2 Dec 2008

England wait for security report on India cricket tests

3:28 pm on 2 December 2008

The England and Wales cricket board will send a security consultant to India before deciding whether to take part in this month's two-test series following the deadly attacks in Mumbai.

The board tentatively agreed to play after the Indian authorities switched the venues to Chennai and Mohali, from Ahmedabad and Mumbai in the west.

The first tests at Chennai is due to be held from 11 to 15 December and the second at Mohali from 19 to 23 December, while the three-day tour match has been cancelled.

Doubt has hung over the tests since England flew home on Saturday, having called off the last two games in a seven-game one-day series.

English media have reported some players are reluctant to return due to security concerns following the Mumbai attacks in which 10 Islamist gunmen killed 183 people, including 22 foreigners.

Cancelling the three-day warmup game, scheduled from Friday in the Gujarat city of Baroda, would give the ECB more time to get security advice.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India switched the tests from Mumbai, the original second venue, and Ahmedabad, the first venue and main city in the adjoining Gujarat state in India's western region.

The International Cricket Council has urged England to play in India if their safety concerns are addressed. Its chief Haroon Lorgat has pledged support to the two boards to ensure cricket was not disrupted.

The ICC expressed concern in its statement on Sunday that violence could damage the game in its global commercial hub India, with teams already refusing to tour Pakistan over security fears.

Indian organisers have already postponed the $US6 million prizemoney Champions League Twenty20 tournament with eight teams from five countries, due to have started this week.