Play Tests as a mark of respect: English media

The Test tour must go on as a mark of respect to the victims of the Mumbai tragedy, suggested two of the most prominent English scribes.

updated: November 28, 2008 15:04 IST
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England returning home after an incomplete one-day series against India following the terror attacks in Mumbai is understandable but the Test tour must go on as a mark of respect to the victims of the tragedy, suggested two of the most prominent English scribes.

"It is natural and understandable that England should want to call off the tour and come home... I feel that the tour must continue fairly promptly, even if England take a break to let things calm down and return after Christmas," wrote Patrick Kidds in 'The Times'.

"England owe it to India and their fans to demonstrate that life must go on after such senseless carnage. The cliche about not letting the terrorists win can sound trite, but it is a valid one," he said.

"Even though reports suggested that the terrorists were seeking British and Americans, the bulk of those who died or were wounded were Indians. England should stay and compete as a mark of respect to them," he added.

Kidds said in view of the global reach of terrorists "the cancellation of the tour wouldn't remove the threat, but nor, I feel, would its continuation enhance the threat."

Recalling a similar situation after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, Kidds said, resumption of play might bring normalcy back sooner than later.

"In 1984, riots spread across India after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister. Thousands were killed, particularly Sikhs. England wanted to go home... but it was cricket that brought the restoration of peace.

"The Indian Government used posters of the heroes who had won the World Cup in England the previous year, men such as Kapil Dev and Maninder Singh, with the slogan "Khelenge saath, jiyenge saath" or "Play together, live together".

"...the fact that they had played and that India's heroised cricketers had gone about their business brought comfort to their fans," he said.

Kidds agreed security was of utmost significance. "Naturally, the protection of the England players is paramount to the ECB. I am sure that everything will be done to ensure their safety. But our shared humanity and the demonstration of the continuation of normal life in the face of those who want to take away our freedom is also important."

Another leading journalist, Mike Selvey wrote in 'The Guardian' that it was imperative for England to show solidarity towards the Indians.

"...If nothing else, it demonstrates solidarity with the Indian people, who, if they see it this way, one hopes would respond by turning up to the games," he said.

Selvey also felt England should not have returned home and instead taken a break to somewhere around India.

"Five days in Colombo would surely have sufficed, or Dubai or Singapore. Once the players are home, it will take massive willpower to drag them on to a plane to India once more," he apprehended.