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Strauss says players happy to return

December 04, 2008 13:22 IST

Contrary to media reports, England batsman Andrew Strauss claimed his team-mates are happy to be returning to India for the two-Test series later this month, notwithstanding the Mumbai terror attacks.

Strauss, a part of the England squad which flies to Abu Dhabi on Thursday to get some practice ahead of the Test series, said it is only natural that the players thought of their families soon after the attacks, which saw them returning home abandoning the last two one-day internationals against India.

"To begin with there was a lot of shock and emotion as it seemed close to home. That was the hotel we stayed in before and we were due to again. When things like that happen, you think about being with your family and cricket's not such a priority," Strauss told BBC.

With the dust gradually settling down, Strauss said it is the right decision to resume the tour.

"But after a few days to let things settle down, we've been able to look at things logically and objectively -- it seems the right thing to do for the game of cricket," he said.

Vouching that his team-mates share the same feeling, the Middlesex opener said, "The players I've spoken to have been in the same frame of mind as me."

Incidentally, media reports earlier claimed the trio of Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff and Graeme Swann were reluctant to tour India after the Mumbai terror strikes.

As he tried to get his focus back on the series, Strauss rued lack of preparation and said, "It's basically a week, so we've got to get over there, get over jet lag and get some practice to make sure we're ready to play come next Thursday.

"It's a big challenge. But circumstances like this can bring a team together so I hope that's the way it works and we might surprise one or two people and play some good cricket."

Strauss' claim about no apprehension among the players found an echo in rookie seamer Amjad Khan who said he is not afraid of returning to India with the England Performance Squad.

"I think you have got to leave it up to the people who know the security and know the risk," said the pacer who is a member of the nine-man performance squad.

"Listening to them and returning was probably the best decision at that time. I didn't have too many quarrels about that," he told Sky Sports.

"If it was up to me I would definitely go back, if all the security is in place and the ECB and people in charge feel happy," Khan said.

Legendary all-rounder Ian Botham too hailed the move and said it would be wrong to assume that terrorism is only India's problem.

"I believe that if you don't go then you're letting India down. I think it's a matter of us all standing together, it's not India's problem, it's a world problem," Botham said.

"India have bent over backwards, they're desperate for England to go back, and I think we need to show some unity and hopefully continue life as normally as possible.

"It's exactly the right attitude. It is common-sense prevailing. What went on in Mumbai was hideous and horrendous but the best way to address it is for the players to go out there and play cricket," he said.

Asserting that terrorists should not be allowed to dictate the game, Botham said, "We have had our own disasters over here. There have been atrocities going on all over the world and we can't give in to these people. We have to move forward."

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