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Will they, won’t they?

England cut short their one-day series to fly home in the early hours of Saturay but are scheduled to return in early December.

cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2008 23:21 IST
Mitch Phillips

England’s players will be allowed to make their own decision on whether to return to India for a two-Test series next month after the militant attacks in Mumbai, captain Kevin Pietersen said on Friday.

England cut short their one-day series to fly home in the early hours of Saturay but are scheduled to return in early December.

The first Test is scheduled to start on December 11 in Ahmedabad and the second was planned for Mumbai from December 19 but will now be switched to Chennai.

"We will make every effort to come back and play in the Tests but at the end of the day if it's not safe we won't be coming back," Pietersen said.

"I'll never force anybody to do anything. A man is a man and he can make his own decisions for himself. It's the right decision right now to get the boys out of here, to get them to their families, even if it's only going to be for a couple of days.

"It has been really, really hard. It's something that we weren't expecting and when unexpected things happen you deal with them in certain ways."

Pietersen said postponing the series until after Christmas were not practical and that plans were in place to set up a new practice match in place of the scheduled three-day game in Baroda from Dec. 5.

The team is backed by the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) who said the decision would be based on reports from the players' security advisors.

"They will look at it in the cold light of day and ask, is it safe to return or not?

They will go with that advice assuming the situation in India does not deteriorate further.

“The players have full faith in Reg Dickason (the England team’s security officer) and will be guided by him," the England and Wales Cricket Board's managing director, Hugh Morris, was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Morris assured the media that the Test series was very much on. "It's very, very real and emotions are very high. It's a sensitive time.

“The home environment is where the players should be for a few days. The Test matches are in place and, unless we get security advice to the contrary, they will be going ahead," Morris said. Reuters

(with inputs from the IANS)