x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

England fly in to the UAE

The England cricket team will arrive in the UAE amid strict security as they prepare for their two-Test series in India.

Kevin Pietersen and his England team will be flying out again. Their decision to fly to the UAE shows that they are prepared to play the two Test matches in India.
Kevin Pietersen and his England team will be flying out again. Their decision to fly to the UAE shows that they are prepared to play the two Test matches in India.

ABU DHABI // The England cricket team will arrive in the UAE on Thursday amid strict security as they prepare for their two-Test series in India. The country's one-day squad flew back to England on Saturday, cutting short their series following the terror attack on Mumbai.

Doubts still remain about whether the two-Test series will still take place, but the England team have made their intentions clear by making an unscheduled visit to the UAE, where they will have the use of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club facilities to prepare. A source close to the capital's sports club, which recently hosted the one-day series between Pakistan and the West Indies, said: "It is a big honour for Abu Dhabi.

"It is an extremely safe environment and we want to make sure that the players feel safe too, but we will be taking nothing for granted and security will be very tight." England, who will be led by captain Kevin Pietersen, are expected to play at least one full-scale practice match, which may feature some local players, before heading for Chennai on Monday for the first Test on Dec 11. The ADCC source also said that, should the security reports currently being compiled mean that India is unsafe for England to tour there, that they would be happy to stage the matches in the UAE, although no formal talks had taken place.

Also, he said, that Abu Dhabi was still prepared to stage the three-match Test series between Pakistan and India, which was already in doubt before the Mumbai attacks cast a further cloud over it. However, although dates and travel arrangements had been provisionally put in place, he felt that series was unlikely to take place. mwalker@thenational.ae