England in India 2008-09 December 4, 2008

Full-strength England head to Abu Dhabi

Cricinfo staff

Reg Dickason has completed his inspection of Chennai and is now heading to Mohali © Cricinfo Ltd
England will fly to Abu Dhabi on Thursday with a view to resuming their tour of India if they receive the requisite security clearance. A full-strength squad, minus the injured Ryan Sidebottom, has been named despite concerns that some players would opt out, and they will train in the Middle East before heading to Chennai early next week ahead of the first Test on December 11.

However, the onward trip from Abu Dhabi is still subject to Reg Dickason's assessment of the security plans in India. Dickason inspected the venue of the first Test in Chennai on Wednesday and said that his security concerns have been addressed. He is scheduled to visit Mohali, the venue of the second Test, later. The security consultant will, meanwhile, hold meetings in India with Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, and Sean Morris, the chief executive of England's Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).

Hugh Morris and Sean Morris will then fly to Abu Dhabi to confirm to the ECB and the players that the added security recommendations are in place for the tour to begin.

All the players have received reports from the ECB security team and also the recommendations that Dickason has insisted the BCCI in India put in place, which include a heavy police and commando presence around the team

"The only consideration in all our discussions has been the safety and security of the team and support staff," said Hugh Morris. "We have been delighted by the input of the PCA and also the willingness of the BCCI to act upon our recommendations regarding security.

"While we have sought to reassure players that their safety is paramount we have not pressurised any player into making the trip against their will. Those who leave for Abu Dhabi are all anticipating travelling to India if both Sean and I are happy that Reg Dickason's security plans have been activated. The board and players will be kept fully informed."

There had been speculation that some players would opt out even if the tour went ahead, but Hugh Morris said that a few days at home had allowed them to clear their minds. "The players have been fantastic over the last few days," he told Sky Sports. "The reason we came back from India in the first place was to take some time to reflect. We have all been able to do that."

Sean Morris added: "The PCA and ECB have worked extremely closely on this issue and the players have been fully supportive throughout. We will access the highest calibre of security advice on a regular basis so that we can provide the players with the latest accurate information."

"I have been assured by the ECB that they would never compromise the players' safety and security. Hugh and I are travelling to India this weekend to confirm for the players that the security is of the high standard that the ECB and PCA demand."

Sidebottom, who was named in England's original 15-man tour party, has been ruled out of the series with a side injury. Stuart Broad will miss the first Test having picked up a hamstring strain in Cuttack during the fifth ODI. He will remain in England for intensive physiotherapy and then fly out to Chennai where his fitness will be reviewed ahead of the second Test.

The 14-man Test squad will be supplemented by 10 players from the Performance squad with Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire legspinner, a late addition on Thursday to bolster the spin department.

Squad Kevin Pietersen (capt), Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah, Andrew Flintoff, Tim Ambrose, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad (flying straight to Chennai), Steve Harmison, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

Additional players Ravi Bopara, Mark Davies, Robbie Joseph, Amjad Khan, Sajid Mahmood, Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, Ollie Rayner, Adil Rashid, Alan Richardson