England cricketers undecided on India tour

December 4th, 2008 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 4 (IANS) The English cricket board might have cleared the India tour, but players are still undecided about visiting the country they had left midway through the one-day series after last week’s terror strikes in Mumbai.”They are going to be guided by the advice of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) before taking their final decision,” a players agent was quoted as saying by The Times.

“They want to play for England but won’t make any decision until they are told.”

Another agent said that his players did “not want to be pawns in a political debate between the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but they would be quite happy to go if due diligence and checks have been made”.

The England cricketers are scheduled to fly for Abu Dhabi where they will train before leaving India for the first Test in Chennai Dec 11.

England security expert Reg Dickason is in India to assess the security preparedness at venues and has also drawn out an elaborate security dossier for India to follow for the clearance of the tour by ECB.

Dickason, however, is happy with the level of security to be provided in Chennai.

The England squad have been discussing their options with their families as well as their employer. Ten of the squad originally selected to tour India are married and Andrew Strauss, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah have children. It is possible that James Anderson, whose wife is pregnant, will decide not to travel. Flintoff and Harmison have also been reported to have doubts.

“We’ve weighed up the pros and cons of going back on tour and I think we’ve all come to the conclusion, if the security arrangements are sufficient, we’ve probably got a duty to the game of cricket to get out there and play these two Test matches if at all possible,” Strauss said.

However, Matt Prior, whose wife is also pregnant and due to give birth in the spring, is happy to travel and attempt to win back his place as wicketkeeper from Tim Ambrose.

Alan Smith, Prior’s agent, said: “He’s quite happy to go back. He takes the view that he is a professional cricketer and it is his job to go back. He has discussed it with both Sussex and his family and as long as he gets the right assurances, he will return.”

Players are not expected to suffer any financial effect, save the loss of match fees, if they decide not to tour.

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