ABU DHABI // England's troubled tour to India encountered another unexpected problem - rain. The Lancashire trio of Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood could have been forgiven for thinking they were back in Manchester when they pulled back their hotel curtains in the morning to be greeted by slate grey skies pouring with water on their temporary Abu Dhabi base.
England's one-day team returned home from India last Saturday, aborting their series early following the terrorist attack on Mumbai. But, after regrouping, the full Test team flew out to the UAE on Thursday, determined to complete their two-match tour against India. They netted at the capital's Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Friday, and were due out there again at 9am yesterday, only to have their efforts thwarted by the weather. "We are having a great time here," said the England batsman Ian Bell. "But we are just hoping the weather relents and we can get some proper time out in the middle." The last sporting event to be affected by the weather was last January's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where the likes of Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey were forced to don waterproofs for a day. "It never rains in December," lamented the president of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council, Dilawar Mani, who is hosting the unscheduled stop-over. "It's just rotten luck for them." Thankfully, the skies relented in the afternoon and England were able to complete a three-hour work-out before heading back to their city centre base. And the England coach Peter Moores said there was a will within the party to return to India tomorrow in preparation for the series which is due to begin in Chennai on Thursday. Although Moores conceded some players may have greater doubts about resuming the trip to the subcontinent than others, he talked positively about a resumption although a final decision will be made by the team tonight after they have been given the latest security feedback. "There's a general will within the team to go and play these Test matches," said Moores. "Because, one, people will be representing their country but also in the situation we find ourselves after what happened in Mumbai. "There's a strong feeling that we want to go and play these Tests. "But everyone will have different opinions and if someone doesn't want to go we will respect that. "Hopefully we can take our full-strength side there, compete, win the series and have a good Christmas. "The practice has been compromised quite a lot, we are practising in the wrong country but the lads are in good spirits,. "It is more of a mental shift we need now - we have been playing one-day cricket for a long time and we need to get ready for Test cricket, and the disciplines of the longer form of the game. "We cannot use the compromise to practice as an excuse for poor performance. "Mentally, everyone has to assume we are going. "It's about (getting) your skills ready to go as a batter or a bowler: it's such a quick turnaround now, so the lads have got to get themselves (together) really quickly if they are going to be ready." Hugh Morris, managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, and Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, are inspecting the security in place in Chennai. They return to Abu Dhabi tonight when a definitive decision on a tour resumption will be made. email@example.com