England captain Andrew Strauss insisted he had no qualms about playing
the third Test against India at Edgbaston following a night of rioting
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.
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.”