Decision to tour India unanimous: Flintoff

No England player has been arm-twisted to play in the Test series and it was a completely unanimous decision by the team to tour India, Flintoff said.

updated: December 08, 2008 13:24 IST
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Abu Dhabi:

No player has been arm-twisted to play in the Test series and it was a completely unanimous decision by the team to tour India, England's talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff said on Monday.

Himself one of those who initially was reluctant to tour India following the recent Mumbai terror attacks, Flintoff said all his teammates made their point before they unanimously decided to go ahead with the tour.

"It's been a difficult last three days. Throughout, everyone has voiced their opinion, whether they be junior or senior players. Everyone has decided to go, so to say it was just about the senior players would be wrong. We have decided to go as a team," the former captain said.

Flintoff said the team was quite intense in the nets but admitted the fate of the tour was back on their mind whenever they were left to themselves.

"When we have been practising out on the field, batting and bowling, the intensity has been fine. But when people are on their own, and with time to think, the mood has been different," he said.

Apart from Flintoff, pacer Steve Harmison and off-spinner Graeme Swann had made public their reluctance to tour India on security grounds.

Flintoff seemed to have already focussed himself for the two-match Test series starting in Chennai on December 11 and said doing well against an in-form India would be a challenge for the squad.

"If you win anything in India I think you are doing well," said Flintoff.

"Particularly with the way they played in the one-dayers, and the way they played against Australia. We have now got two Tests to show what we can do," Flintoff said.

England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris hailed the decision and said it spoke volumes of the team's unity.

"I said right from the word go that we wouldn't be twisting people's arms up their backs. It says a lot for the solidarity of the team that everybody is going to go across," Morris said.

"Every now and again sportsmen and women have the chance to do something beyond their performances on the field. For very tragic reasons, the England team have that opportunity, they have made a very brave, a very courageous decision and one which will be really respected right across the world," said the ECB official who played a key role in the entire episode.