Poignant series ahead for England

India England
Kevin Pietersen & Paul Collingwood

Captain Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood arrive in Chennai from Abu Dhabi

England signalled the start of India’s healing process following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai when they began the resumption of their tour by landing at Chennai airport tonight.

Nine days after returning home in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on several of Mumbai’s leading landmarks, which killed more than 180 people, England touched down shortly after 8pm.

They were followed half an hour later by the remainder of the squad and management staff, including Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, who has played a leading role in the resumption of the tour.

His contribution, in conjunction with Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Sean Morris, has helped smooth England’s return firstly to Abu Dhabi for a training camp and then onto Chennai for a revised itinerary after receiving the necessary security assurances from consultant Reg Dickason.

“Every meeting I’ve attended over the last week with Sean Morris and Reg and others back at home have all been about safety and security, but it’s evident that when I spent two days here in Chennai that the local populations, papers and television were all really hoping England came back,” admitted Hugh Morris.

“The sense that I got was that they thought it was part of the healing process for India.

"We all know how passionate Indian people are for cricket and we think we can make a contribution to that and I’m really pleased the players made a very brave and courageous decision.”

England will also be provided with plenty of support off the pitch when the series gets under way.

“It’s been really important for world cricket that this tour does go ahead - the players recognise that,” added Morris, who will fly to Mohali with his PCA counterpart on Wednesday to liaise with Dickason and inspect the facilities for the second Test in Mohali.

“Sportsmen and women in any sport will have a record at the top level of which they will be proud of when they retire but there are very few opportunities to actually make a statement beyond the cricket field.

“Through a tragic set of circumstances these England players have been given that opportunity and made a tough decision to come back.

“There is a great amount of pride in being selected for your national team and wearing your national colours and whatever circumstances you’re in that will always be evident.

“This will be a particularly poignant series - it does spread beyond the bounds of cricket.”

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