London, Nov 30 : Former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Ian MacLaurin has reportedly said that England should abandon plans to return to India for its two-match Test series in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in which 200 people lost their lives.
"I think it's sad for cricket. But the safety of our players is absolutely paramount and I am sure that the ECB will take the same view," the Daily Times quoted MacLaurin as saying.
MacLaurin warned the team could be targeted if they return. "The England cricket team are very high-profile individuals. If these fanatics are going to target people then the England cricket side could be a very big target for them. My own view is that I would be very, very surprised if the security people will give them the OK to go back. For myself, I don't think they should go back."
According to the paper, England captain Kevin Pietersen had on Saturday said that no player would be asked to return to India against his wishes, a stance backed by Vikram Solanki, an England batsman who was born in India and has played for the Mumbai Champs of the Indian Cricket League.
"Two one-day internationals may have been canceled but if you look at the bigger picture there has been a devastating attack on the commercial capital of India, and a lot of people have lost their lives," Solanki said, and added: "That puts things into perspective as far as one-day cricket matches are concerned."
Yet Solanki warned that any withdrawal would have implications for all future tours.
"There have been terror attacks on England in the past and cricket matches played soon afterward, which begs the question of whether that sets a precedent," he added.
Story first published: Sunday, November 30, 2008, 14:28 [IST]
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