England’s focus back on cricket

December 9th, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 9 (IANS) After a traumatic fortnight following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the England players are relieved to get back to the business of playing cricket.England flew back to India to play the two Test series after they cut short the tour following the Mumbai attacks.

Both teams are eagerly looking forward to the start of the first of the two Tests beginning here Thursday.

“We have not had ideal preparations for the series against one of the best sides in the world, but cricket is all in the mind. We are relieved that we can now focus totally on the game despite the distractions of security issues,” said Alistair Cook.

Cook said the short stay in Abu Dhabi en route to India had a calming influence on the players who were traumatized by the Mumbai incidents and had expressed concerns over returning to India to honour their two-Test commitment.

“We did talk a lot about the situation in Abu Dhabi and decided as a team to return to India after we were assured of our safety and the security arrangements,” said Cook.

When asked about getting their minds back on playing cricket after all that the team went through in the past fortnight, Cook said: “In Abu Dhabi, we individually talked about our playing technique, but we are still to sit down as a team and work on the strategy for the match. May be tonight and tomorrow, we will be talking it.”

He said cricket was all in the mind and spoke of his own experience in 2006 when he flew 48 hours from the West Indies where he was touring with the England A team to join the senior side in India and scored 60 and 104 on debut in Nagpur.

“The jet lag after travelling around the globe for 48 hours did not really bother me, because the adrenaline got me going. If you are mentally switched on, then anything is possible,” he said.

Cook said it was time to focus on cricket rather than keep talking about security. “We are here and this is it. We do not have control or a say on what is happening around us. Ideally, we would not like to have so much of security around us, but then, the circumstances are such,” he said.

Replying to a query whether financial considerations influenced their decision to return to India, Cook defended solidly. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when we spoke about the situation, such things never came up. Our concern was safety and once we were assured of it, we decided to return and play the series.”

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