England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston

Test set to begin despite riots

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 9, 2011

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

England and India are monitoring the security situation in Birmingham in the wake of the rioting and looting in the city on Monday night but, at the moment, the Edgbaston Test is set to begin as scheduled on Wednesday.

"As far as we're concerned, there's no reason to think the match will not go ahead as planned," an ECB spokesman said.

Inspector Howard Lewis Jones, match commander for Edgbaston cricket ground, said in a statement that police services in Birmingham wouldn't be stretched as a result of the Test.

"A lot of planning and preparation has gone into this event. We have worked very closely with the club and police resources have been set accordingly," he said.

"The Test will not take away resources from policing the wider Birmingham area. West Midlands police recognise the importance of this event and the spectators will be looking forward to this match."

There was extra private security provided by the ECB for India at their hotel on Tuesday night. A statement from the Indian camp, from team manager Anirudh Chaudhary, said: "This is pertaining to the situation in Birmingham. All the members of the Indian touring squad are safe and accounted for. The team management is keeping a close watch on the situation." Players from both sides were safe in their hotels as unrest spread in Birmingham.

"We fully expect the game to go ahead," Andrew Strauss, the England captain, said. "It's up to the authorities to decide whether or not it's right for the game to go ahead and we are focussing and preparing as we normally would. It's slightly extraordinary circumstances at the moment, but for us to think anything other than the game is going ahead would be wrong.

"I don't think we've been distracted much by it. Clearly there are big things going on in the country at the moment but to say that they are affecting us greatly would be wrong. We are quite isolated from it and it hasn't really affected our preparation."

"I think this is an opportunity for cricket to maybe put a feel-good factor to the news papers and show that not everything's bad out there at the moment. Let's divorce the cricket match from what's going in in the country which is clearly not our proudest hour as a country right at the moment."

The BCCI's top brass in said to be in constant touch with the team management and the ECB. It is understood there is no alarm being raised between the boards about India calling off their tour. Ms Dhoni, the India captain, said his team was just concentrating on preparing for the Test. "We are in communication with the board. The concerned authorities from both sides are having a look at the security situation," Dhoni said. "We are avoiding things than we can avoid and are sticking to what we can do, that is preparing for the game. Whatever happens is secondary. At the moment we are happy playing the game. Hopefully we can have the game starting tomorrow and the spectators get to see some good cricket in the next five days."

Several members of the Indian team were out shopping in Birmingham's city centre when the trouble began early on Monday evening and were called back to their hotels. They posted updates on Twitter about the incidents they witnessed from their rooms. Dhoni said they had planned to eat dinner around the city centre but stayed indoors instead. "We were there for quite some time before we came back. We had plans to go for dinner. However, our security officer, who was with us throughout, advised us against it. There was good food in the hotel. So we didn't complain and tried to make the most of the evening."

Police barricades outside an unmanned police station that was damaged during rioting in Birmingham, August 9, 2011
Riots and looting erupted in Birmingham on Monday night © AFP

Some England players and Virat Kohli had turned up to meet fans for the ECB's day-long Cricket-in-the-City programme at Victoria Square in the town centre. Fortuitously, the vandalism began just after the programme ended.

England are staying at the Hyatt Hotel in central Birmingham near where violence broke out. "To be honest we didn't see much," Strauss said. "We saw police cars going back and forth, our security team advised us to stay in the hotel and I think that was pretty wise but we were fairly isolated from it. It's never good to see those scenes on TV.

The riots and looting in Birmingham were copycat incidents following events in London over the previous days. The vandalism was concentrated around the city centre, with masked young men and women going on a rampage from early evening, looting shops and destroying property.

They started by snatching mobile phones and handbags from pedestrians, followed by kicking, punching, breaking windows of shopping centres, banks, pubs, restaurants, forcing people to shut down these establishments. Groups of two or three suddenly grew larger and created an atmosphere of panic and fear. Through the evening and night riot police were on the main streets, armoured police vehicles and other cars scanned the roads, and a helicopter hovered overhead.

The Marriott hotel, where the Indians are staying, is located on Hagley road on Five Ways, one of the major junctions in central Birmingham but slightly outside the city centre. Edgbaston is about a seven-minute drive from their hotel. There were two policemen on motorcycles outside the Indian team hotel last night but there was no police presence this morning.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Mike_C on (August 10, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

The players will be fine, the greater risks will be to spectators going home after the game, especially if they have to go back to New Street station.

