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Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
'England should go on with India tour'
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London: Five of England's 16-man squad on Friday asked for more time before deciding whether to join the three-Test tour to India because of the military action in nearby Afghanistan.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Eleven players said they would go to India but Marcus Trescothick, Andy Caddick, Robert Croft, Ashley Giles and Craig White have requested an extension to Friday's deadline set by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to declare their intent.The five attached great importance to making the right decision and will be given until Monday to make their minds up. "There are always risks in life, and I feel I need more time to consider," said paceman Caddick. "This is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make and I need to feel 100 percent confident before myself and my family can make a decision."The ECB accepted that it was a difficult decision for players to make and said it was happy to grant the players extra time. "I am glad that no-one has so far made themselves unavailable to go on the tour," said ECB chief executive Tim Lamb."But we do need to have definite decisions after this weekend in order to finalise the selection of the team and all the detailed arrangements for the tour."The ECB maintained that the tour would definitely go ahead, with or without the five waverers, but admitted that it would continue to monitor the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for India. "The advice from the Foreign Office, that it is safe to tour, still stands."We hope that this won't change, but if it does then we will act appropriately," said Lamb."We will, however, be monitoring the security situation on a daily basis from now until the tour ends just before Christmas." Last week, the England squad met with the British high commissioner to New Delhi, Rob Young, in a session designed to reassure them of the safety of visiting India.But the five players were clearly not entirely convinced by the arguments and Trescothick, touted as a future England captain, said, "As safety cannot be 100 percent guaranteed, I feel that I require more time to consider my position and ensure that I am totally happy and in the right frame of mind."The ECB refused to reveal whether any replacements had been called up and Lamb insisted he was still hopeful that none would be needed. "It's the job of the selectors to select the team not the administrators," said Lamb."But I'm still confident that all 16 players initially selected will decide to go." Last week's meeting came in the wake of conflicting signals from the chairman of the ECB Lord MacLaurin.He suggested two weeks ago that the tour would not go ahead unless the situation in Afghanistan improved. The US air strikes have continued but MacLaurin, following a meeting with his Indian opposite number, Jagmohan Dalmiya, performed an abrupt about turn, saying the tour should continue. Dalmiya, president of the BCCI had intimated that if England refused to tour, or sent a below par side, it would have implications for India's proposed tour of England in 2002.