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England to resume tour of India
Two-Test series given green light after security experts approve arrangements.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2008 20:34 GMT

England cricketers prepare for a training session at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in preparation for their now confirmed two-Test series [AFP]

England's cricketers will return to India for a two-Test series after their tour was suspended following the attacks in Mumbai, the national board announced.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the full squad would travel to India with "an unprecedented level of security".

The one-day series was cut short following the attacks that killed at least 171 people in India's financial capital late last month.

Decision made

"The decision has been made and all the players will be travelling to Chennai in the next 24 hours to play the Test series," ECB managing director Hugh Morris told a news conference in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

"It's obviously been a very emotional 10 days or so since the atrocities in Mumbai," he added in an ECB statement.

"We've had a lot of discussions with the players following a number of security information audits we've had from the very highest levels of government and our own security team."

The first Test starting on Thursday was switched to Chennai from Ahmedabad and the second Test to Mohali (December 19-23) from Mumbai.

The England announcement came after the players received a detailed security briefing by ECB officials in Abu Dhabi, where the squad were training until a decision was made.

Reg Dickason the security chief of ECB has given the tour the go-ahead [GALLO/GETTY]
Morris, security advisor Reg Dickason and Sean Morris, CEO of the Professional Cricketers' Association, travelled to Chennai to ensure England would receive foolproof security cover.

"This is a very brave and courageous decision that will be respected around the world," Morris said.

Venue change

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) switched the Test venues and promised full security and International Cricket Council chiefs spoke to officials on either side to help push for a resumption of the aborted tour.

Although the ECB announced on Wednesday it would tour if the security report was clear, some media reports had said a few players were still apprehensive and could pull out.

"We provided all the evidence of the security arrangements to the players and gave them time to consult their families," Morris said.

Among those killed in the attacks were 22 foreigners and the teams would have stayed in one of the two hotels which were raided by the attackers.

Indian board officials have secured most of the rooms in the team hotel in Chennai, media reports said.

The Chennai police commissioner has said the players would get commando protection.

England returned home after the last two games of a seven-match one-day series were called off, with the hosts leading 5-0.

The Indian board also postponed the $6 million Twenty20 Champions League involving eight teams from five nations due to safety fears.

England's return was also seen as crucial to convince tourists India remained a safe destination.

Dickason would inspect Mohali on Tuesday and submit a report before the second test, a Punjab state cricket official said.

Source:
Agencies
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