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Former skippers urge England to go back for Tests

London, Nov 29 (UNI) They might have backed the decision to skip the remaining two ODIs, but former captains Bob Willis and David Gower remain positive that the situation will improve and urged the England team to return to India for the two-Test series next month.

Willis and Gower said if England do not return to India for the two Tests, the same treatment could be meted out to them by visiting sides when their country faces the same situation.

''If India is deemed safe before the first Test in Ahmedabad on December 11 and the second in Chennai, they should go and play.

Otherwise no one will come to England -- teams will say we are as much a terrorist target as any country. I hope that within a fortnight, things will have settled down,'' Willis said.

Yesterday, former captains Ian Botham and Mike Atherton had urged the England and Wales Cricket Board to continue the Test series scheduled to start on December 11 in Ahmedabad.

Citing an example of the England squad, Willis said the team including himself, continued to tour India in 1984-85 when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.

''England players stayed on in 1984-85 when Mrs Gandhi and Percy Norris, the deputy British High Commissioner, were assassinated. But I can understand reluctance of any cricketer to go into areas where there have been terrorist attacks. As Westerners are being targeted, it is sensible for the team to leave,'' the former skipper was quoted as saying by 'The Times'.

However, Gower, who was the skipper of the English squad in that 1984-85 tour, asserted, ''I would understand if there are doubts about staying on but I would expect that if the players went back to different areas of the country, they would be fine.

''I would almost suggest that if they go back to Bombay, they would be fine. India will provide full security, even though they will find it hard to get this out of their minds,'' he added.


Story first published: Saturday, November 29, 2008, 17:08 [IST]
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