Posted by Cricket_Analyst on (August 10, 2011, 9:19 GMT)

Dear English Fans, No One is comparing the ghastly terrorist attacks in Mumbai to the current riots in Birmingham. But as rightly pointed out by thekobra England got the last two ODI's scheduled at Guwahati & Delhi cancelled due to the attacks in "Mumbai", when they were trailing the ODI series 0-5. Whereas in this case, the riots are happening in the same city where the Test Match is being held. SO cancelling the Test match in Birmingham is more justified than England's case in INDIA.However i would still Love to see India play the series and win the Last Two to draw the series. May the Best Team Win.

Posted by aamed33 on (August 10, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

The only danger of the Indians getting mugged and looted will be from the England bowlers and batsmen! India might need extra security when facing missiles thrown by Broad, Anderson and Bresnon and co. I suggest they use a shield as well as a bat for protection!

Posted by   on (August 10, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

@demon_bowler: I fully agree with your comment. I am a Mumbaiite and can never forget how Kevin Pietersen and Barmy Army had insisted on continuing with the Indian tour during 2008 terror attack on Mumbai. It had contributed a lot in restoring confidence in our country. I'm reproducing here what the Barmy Army had said at that time: ""We all intend to go ahead with our trip to Mumbai. If the fans can go, so should the players. It is worth remembering that just after the 7/7 attacks in 2005, we sat at Lord's watching England play. I hope everything is done to make this tour happen, not just for our fans but for everyone in Mumbai." Thanks for that support and I offer my heart felt wishes to London and its riot-hit citizens for a speedy recovery.

Posted by thekobra on (August 10, 2011, 5:03 GMT)

When the Mumbai tragedy happened England were in the eastern part of India, far off from Mumbai and actually went to Dubai. The matches were postponed, rescheduled and played on a later date, and as they say the rest is history.

Cynic that I am, I just think it is highly unlikely that, if there was an unprecedented riot say in Kolkata no way would England, Australia, SA or New Zealand, stay back in Kolkata and actually play a test match there.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (August 10, 2011, 4:46 GMT)

If situation isn't under control (police and law enforcement authorities should confirm this one way or the other), then the match can be postponed or changed to a different venue. Where does bravery and cowardice come in all this? Life is much bigger than cricket and there are innocent people suffering in England. Sympathise with them guys instead of hurting them with boorish comments. Tour can be called off if alternate arrangements are not possile. If it isn't safe for cricketers, it will be even worse for the spectators. These are serious responsibility and security issues, don't dilute them with blinkered prejudice. Let us try and heal the wounds of the grief stricken people by playing for them again when the situation and availability of venue etc..are taken care of. England has done so much for us after Mumbai attacks. Have we become so cold to their sufferings now? What a shame! I apologise to all my English brothers and sisters on behalf of my countrymen's poor comments.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2011, 2:33 GMT)

Glad it was not cancelled. I think it's great that the Indian team stayed on and played. England has done the same before in India and it is our time to reciprocate and stand up against mindless violence and rioting to show that Londoners will now bow to the rioters.

Well done! And now on with the game please!

Posted by Silloh on (August 9, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

Good to see that the game will be played. That is a victory for test cricket . Now both teams need to show these hooligans in the minority where the battle should be. I can't see India rebounding by any stretch of the imagination, but lets hope this test is exciting as the past two and the game is played in the true spirit as Dhoni has set, and is incident free. I doubt the looters will go after the bats and other gears. But hear what guys, keep your helmets on ... for the English fast bowlers !

Posted by demon_bowler on (August 9, 2011, 20:01 GMT)

I'm ashamed of what is happening in some British cities, but there are some ludicrous comments on here. On the last tour of India, England actually went back to India after the appalling terrorist incident there. England stayed on after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, and even won the series from behind. No England tour of India has been cancelled (except when India tried to dictate that Gooch could not captain a tour to India in 1988), although individuals have sometimes withdrawn (wrongly, in my view).

