've got heightened security," he said. "That's been the process that we've put in place over the last week or so.

"We want to make sure the environment for the players is as safe and secure as we possibly can. Our security advisors believe that the measures we've put in on the ground are able to do that."

After initially returning home, the England squad flew to Abu Dhabi while they waited the results of security reports and Morris insists the players will be ready for the first Test.

"They practised well in Abu Dhabi and we're just looking forward to the series now," he added.

"To play a small part in almost the rebuilding of India after the tragedy in Mumbai is something the players are very proud to be doing.

"As soon as we arrived in Abu Dhabi the players had three or four days practice and it was very much back into cricket mode.

"That's where we want to be from now on. Now that we are back in India, back in Chennai, all the attention and all the focus is very much on the first Test match."

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see also
England to tour with full squad
07 Dec 08 |  England
England in Chennai
09 Dec 08 |  England
England call up Khan and Rashid
07 Dec 08 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
07 Dec 08 |  England
England in India 2008
01 Dec 08 |  Cricket


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