As the England ODI and Performance teams arrived back home in London after suspending the tour of India due to the terrorist attacks, the ECB expressed confidence and commitment to the commencement of the Test tour after it received a security report in the next 48 hours. This was revealed by Hugh Morris, the ECB’s managing director in a press conference on Saturday.
“The only reason why we decided to suspend the tour and return home was to assess the safety situation in India in a comfortable environment,” Morris said. He added the ECB was waiting for a security report of the situation in India within the next 24 to 48 hours and a decision would be taken on Monday.
He also said if England could not reach India in time for the practice match, they might opt for a neutral venue if the ‘tour is on’. “We have to keep our options open and training in Abu Dhabi is definitely an option,” he said. But the ECB had no discussion on whether they would want to play the Tests in a neutral venue. “These are just speculations. We have had no discussions on this,” he said.
Flintoff, Harmison unsure
Agencies add: England will return to India to play their two-match Test series as per schedule, but without several senior players including talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison.
Meanwhile, the ICC has urged England on Sunday to play the Test series in India if player safety concerns are addressed. “If safety and security allow then I would urge the England Test tour of India to go ahead and if it does so then representatives of the ICC will be there to show solidarity with the competing teams,” chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.