Posted by jupiterlaw on (August 9, 2011, 19:12 GMT)

Given the choke-hold in which Englend have India, cancellation of tomorrow's test is tantamount to wishful thinking. Had the scenario been the reverse, that's a different matter.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (August 9, 2011, 17:46 GMT)

@Matthew Kneale, point taken re. Strauss. But I think the ECB and Pietersen set a great example in 2008 by coming back to play in India. Also to be fair to the BCCI and the Indian team they have never spoken of going back.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 9, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

Ind needs to play as a team to achieve even a draw, much less a win in 3rd test. Individual landmarks should be cast aside and play for team and country.

Posted by vind_2801 on (August 9, 2011, 15:17 GMT)

England continued with the tour when there was bomb blast near their hotel in India for they security reasons they changed the venue to chennai ....I don't think the situation is that grave ....Indian team will definitely play the third test ...i don't think they would have even thought of calling back the team

Posted by Master01 on (August 9, 2011, 15:15 GMT)

As a Londoner im telling you that this is nothing like the Mumbia attacks. This is a lot less serious, simply due to the fact that lives havent been lost. Please dont comare the two

Posted by 5wombats on (August 9, 2011, 14:18 GMT)

Thank you @cricinfo - the most offensive posts have been removed.

Posted by Ashu23 on (August 9, 2011, 14:18 GMT)

I just live few miles away from Birmingham town centre. The Incident that happened was just for 2 hours and the situation is totally under control. This wasn't any riot but it was an act of theft, loot and hooliganism by handful people nothing to do with previous protests. I think the game should move ahead and the west midland metro police will be able to control the entire situation without any problem.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 14:03 GMT)

well the decision to go ahead with the match is very unwise one. teams and officials will have all the security and protection but what about the common person. people that have bought the tickets will have to be on their own and come through the areas where rioting is taking place. instead of saying test will go on, they should have postponed it for the time being so that no one has to come and thus endanger themselves or others. very very stupid decision t say the least.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 14:02 GMT)

Was there any doubt of this match even being in doubt? Only wishful thinking by Indians fans so they don't get a 4-0 whitewash.. lol

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:58 GMT)

London is Unsafe! Indian Cricket Team Must Leave Now. Imagin the riots were in Mumbai, Colombo or Karachi. What would ICC do? Surely the visiting team would pull out.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:56 GMT)

The 1st 'riot' was slow to begin after a black man was shot, his family and friends seethed for several hours while the police provided no info. The last 2 days have been largely criminal, thrill seeking looters. It's nasty but not very politically motivated. There is little profit in attacking a hotel or ground. Ironically, things would have to calm down before any political agitators considered an attack on cricketers. It is highly unlikely, but it also might be the only legal big crowd in the country.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:53 GMT)

Sad moment! Wembley football cancelled! Provided safety is ensured by the hosts, both teams should go ahead full steam - of course, if players want to sit out, it is their prerogative

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:53 GMT)

Now dhoni will again will be saved by his luck and India will remain NO.1 side. LOL Hahahah!

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:49 GMT)

Good point SachinIsTheGreatest; when, not if, Strauss declined to reinstate the batsman.

But seriously, if this was in the sub-continent, the players would have gone home so quickly its not funny; this has happened numerous times in the past and I doubt this would be the time they would stay.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

Cricket will go on unhindered.. but I am a bit worried about the normal, good people who seem to have no security, Police seem to have restrained themselves, so as not to escalate violence...

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:31 GMT)

This is bad. This has nothing to do with cowardice or bravery. Teams simply follow the instructions given by the security personnel and this is how it should be.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 13:31 GMT)

hooliganism or terrorism, it affect people without noticing their nationalities or religions. So I suggest people (who still have their sanity intact) to support the CRICKET here and refrain from commenting on either country's struggle with such pathetic acts of cowardice.Hope all that are affected by this incident are healthy.

Posted by geeksy on (August 9, 2011, 13:30 GMT)

As an Indian fan, I am appalled by some comments by my fellow countrymen. Bomb blasts and riots by 100 people are entirely different. Maybe some Indian fans are not based in UK and their local press has hyped up the stories. Incident in B'ham was just a couple of hours long, involving around 100 people, all in control now. Relax people and let's enjoy Cricket.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (August 9, 2011, 13:28 GMT)

@Matthew Kneale, you seem to have great faith in Strauss' sense of sportsmanship.

