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Dhoni thanks England team for returning to India

December 10, 2008 15:07 IST

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni thanked the England cricket team for braving the terror scare and returning to the country to resume their tour, which was interrupted by the Mumbai terror attacks.

"It is good on their part to come. Just as any Indian, I'm grateful to them for coming," said Dhoni in Chennai on Wednesday.

The team, which left India on November 28 after abandoning the last two matches in the seven-match One-Day International series in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai, play the first Test in Chennai from Thursday. The second Test, in Mohali, commences on December 19.

Dhoni stressed that cricket could play a big part in helping the country overcome the shock of the terror attacks that killed at least 183 people.

"We have a important series to play. The best thing that I could give to India at this juncture is a good game of cricket. That is what we are here to do as professional cricketers," he said.

Calling off the last two one-day internationals, he added, was a sensible decision.

"We were not thinking about cricket, but thinking about what a ghastly thing was happening over there. I cannot really say much because I was not really thinking about cricket then. It is really tough. The one thing that we did was not to play the one-dayers. The sentiments were quite low. We did a good job not to play the one-day series.

"We were not really thinking about cricket at that point of time. When it happened we were so sad. We were glued to the television. In that 70 hours or so I really slept for just six hours."

The England team announced on Tuesday that they will donate half their match fees from the first Test to the victims the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Reading out a team statement, England batsman Alastair Cook said the past week was very difficult for the team and their return to India was a "public statement in support for the Indian people following the tragic event in Mumbai".

Dhoni also pledged his match fees for the victims, but chose to maintain a low profile on the same.

"I do not believe in speaking too much. Actions speak louder than words. Whatever we need to do we will do as a team or individual," he said.

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