Mohali: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday thanked the entire England cricket team for returning to India for the Test series and said it proves the country remains safe even after the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.
"I would like to thank the entire England team for coming back to India and playing the (Test) series. They have proved that India is not an unsafe place," Dhoni said.
The Mumbai terror attacks last month posed threat to the Test series as a jittery England returned home cancelling the last two ODIs. A lot of hectic parleys and security assurances finally convinced the Englishmen to return for the two-match Test series.
Even reluctant players like Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann were convinced by security expert Reg Dickasons arguments and started for India.
Subsequently, ECB Managing Director Hugh Morris, Professional Cricketers Association chief Sean Morris and Dickason conducted security assessments both at Chennai and Mohali before giving a go-ahead for the tour. All along, England set their base in Abu Dhabi to prepare for the series.
Kevin Pietersen played a key role in convincing his players to return for the series and the England captain today thanked his teammates for standing by him.
"Its remarkable (to return for the series) and I'm proud to be captain of a bunch of boys we have brought out here. We have brought the guys we picked for the Tests. All the guys have behaved as great ambassadors of the game," said the England captain.
Pietersen also praised the Indian crowd for their support. "Indian people have been magnificent and I knew they would be because we came back and started Test match cricket. Nothing really is better than performing in front of knowledgeable crowd with a love for the game," Pietersen said.