We stand together - Flintoff
England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff spoke of the unity in the England squad after they made the decision to resume the tour of India.
The one-day leg of the trip was cut short following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai late last month, but the players all confirmed they will fly to Chennai today for the first Test of the two-match series.
Flintoff was among those briefed on security in Abu Dhabi last night following the return from India of ECB managing director Hugh Morris, Professional Cricketers’ Association chief executive Sean Morris and ECB security adviser Reg Dickason.
Having been satisfied that sufficient security measures will be put in place on their return, Flintoff and his colleagues pledged to fulfil their Test commitments.
“It’s been a difficult last three days,” said Flintoff, who, along with the rest of the squad, earned much praise for their stance. "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.”
England have spent three days at a Sheikh Zayed Stadium training camp in preparation for the Test series, which starts on Thursday.
“When we have been practising out on the field, batting and bowling, the intensity has been fine,” Flintoff said. “But when people are on their own, and with time to think, the mood has been different.”
Personal doubts about the ethics of returning to the subcontinent so soon after the terror attacks, and reservations over trying to concentrate on cricket while surrounded by armed guards, will now have to be put aside.
There can be no tougher assignment in world cricket on present form than facing India on their own soil, as England experienced during the 5-0 one-day series defeat. India recently beat Australia 2-0 in the Test series between the sides.
“If you win anything in India I think you are doing well, particularly with the way they played in the one-dayers, and the way they played against Australia,” Flintoff added.
“We have now got two Test matches to show what we can do.”