England owe it to India to go back: Hussain

Nasser Hussain said by returning to India, Kevin Pietersen and his men can help the hosts limp back to normalcy after the Mumbai terror strikes.

updated: December 02, 2008 08:40 IST
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Urging the English cricket team to return to India for next week's Test series, former England captain Nasser Hussain and spinner Robert Croft said by doing so Kevin Pietersen and his men can help the hosts limp back to normalcy after the Mumbai terror strikes.

"England's cricketers owe it to the game, and to India, to go back," Hussain said in a column for the 'Daily Mail'.

"I respect the England team for coming home and taking stock after last week's terrible events. Yet, easy as it is for me to say this sitting here in Chelmsford, my gut feeling is that the England team should announce they are going back to play two Tests in India and fulfil their commitment to this tour and the world game," he said.

"Eventually, the game has to go on, just as people in London had to get back on Tubes and buses after the 2005 bomb attacks. As long as the security people say it is as safe as it can be to return and as long as the Indian people want the tour to continue, England can make a statement by going back. And if I was asked to go there next week in my capacity as a journalist and broadcaster I would go."

England abandoned the last two matches of the ODI series after the Mumbai mayhem that left close to 200 dead.

Next week's Test series, meanwhile, has been rescheduled at new venues -- Chennai and Mohali -- but top players like Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison are not very keen to return.

Hussain said while the players' fear was understandable, they should also realise there responsibilities, one of them being to support the game in its hour of crisis.

"With the rewards and the lifestyle of being a modern international cricketer comes a responsibility to the game. It is a decision you have to make, whether you are prepared to accept that responsibility in good times and bad or whether you want to settle for an easier life. It is a very grown-up decision and there is no right or wrong answer," he explained.

However, he maintained that in case a player pulls out, it should not be held against him.

"When we toured India in 2001 under my captaincy just after the attacks on New York, I had no problem accepting the decisions of Robert Croft and Andrew Caddick not to tour. I told them it would not be held against them and it should not be held against Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison or any other England players if they decide they are not prepared to go," he stressed.

Croft, who pulled out of the 2001 series in India after September 11 attacks in the US, said it was a decision he regretted.

"Having made the decision in the past (to pull out), I would probably change my decision that I made then. I think there will be a lot of sub-conscious pressure on Kevin Pietersen to go," Croft was quoted as saying by 'The Mirror'.

Croft hoped the England and Wales Cricket Board will make the right decision.

"I think, knowing Hugh Morris, the managing director, I played with him at Glamorgan. He was a very, very conscientious individual when he played and I'm sure everything is very similar now," Croft said.

"On security grounds, there's no security company in the world that will ever guarantee safety. You just can't guarantee safety when you go shopping down the road."