England players will be allowed to make their own decision on whether to return to India for a two-test series next month after the militant attacks in Mumbai, captain Kevin Pietersen said yesterday.
England cut short their one-day series to fly home yesterday, but are scheduled to return next month.
The first Test will be in Ahmadabad as scheduled from Dec. 11 and the second Test, due to be played from Dec. 19 to Dec. 23 at Mumbai, has been shifted to Chennai on the same dates.
“We will make every effort to come back and play in the Tests but at the end of the day if it’s not safe we won’t be coming back,” Pietersen told BBC radio.
“I’ll never force anybody to do anything. A man is a man and he can make his own decisions for himself,” he said. “It’s the right decision right now to get the boys out of here, to get them to their families, even if it’s only going to be for a couple of days. It has been really, really hard. It’s something that we weren’t expecting and when unexpected things happen you deal with them in certain ways.”
Pietersen said postponing the series until after Christmas were not practical and that plans were in place to set up a new practice match in place of the scheduled three-day game in Baroda from Friday next week.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he and the rest of the performance squad would have been in Mumbai, and possibly in one of the hotels targeted by gunmen, if they had not been moved to Bangalore.
“It was only at the last minute it was switched, I don’t know why,” Vaughan wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday confirmed next month’s two-Test series would go ahead.
“India’s Test series against England will be played as per schedule,” BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan said.
England’s cricket team left the eastern city of Bhubaneswar for Bangalore on the first leg of its journey home after the last two limited-overs internationals in a seven-match series were canceled.
India already had a 5-0 lead in the series.
Two dozen commandos from Karnataka state’s special action force cordoned off the arrival lounge at the Bangalore airport. The team was taken under high-security escort to a city hotel to wait until its early morning flight to London.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had already sent its second-string squad, which was in Bangalore, home yesterday.
■ S AFRICA, BANGLADESH
AFP, CENTURION, SOUTH AFRICA
Bangladesh slow bowler Shakib Al Hasan took three wickets in four balls but could not stop South Africa from taking a firm grip on the third day of the second and final Test at Centurion Park yesterday.
Despite left-arm spinner Shakib’s haul of six for 99, South Africa took a first-innings lead of 179 when they were bowled out for 429.
Bangladesh were eight for one in their second innings at lunch with Imrul Kayes caught at first slip off Makhaya Ntini for five.
Ashwell Prince scored a career-best 162 not out for South Africa.
He and Mark Boucher (117) made their South African record sixth wicket stand worth 271 before Shakib instituted a collapse in which the last five wickets fell for 24 runs.
After a slow start to the day, Prince and Boucher went on the attack and scored 26 runs off three overs from Mahbubul Alam and Shakib.
Boucher hit the first two balls of Shakib’s next over for four but when he went down the pitch to the third delivery the ball bounced more than he expected and he pushed a simple catch to silly mid-off.
Prince was left unbeaten after facing 223 balls and hitting 23 fours and two sixes.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on