Despite Kevin Pietersen’s statements to the effect that no English player could be forced to play in India, the BCCI reiterated on Friday that the India-England Test series would be played as scheduled.
The only change, expectedly, was Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary N Srinivasan’s announcement that the second and final Test, scheduled to be held at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai from December 19 to 23 has been shifted to Chennai.
The first Test would be as planned in Ahmedabad from December 11 to 15. England’s three-day tour game in Vadodara will also be held as per the original programme. Pietersen’s England team is heading back home from Bangalore in the early hours of Saturday after the sixth and seventh one-day internationals were cancelled following the terror attacks in Mumbai on Wednesday night.
“We have not been officially told about the Test match being shifted to Chennai,” the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association secretary, Kasi Viswanathan, told the Hindustan Times from Chennai on Friday. “We will be prepared for the Test and security to both the teams have always been tight during internationals games here in Chennai. The England team will go back and come back for the Tests.”
The Chief Administrative Officer of the BCCI, Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, said that Chennai was the best alternative for the Test. “Looking at the time at our disposal, that was the only venue available to host the Test,” he said.
Meanwhile, the England ODI team arrived in Bangalore from Bhubaneswar on Thursday afternoon. While condemning the terror strikes, the Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary, Brijesh Patel said that the tour must go on. “They will have to play. We cannot be threatened by those terror elements and cancel events. You have to get over it and life has to go on. Don’t you leave home for office?” Patel said.
The England team doesn’t have anything on the agenda during their stay in Bangalore. “There is no meeting scheduled with any of the BCCI officials or security personnel to discuss their safety. The England team has arrived in Bangalore and will take the 5 am flight on Saturday to London,” said England’s liaison officer in Bangalore, B. Siddarama.