England in India 2008-09 December 3, 2008

England's return would be a positive for subcontinent - PCB

Cricinfo staff

Will Kevin Pietersen and his team head back to India? © Getty Images

The PCB is in favour of England resuming its tour of India after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, believing the move will send out a "positive signal for cricket in the subcontinent".

"If England returns despite the carnage caused by the Mumbai attacks it would give out positive signals for cricket in the subcontinent. We feel it will also go a long way in India playing us," Saleem Altaf, the Pakistan's board's chief operating officer, told PTI. "I fully support the statement of England captain Kevin Pietersen that we can't let cowards run cricket. These terrorists who caused so much carnage in Mumbai have to be given out a clear message that people in the region want to live a normal life."

England were five matches into their ODI series against India when the attacks took place last month. The teams were due to play the second Test in Mumbai starting December 19, and were slated to stay at the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the locations targeted. In the wake of the attacks, the final two ODIs of the seven-match series were called off, and the England squad headed back home.

The ECB is now awaiting a report from their Reg Dickason, their security expert, who is assessing the situation in Chennai and Mohali, the new venues for the two Tests instead of Mumbai and Ahmedabad. However, there are doubts whether all of England's first-choice squad are go to India if the tour does proceed as planned; the board has maintained it will leave the decision to the individuals concerned.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, said the board would make a sensible choice. "Under no circumstances will we allow our cricket to be dictated to by terrorists," he said. "India is an enormous country and there are large parts of it that have never seen terrorist activity. In 2005 [when terrorists attacked parts of London], the Aussies were sensible and we are doing the same here." Clarke's statements came after the ICC chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, urged England to tour India if the security situation is deemed safe.

The Pakistan board is also expecting a decision on India's visit to the country next year. There have been reports the tour would be cancelled as the Indian government take a tough stance on ties with Pakistan after the attacks.

"So far the Indian board has just told us that they are waiting for directives from their government and that is the present status quo," Altaf said. "Our [PCB] chairman Ijaz Butt will meet with his Indian counterpart in Colombo this week during the Asian Cricket Council meeting to discuss things while I am also going to attend the ICC chief executives meeting and we hope to make some headway on the Indian's tour."

Altaf was hopeful the tour goes ahead; the PCB in the past has said neutral venues would be considered if India are wary about the security situation in Pakistan. "Cricket has to resume in the subcontinent," he said. "We know that the Indian board wants to support us. Hopefully, the series will be played on schedule right now that is the most important thing for us."