England in India 2008-09 December 5, 2008

Kirsten urges England to tour

Cricinfo staff

Gary Kirsten is keen to get back to India © Getty Images

Gary Kirsten, the India coach, says the England tour must go on once the security experts have given the all-clear. The England squad flew out of Heathrow on Thursday for Abu Dhabi, where they will remain while waiting for the clearance from ECB officials. Kirsten returns to India this weekend from Cape Town, having received security assurances from the BCCI.

"I have had a lot of things to weigh up and it's obviously a concern with my family in South Africa," Kirsten told the Daily Telegraph. "But I am very much part of the India set-up, I enjoy working there and I want to keep the momentum going from the good work we have done recently."

Opinion has been divided over whether England should return to India for the Tests starting next week, but Kirsten felt the tour must go on once the security experts have given the all-clear. "There is no way that security can be guaranteed wherever you are in the world. But you can't keep saying no. There are terrorism threats everywhere, even the UK is not immune from them," he said. "But if the professional security people who are paid to make these assessments have given the go-ahead then I think you have to go with it."

However, he said he understood the pressures and concerns of the England players. "They have been given the best advice, it is now a case of whether as an individual you feel comfortable with it," he said. "Some players will be concerned that if they don't go then someone else will go instead and so their place will be under threat."

England's players are scheduled to have two full practice sessions in Abu Dhabi on Saturday and Sunday before a potential trip to India on Monday. Another two sessions would take place in Chennai but there is no time for a warm-up match before facing world cricket's in-form nation.