Afzaal ready to tour India

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The Independent Online

Usman Afzaal is set to tell the England and Wales Cricket Board he is ready to go on the tour to India this winter.

The left-handed Nottinghamshire batsman joined the other England players at Lord's on Tuesday to discuss their concerns with Sir Rob Young, the British High Commissioner in Delhi. Afzaal emerged from the meeting reassured about the touring party's safety and said he will go to India.

"I will talk things through with my family but personally I want to tour India. It's as simple as that," he said. "Meeting the High Commissioner was very useful as the questions that needed asking got answered.

"As far as I'm concerned, the security of the players remains the most important thing and provided that is placed at the top of the agenda and is looked after as well as it can be, I think the trip should go ahead."

A collective decision about the tour is expected tomorrow, but not everyone is as convinced as Afzaal about the wisdom of travelling, given the international situation.

"I don't think he [the High Commissioner] managed to put all our minds at rest with regards to security," said Warwickshire spinner Ashley Giles, "so it's down to talking it over with my family."

"On an individual basis I've felt that if it came down to a majority decision then I would go along with that. But my wife is already very concerned, and her feelings have to come first," Giles added. "She's five-and-a-half months pregnant and obviously in her condition any extra stress isn't going to do her much good."

The South African fast bowler Allan Donald has been ruled out of the three-match series against India after tearing a stomach muscle playing for Free State last weekend.

Shane Warne spearheaded a late five-wicket Victoria fightback after Matthew Hayden hit his second century in six days for Queensland in their Australian interstate match in Melbourne.

Queensland were 305 for 7 at the close on the first day with Test opener Hayden unbeaten on 145. However, from a promising position they lost five wickets for 11 runs in the final session with Warne finishing with figures of 3 for 90.