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Cricket World Shocked by Terrorist Attack

Posted by aguntuk On November - 28 - 2008   
England captain Kevin Pietersen in Bhubaneswar

England captain Kevin Pietersen in Bhubaneswar

The bombing and machine gun attacks in Mumbai demonstrates how terrorism has affected Asian nations hosting sporting tours and places the global future of cricket in jeopardy.

Pakistan, hit by a spate of bombings, will finish 2008 without playing a single cricket Test. Sri Lanka’s civil war involving the Tamil Tigers has been going for more than 25 years and shows no sign of abating.

Now, more than 119 people in Mumbai are dead in India’s worst terror attack, causing the England cricket team’s tour to be suspended and threatening a sport in a region containing four of the nine Test-playing nations.

England will return home following the terror attacks in Mumbai but their Test series against India will go ahead.

The England squad are currently in Bhubaneswar, which is 850 miles from Mumbai, but they stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai a fortnight ago and were due to return there on 16 December.

Hugh Morris, England and Wales Cricket Board performance director, said: “We want to get back to a home environment. It’s been an awful tragedy that this has happened in Mumbai and the players have felt very close to it because they have been in the hotel and in the rooms and the restaurant only a couple of weeks ago.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were keen for the tourists to remain in the country and complete the remainder of their seven-week tour despite the terrorist incidents, which killed at least 110 people and have injured another 300.

They wanted England to fulfill their three-day warm-up match in Baroda, which begins on 5 December, followed by the two-Test series starting in Ahmedabad, although the final Test scheduled for Mumbai will be moved.

But after a day of intensive discussions between England, the BCCI, the players and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) back in London, they decided to fly home with a view to returning for the Test series providing security assurances are in place.

Paul Winslow, spokesman of the unofficial England supporters’ group, the Barmy Army, said he had been besieged by calls from worried members asking for advice about traveling to India. “We would expect around 500 England fans to be going to Mumbai,” said Winslow.

The 2008 Champions League 2020 has been postponed following militant attacks in Mumbai. The decision was taken by the Governing Council of the Champions League 2020 after consultations among the three founding board members of the tournament – Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa.

A meeting will be held in December and organisers say they remain hopeful the tournament can take place next year. Lalit Modi, chairman of the Champions League board, told BBC Sport: “We couldn’t get a third venue to replace Mumbai at such short notice.”

Middlesex chief executive Vinny Codrington told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think [the postponement] is a very sensible decision. It would have been a great risk for us to have gone with the current situation as it is. Middlesex chief executive Vinny Codrington told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think [the postponement] is a very sensible decision. It would have been a great risk for us to have gone with the current situation as it is. We are very fortunate that we were due out there this evening [Thursday] rather than due out there last night.”

Along with Middlesex, two teams from Australia, two from South Africa and one from Pakistan had been due to take part. They would have joined the Indian Premier League champions, Rajasthan, and runners-up Chennai in an eight-nation Twenty20 tournament with the final on 10 December. The venues were Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

Australian star Shane Warne, captain-coach of Rajasthan Royals, was on a stopover in Singapore en route to Mumbai when he saw news reports on the terror attacks. He told the Herald-Sun in Melbourne: “We are heading to Mumbai and that [the Taj Mahal] is the hotel we are staying at. I don’t think we will be going (to India) now. It is just not worth the risk. No amount of money is worth the risk with what is going on over there at the moment.”

The terror attacks in Mumbai have forced the cancellation of the ongoing ICL world series in Ahmedabad, a senior official confirmed. ICL representatives met Gujarat government officials over the future of the tournament following Wednesday’s terror strikes in Mumbai, and later decided to call off the event.

Video News: England’s cricketers head home – watch below

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