Posted by Gazzypops on (August 9, 2011, 13:11 GMT)

Wow. These riots - which are now essentially mindless acts of looting now they have lost any connection with the original cause - are actually being compared with the 2008 Mumbai attacks (a co-ordinated terrorist attack in which over 160 people lost their lives)? I'm not downgrading the riots, which are terrible, but the credible threat is far, far lower than in Mumbai. I also thought England's gesture in returning to play in Mumbai demonstrated the respect between the two nations - respect that appears to be rather lacking here...

Posted by Kumar_NJ_USA on (August 9, 2011, 13:03 GMT)

It is sad (and disgraceful) and people are talking about cowardice. Realize (for once) that personal security is the birth right of all human beings. To equate what happened in India and what's happening here is fine to a certain extent but to then make it look like the Indian team is brave and willing to play in the face of adversity is un-called for. Each team has a responsibility to itself (and that starts with the security of it's players). If the BCCI were to call back the team, would people turn around and call the Indian team a bunch of cowards? I am an Indian fan but I think people are losing their perspective. Cricket doesn't surpass human life.

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (August 9, 2011, 13:01 GMT)

@trueman-- few of the comments on this forum doesn't implies we have short memories. Ignore :)

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:56 GMT)

Great post SachinIsTheGreast and Aditya, Ranjit you really should be ashmed of yourself, look back at what you've said and think about it, some of the stick that England have been getting on here is pathetic imo

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

as a poster from Asia may be I could get more info about this from here. I have read the rioters are protesting the killing of one of the peaceful demonstrators whihch happened last week.In that case--- "how is it that the iot is spreading from one city to another" "and "what is the supposed reaosn behind this continued carnage" has anything else happened in other cities also which has added to the conflict or are people (may be hooloigans?) simply going on ramapage (which can be stopped by effective Police intervention and need not spread)... cric info please publish this comment....responses requested from U.K.....expressing solidarity and wishing everyone safety..a true cricket lover from India.

Posted by danmcb on (August 9, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

erm, is it that smart to tell everyone exactly where both teams are staying with all this going on .... ?

Posted by chelsea.bluess on (August 9, 2011, 12:41 GMT)

@cricchic....check the history of England touring any country....even if there is anything small happening; these people cancel the whole tour....what do you think Indian players should hang around when the Government is not able to sort out the riots....Even Ireland can handle the riots better....ECB can cancel tours for the security of the players if BCCI would do that then it becomes a problem....Come and play out of England....the english team will be beaten badly....

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

I am rather sad to see comments which do not address the real issue at hand. The issue is whether the cricketers and the spectators will be safe under the circumstances. The BCCI must make that call for the Indian Players, The ECB for both sides as they are the host. The Police should be consulted as to whether they can offer adequate protection. What other countries would have done in the Sub-continent under similar circumstances is not the issue here, is it? How is that relevant? Does anyone suggest that the Indians pack up and go home, even if the BCCI feels confident that there is no danger to the Players? Is a Tit for TaT attitude appropriate? India should rise above that. She should set an example. Indians please don't take that path. Don't forget that India is the country that gave birth to Mahathma Gandhi. Mother Theresa worked in the slums of Kolkota. What examples of tolerance, compassion and non violence. This is your heritage.

Posted by Psychopathetikka on (August 9, 2011, 12:32 GMT)

This is a serious situation. Lives of players and spectators may be at risk. Best course of action is to wait and see if the situation improves and if it doesn't the third test can be called off or something. It would be stupid to leave and abandon the whole series yet. Let's just hope for the best.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:19 GMT)

@cricchic, dont know what country you are from, but we are world champions of one day cricket and through hard work only reached number 1. We are the only team to have challended Australia in their heyday; try beating that. When someone is down everyone will jump on top of them, which is a fact; but be sure to keep your eye wide open when we spank you from a while from now.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:17 GMT)

if we call off the tour know we will come second. Best way, is to win in Edgebaston and call off The Oval. That way we can avoid loosing first place

Posted by Grim-Reaper on (August 9, 2011, 12:16 GMT)

@ Aditya Kukarni.

You are quite wrong, Sir. You state "England had only played test series when those attacks took place in India, and they cancelled the first two ODIs for security resons. However, they stayed back to play the next five ODIs and the Indian team and all also the BCCI thanked them for playing despite the attacks."

