England to return home amid security fears

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The Independent Online

England have decided to fly home from their tour of India following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai but remain committed to returning for the Test series.

Following a series of meetings at their hotel in Bhubaneswar today the tourists have elected to fly home tomorrow with a view to returning for the first Test in Ahmedabad on December 11.

Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket, said: "We want to get back home to a home environment which we think will be a good thing for all the players.

"The players know this is a very real thing because they were only in one of the hotels attacked a few weeks ago."

Morris confirmed no decision had been made about the date of their return but they were due to play a three-day practice match in Baroda starting on December 5 ahead of the two-Test series.

Morris insisted that no risks would be taken with the security of the squad, but remained adamant they would return unless advised otherwise.

"Any country in the world will make sure the priority they have for players and management teams, when at home and overseas, is their safety and security," he told Sky Sports News.

"The Test matches are in place and unless we get security advice to the contrary, we will be playing those Test matches."

"Sadly we're in extraordinary times, and this won't be the normal build-up to a Test series. But the Test matches stand and we will be prepared to play them."

BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi insisted the decision for England to go home had been reached jointly and confirmed the second Test would be moved away from Mumbai.

"There's no difference of opinion at all," he said.

"Hugh is absolutely right, the home environment will calm the players down. We are very, very happy the (England) players are going home and will be back.

"I want to reiterate, we are changing the second Test match. It will take place in another city, but definitely not Mumbai."

Modi remains adamant the Test series will still go ahead as planned.

"My conversation with (ECB chairman) Giles Clarke confirmed that and I haven't heard anything to the contrary after that," he said.

"The only issue is the new venue in place of Mumbai in the south which we are going to confirm to them.

"The ECB were very happy to go ahead with the Test series."

The terror attacks in Mumbai have left at least 101 people dead with authorities still trying to work out the full severity of what has occurred.

"This tragedy has taken everybody by surprise," Modi added on Sky Sports News.

I don't think there is a power play, everyone has the right intention. We do what is good for cricket and we put players' and fans' safety first.

"We have to make sure all those measures are in place and ensure everyone is satisfied with that.

"I think we are all on the same page and we don't want to let terrorist attacks deter us."