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England team set to return by Friday: reports

December 01, 2008 11:52 IST

England captain Kevin Pietersen and his teammates are set to return to India by Friday to play the two-Test series, the first of which would be shifted from Ahmedabad to Kolkata, according to media reports in London.

According to a report in 'The Guardian', the English cricketers would return to India on Thursday or Friday and the warm-up match, originally scheduled in Vadodara from Friday, is likely to be shifted somewhere near Kolkata.

However, the report added, everything would depend on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) being convinced about the security arrangements in India.

"The ECB will present the players with a safety report today and is likely to confirm on Tuesday that the tour will resume later in the week," it said.

"...there is some concern about the team hotel in Ahmedabad, which is in the middle of the city," the report added.

Following the terror strikes in Mumbai, the England team returned home abandoning the last two ODIs against India and some of the players have developed cold feet about returning for the Test series.

Following the developments, ECB chairman Giles Clarke has hastily returned from a business meeting in Colombia while CEO David Collier cut short his holiday in the United States to participate in a teleconference with their Indian counterparts.

"It is understood that the ECB is also talking to the Indian and British governments, high commissions in Indian cities, security advisers and other risk assessment experts in order to give the cricketers a thorough dossier on safety issues in India," the daily said.

In case they return, the England team might miss the services of Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff who are reluctant to go back to India.

Pacer James Anderson might also stay back to be with his pregnant wife.

Their possible pull out, however, would not count against them, selector Geoff Miller said.

"Players need to be on their full mettle. There is no point in anyone going out there if their mind is on physical self-preservation. We need them performing with bat and ball. But, depending on the character involved, it might not be right for some," he said.

"At the moment nothing has been confirmed with any of the players. We are committed, as it stands, to playing in those two Test matches, subject to safety and security advice. The support we've had in India has been incredible. Cricket is a galvanising force in that country and that's got to be taken into account as well," he said.

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