The Mumbai attack took place on 26/11. England played the test matches in Chennai and Mohali, starting on December 11th and 19th. 5 ODIs had been played when the attack took place. The last two were cancelled, and England returned to play the test matches.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:09 GMT)

Hope peace prevails as soon as possible. The pictures are quite disturbing, sad to see any city like this. A word to my fellow Indians- a bit of sensitivity would be a little more appropriate than what is being dished out right now. If India pulls out, the ONLY reason should be player safety and not because England or any other team would do the same to us. Let the team managements, the boards, ICC, the London Police etc decide if the game should go on. Peace.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:06 GMT)

India would have called the tour Off , If they were 2-0 up !!

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 12:05 GMT)

If test gets cancelled.. then india can manage 3-0 defeat... ;P

Posted by AlanHarrison on (August 9, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

Have to say that those India fans who are suggesting there would be strong pressure for an England tour to India or Pakistan (not to mention Zimbabwe ...) to be called off in analogous circumstances have a point. I don't expect many people will agree, but I wouldn't personally object if the game were callled off; not because I think the players are in any danger, but because I think things are happening at the moment which really make cricket trivial.

Posted by sanoj151 on (August 9, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

Please take care of our Indian team....Just put our Sreesanth in front of those trouble makers....It will surely put the riots on hold.....

Posted by koldmeat on (August 9, 2011, 12:00 GMT)

India must cancel the tour and return to India at once.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 11:57 GMT)

I. Raghuram: We can also safely say that if the Ian Bell run out scenario had been reversed and Strauss declined to reinstate the Indian batsman, India would by now have threatened to call off the tour and return back to India....

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (August 9, 2011, 11:55 GMT)

To be honest, cricket suddenly seems to trivial compared to life's real problems. However, I also hope the Indian team turns up for the remaining two tests and gives us a great test match which maybe helps the people of England forget the riots albeit for a brief moment.

Posted by htenneti on (August 9, 2011, 11:53 GMT)

Aha Aha!!! with all due respect to the seriousness on these riots and damage caused by it, is this the escape route for us to avoid a 4-0 drubbing!!!!! Dhoni needs some arsenal at the end of the series to give excuses and this is god sent for him.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 9, 2011, 11:50 GMT)

It's a shame to see some of the comments on here. I had read previously that the Indian team and public were very grateful that England returned after the Mumbai tragedy. Now they are being called cowards. Memories seem very short.

Posted by cricchic on (August 9, 2011, 11:43 GMT)

Oh boy now India will blame the Riot for the lost in the 3rd Test...

Posted by ranga on (August 9, 2011, 11:41 GMT)

Why should India continue to play in England in such unsafe conditions? For once Indian board should be bold enough to cancel the tour till the situation in England is conducive for playing.

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 11:37 GMT)

Disgraceful behavior from these thugs brings shame on the whole country, what on earth is happening? Serious questions have to be asked. I certainly hope that no visiting India fans are affected be this and apologize to any that are. Hopefully the cricket can still go ahead, if it were canceled it would be a dark day for England.

Posted by NairUSA on (August 9, 2011, 11:05 GMT)

Hope the rioters do not enter the stadium tomorrow. ICC should make sure that venues in England are trouble free before scheduling any matches. This situation poses serious danger to players from both sides.

Posted by Agnihothra on (August 9, 2011, 10:51 GMT)

imagine if soem thing like this happened when england were touring the sub-continent... I feel that India shld call off the tour and return immediately and resume the tour after normalcy returns to Brum and London etc

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

India should called off the tour urgently.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (August 9, 2011, 10:36 GMT)

It would be foolish to take needless risk with atheletes in an unstable situation. Not to mention the risk to fans travelling to the venue. Is it just me or should this test be called off until the threat subsides in an unstable city? The cricket can be played in the near future, when atheletes and public are truly safe.

Posted by Andy.rockz on (August 9, 2011, 10:30 GMT)

Hoping that losing captain of the 3rd test wont say the riots are the side effects for the loss LOL

Posted by   on (August 9, 2011, 10:28 GMT)

that's a good news. I hope situation will be good.

Posted by cool2cool on (August 9, 2011, 10:27 GMT)

No guesses what the other teams would had done, if similar incident had happened in India.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (August 9, 2011, 10:15 GMT)

How embarassing that this is even an issue. We havea visiting sportsteam worried about their safety because of rioting in the streets. I didn't think I could be angrier with these thugs than I was already.

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