Sunday, December 7, 2008

Amjad Khan called up by England

Kent fast-bowler Amjad Khan has been called up by England to replace the injured Ryan Sidebottom in the squad for the scheduled two-Test tour of India.

Born in Denmark, Khan will join Kevin Pietersen's squad if they decide later on Sunday to return to India following last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai. That decision will follow scrutiny of the latest security reports from the country.

Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid will also travel with the squad but has not officially been added to it.

Sidebottom is not among those currently preparing in Abu Dhabi for a series set to start in Chennai on Thursday, having suffered a side strain during the aborted one-day leg of the pre-Christmas tour.

Khan, 28, was awarded British citizenship in 2006 - following a breakthrough season for Kent a year earlier.

ICC chief urges fans to support India-England Tests

International Cricket Council (ICC) president David Morgan has urged fans to join him in attending the upcoming India-England Test series and so demonstrate that "we will not be dictated to by terrorists".

The future of the two-Test campaign was called into question following last month's terror attacks in Mumbai which left 172 people dead.

England cut short the one-day international section of their tour to fly home but have since gone out to a training camp in Abu Dhabi, where they are due to make a definitive decision on whether to return to India on Sunday.

The first Test is due to start in Chennai on December 11 and the second in Mohali on December 19 after officials switched the venues from Ahmedabad and Mumbai respectively in response to the attacks.

Morgan, a former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said in a statement issued from the ICC's Dubai headquarters: "ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat will be in Chennai for the first Test and I will be in Mohali to show the ICC's support for India and the two teams.

"I would urge as many supporters as possible to join us during the series, not only because they will see two excellent sides playing Test cricket, the pinnacle of our sport, but also because by doing so we will demonstrate that we will not be dictated to by terrorists,"
the Welshman added.

"I believe the Test series will be a clear demonstration of the resilience of the Indian people and the game of cricket and an illustration that the game has the ability to bring people together."

Morgan insisted he was sensitive to safery concerns, saying:
"Safety and security of the players, officials and spectators must be the key consideration at all times.

"But if security assessments indicate that the measures put in place are appropriate then we - players, officials and all stakeholders - have a duty to ensure cricket takes place,"
he added.

"I have been in regular contact with both the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Shashank Manohar and Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board's chairman, and it is clear they both want to play the matches if at all possible.

"The players have also demonstrated an acceptance of their role in trying to put a smile back on the face of a country that has undergone a horrendous experience."