England cricketers await security reports

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The Independent Online

The England cricket team is waiting for the results of a security assessment before deciding whether to return to India next month to finish its tour.

The team flew back to London yesterday after cutting short its tour following the attacks in Mumbai.

ECB's managing director Hugh Morris said: "We are committed to going back, to playing in the Test series, assuming it is safe to do so."

But he said players would not be forced to go.

"I do not think we would force anybody to do anything.

"There's a degree of nervousness, there's no doubt about that.

"That's only natural. It's affected everybody."

The team stayed at the Taj Mahal Hotel only two weeks before the attacks and was due to return there next month for the Second Test in Mumbai. The venue has now been moved to Chennai.

The First Test is scheduled to start on December 11 in Ahmedabad if the ECB's head of security Reg Dickason says it is safe for the England team to travel.

Captain Kevin Pietersen said he is prepared to return but feels vulnerable because the team captain would make such a high-profile scalp for terrorists.

He said hearing that terrorists were singling out British tourists sent "a shiver" down his spine.

Writing in today's News of the World, Pietersen said: "If Reg gives us the okay then I'll be back for the two Test matches and complete the tour.

"If he says it is safe to go back to India for the First Test in 11 days then you can count me in."

Pietersen said he has struggled to sleep since the attacks.

"We'd just lost the fifth one-dayer when the news started coming through - but that counts for nothing when you get texts from mates in England asking if you are still alive," he said.

Mr Morris expects to receive security reports early this week.