Lahore, Dec.4 : The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that if the England cricket team resumes its tour of India, it will send out a 'positive signal for cricket in the subcontinent.
PCB Chief Operating Officer Salim Altaf told reporters here on Wednesday that it would also clear the path for the Indian team's tour of Pakistan in January and February. "I fully support the statement of England captain Kevin Pietersen that we can't let cowards run cricket. These terrorists who caused so much carnage in Mumbai have to be given out a clear message that people in the region want to live a normal life," the Daily Times quoted Altaf, as saying.
England and India are due to play two Tests -one in Chennai and the other in Mohali later this month.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is now awaiting a final security report from their security expert Reg Dickason before deciding to tour or not to tour.
Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, has said the board would make a sensible choice. "Under no circumstances will we allow our cricket to be dictated to by terrorists," he said.
According to a Daily Express report, England's cricketers have lined up behind captain Kevin Pietersen and volunteered to go back to India for the two-Test series starting next week. In a show of solidarity all 13 fit players agreed to fly out today for a training camp in Abu Dhabi before moving on to Chennai next Monday for the first Test there three days later.
There were fears that Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Jimmy Anderson would cry off, having returned home last weekend in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, but these rumors have proved to be wide of the mark.
Flintoff's decision to go, after his initial misgivings about returning, is a massive boost for the squad and the credibility of the whole trip, which would have seemed meaningless had a second-string England side turned up.
The only players missing are Ryan Sidebottom, who has been withdrawn because of a side injury, and Stuart Broad, who is having treatment for a strained hamstring and hopes to fly out during the first Test.
The fact that a full-strength team will take on India is a triumph for the ECB's careful handling of a sensitive situation and the support within the camp for skipper Pietersen.
Over the last 48 hours Pietersen has spoken to all of his players explaining the case for the return to India without putting pressure on them to fall into line.
The PCB is also expecting a decision on India's visit to the country next year. There have been reports the tour would be cancelled as the Indian government is taking a tough stance on ties with Pakistan after the attacks.
Story first published: Thursday, December 4, 2008, 15:01 [IST]
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