England tour of India - News - Cricket: England fears losing to India, says Ajit Wadekar

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2001, 4:07 [IST]
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New Delhi: Former Indian Test captain Ajit Wadekar said on Wednesday that English fear over its upcoming tour of India was more about losing than the current security situation in the region."I think basically they are scared of losing on our slow tracks," Wadekar told www.wisden.com. "The tour must go on." Several England cricketers, including skipper Nasser Hussain, had expressed concern for their personal safety in light of the ongoing US air attacks on nearby Afghanistan.They were given a Friday deadline to make themselves available for November's tour of India after a decision was taken on Tuesday to go ahead. "The moaning is typically English," said Wadekar, manager of the team, which blanked England 3-0 in Tests on its last Indian tour in 1993. "Either it's the food or the water or the transportation or something else. What fears are they talking about? They should feel more threatened staying in England, which is closer to the United States. India is one of the safest places in the world."Wadekar, who led India to its first Test series victory in England in 1971, hoped England would send a full-strength team. "Let's hope it doesnt send a second-grade team as it has so often in the past on some pretext or another," he said.Former Test left-arm spinner Bishan Bedi echoed the same sentiments, saying that the tour should go on. "I personally believe there is no need for them to panic and that the tour should go on. It is an international commitment and it should be honoured," he told the website."Terrorism is a global phenomenon. We have to learn to live with it. The English cricketers should leave it to the establishment to decide if the tour is safe or not."Oxford-educated former India and Sussex captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi said he could understand the England players' concern. "But I also feel a decision about proceeding with the tour should be left to their foreign office and our government. Personally I feel there are no strong reasons to cancel it," he said.Former Test all-rounder Roger Binny felt the England players did not have an idea of the situation in India. "I think they have got their geography wrong," said Binny, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad. "To me India is a very, very safe place. Cricket as a sport in India is legendary and troubles take a backseat once the game is on. If one were to go by the reaction of the English players that has appeared in the media, then they are better off not coming to India because they simply won't enjoy the tour."

Copyright AFP 2001

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