England face 'massive challenge' says Collingwood

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The Independent Online

England's players turned their thoughts back to cricket today as their bosses headed off to Chennai.

Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, and Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, accompanied the touring party which arrived in the United Arab Emirates in the early hours of this morning.

The pair then headed off to India to make security assessments for the first Test venue and will return to Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, the England team went back to the nets. They had travelled home from India last Saturday following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and have now set up a training camp here until a definitive decision is made on returning to the subcontinent.

"We have to believe that we are playing two Test matches against India," said Paul Collingwood. "That's the mindset.

"There cannot be any indecision because mentally we have to get our heads around the fact we are due to play a Test match next Thursday.

"As it is, we are playing catch-up because of what has happened.

"It is going to be a massive challenge but this kind of situation can bring a team together."

Security advisor Reg Dickason has spent the last few days back in India, having returned with the England and Wales Cricket Board's requests for player safety, and has inspected the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.

He will now liaise with Hugh Morris and Sean Morris before they return to Abu Dhabi to address the Test squad ahead of a decision on Sunday night.

England's 38-man travelling party, including 10 members of the England performance squad, checked into their hotel at 4.15am today.

However, with preparation time precious, they set off for an afternoon net session at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium just nine hours later.

Andrew Flintoff went some way to allay fears regarding his troublesome left ankle with a brief bowl in the nets.

Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid was yesterday called into the party to provide an extra slow-bowling option initially for match preparation.

All-rounder Rashid would also be a potential replacement should any of the spinners opt out of travelling on to India.