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'Five to six England stars to shun India tour'

cricket Updated: Dec 03, 2008 13:04 IST

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Traumatised by last week's Mumbai attacks, as many as six cricketers might stay back even if England decide to tour India for the two-match Test series, according to former pacer Dominick Cork.

Cork said he talked to most of the English cricketers who returned home abandoning the last two ODIs in India following the Mumbai attacks and claimed five-six of them are definitely not going to return to India.

"I know of at least five or six players who are going to turn their backs on England. Those I've spoken to are traumatised. What they saw on television was 10 times worse than what was shown here," Cork told the BBC Five Radio.

Though he didn't name the players, pacer Steve Harmison and spinner Graeme Swann have already gone public with their reluctance to tour India, while Andrew Flintoff too feels the same way. Pacer James Anderson is also likely to stay back to be with his pregnant wife.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, for the past few days, were locked in talks over the future of the Test series, the fate of which now hangs on security expert Reg Dickason's report. Cork, who represented England in 37 Tests and 32 ODIs, said it was important that the team stuck together.

"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'.

"I am not sure about the captain (Kevin Pietersen). I know of certain players who are going to put their families first. Any player who doesn't want to go back shouldn't go," he said.

Cork, however, sees no point in sending a depleted squad to India.

"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," he said.

"My issue is that the guys who are not brave enough to make a decision (not to go) are the ones who are not sure of their place. They will go out not wanting to be there," he added.