England captain Kevin Pietersen has heaped praise on his England colleagues for deciding to fly to Abu Dhabi ahead of the test match series in India. Following terror attacks in Mumbai last week, the team flew back home, but are now preparing for the continuation of the tour.
Pietersen says that it is ‘fantastic’ that his players are willing to play in India during this time of need and that it is a ‘huge stance’ for the team to be getting on a plane and returning to India.
Speaking about whether any players needed persuading to get on the plane, Pietersen insisted that he ‘didn’t persuade anybody’ and that this includes Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff. Both players were rumoured to have had doubts about returning to the country.
It is worth noting though that the test matches are in no way certain as of yet. For now, the players have flown to Abu Dhabi where they will receive information on the security measures in place for them in India. Should they be satisified with what they have been told – the tour will go ahead.
With reference to this, Pietersen admitted that the squad were ‘buying some time’ by flying to Abu Dhabi. However, he remained confident that the test matches would go ahead as planned as long as no ‘alarm bells start ringing’ prior to flying back to India.
Something that could create such alarm is that some Indian airports – including the venue of the first test match – were put on high alert earlier today with the threat of airborne attacks being discussed. This is obviously something the players need to be briefed on before making their final decision.
Personally, I wouldn’t blame the players should they eventually decide to come home. If they consider it unsafe and the ECB advisors consider it unsafe, then they should make a collective decision and return to England.
Yes, we are all itching to watch some test match cricket, but at the end of the day, the players and their families must come first. There is also the media team and England fans to think about as well. It’s not as if the 23-man England squad are the only set of Englishman making the journey is it?
The ideal situation would be for the players to be satisfied with the security precautions and get on the plane to India. Cricket can be the winner and like Pietersen said, it really would be a very significant stance from the England team.
The first test is due to start next Thursday in Chennai and hopefully by then, my column will be filled with the usual information on cricket odds etc as we all start to focus on the cricket.
By Thomas Rooney – A professional sports writer who blogs about cricket betting