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Sunday, December 7, 2008

India fans urged to back England series

The International Cricket Council (ICC) wants India fans to turn out in large numbers for the home test series against England to show they are not intimidated by the recent militant attacks in Mumbai.

England will resume their aborted India tour if a final security briefing by their board later on Sunday allays safety fears following the attacks that killed at least 171 people.

The first test is scheduled in Chennai from Thursday and the second in Mohali from December 19 after the Indian board changed the original venues to ease England's safety concerns.

"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 .... but also because by doing so we will demonstrate that we will not be dictated to by terrorists," ICC President David Morgan said in a statement.

"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."

England are training in Abu Dhabi as they wait for the word on security, having called off the last two games of a one-day series and returned home in the wake of the Mumbai attacks that began on November 26.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat and Morgan will take turns to be present at the tests.

"Safety and security of the players, officials and spectators must be the key consideration at all times," Morgan said.

"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."

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