England captain Andrew Strauss insisted he had no qualms about playing

the third Test against India at Edgbaston following a night of rioting

in Birmingham.

Players from both sides opted to remain in their

hotels as rioters and looters took to the streets of England’s ‘second

city’ on Monday following three days of similar disorder in London.


Football Association reacted by calling off England’s international

friendly against the Netherlands, scheduled for Wednesday at Wembley

Stadium in north London.

But Strauss, who said his team had been

told by their security manager it was “100 percent safe” for them to

play the third Test, said the match should start as scheduled on

Wednesday despite the riots.

“Let’s divorce the cricket match

from what is going on in the country which is clearly not our proudest

hour as a country right at the moment,” Strauss told reporters here at

Edgbaston on Tuesday.

“You can divorce the two. I think this is

an opportunity for cricket to maybe put a feelgood factor into the

newspapers and show that not everything is bad out there at the moment.


hasn’t really affected our preparation,” he added. “When you watch

these scenes on the television, it’s horrific and it’s far from

England’s proudest moment. But we fully intend to play the game as we

would any other game.”

However, while providing security for

players in the controlled environment of a cricket ground during

daylight hours is one thing, concerns have been raised about the safety

of spectators travelling to and from the ground.

New Street

railway station is in Birmingham’s city centre, where much of the

violence took place on Monday, and there are fears about what might

happen to fans making their way back there from a day’s play if there

are fresh riots.

“That’s what the authorities are there for, they

decide on how they steward and police a Test match,” Strauss said.

“They’ve got their decisions to make as to how best to do that.”


recalling his experiences of Monday night, added: “We got some advice

from our security manager (Reg Dickason) to come back to the hotel as

there were some disturbances going on in the city centre.


then on, you could see the odd police car going back and forth but

otherwise we were quite isolated from what was going on and it hasn’t

really affected us much at all to be honest.”

Strauss said the team had never thought the Test would be called off.

“We’ve been given no indication the game isn’t going ahead so it’s right for us to prepare as we normally would.”

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “Wherever you are, if things like this happen it’s sad.”

However, he indicated India were ready to play the match.


don’t think there’s much we can do as individuals or cricketers, so

we’re sticking to what we can do — practising for the game tomorrow.

“We are cricketers, not professional guys who know about security — so let’s leave it to them.

“They will be the ones who decide what needs to be done.”