x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

England have shown the way, say ICC

The magnificence of Sachin Tendulkar's batting in India's victory over England in the first Test was obviously felt far beyond the boundary.

England's woes have been compounded after it was revealed the captain Kevin Pietersen has been playing with a fractured rib.
England's woes have been compounded after it was revealed the captain Kevin Pietersen has been playing with a fractured rib.

DUBAI // The magnificence of Sachin Tendulkar's batting masterpiece in India's victory over England in the first Test on Monday was obviously felt far beyond the boundary. After glancing the winning runs to the boundary in Chennai, the Little Master immediately dedicated his 41st Test match ton to his fellow Mumbaikars.

There is little doubt the power of the victory has brought much cheer for a nation still grieving in wake of last month's attacks. Tellingly, the Indian team's heroics even managed to melt the hearts of the suits who run the international game. Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, said the manner in which the Test panned out made him "proud to be involved in this great game".

"I have been in touch with both the [Indian and English cricket boards] since the end of the match to thank them for what was a great advertisement for cricket," said the South African boss of the game's Dubai-based governers. "There was a lot of debate before this game as to whether it would even go ahead because of the terrible events in Mumbai recently. "Last week, I was convinced that the right thing to do was for the match to take place and now I'm glad that we have witnessed a great game of cricket.

"Although India take the plaudits for winning the match, thanks and congratulations are also due to Kevin Pietersen and his team who played so well while under enormous pressure from forces over which they could exert no control. "I was very impressed with their attitude and I can say I am especially proud to be involved in this great game. "Sport has the ability to make a difference in our society and over the past few days these two cricket teams have fought back and demonstrated great unity in a world rocked by conflict and division.

"I have no doubt the England players will be very disappointed after this match but they have a huge amount of which to be proud. "They clearly have plenty of character and courage so I hope they can pick themselves up and go to Mohali for the second Test with lots to play for." The ICC president David Morgan is planning to travel to the second Test starting in Mohali on Friday to show solidarity with the teams.

Lorgat has been at the forefront of the ICC's recent attempts to persuade teams to set aside security fears and continue to play cricket on the strife-torn subcontinent, especially Pakistan. He now hopes England, who initially returned home then travelled to Abu Dhabi before deciding to return to India, have set a precedent which other nations will follow. "This may be a lesson for the future," said Mr Lorgat. "We must always try to look at the bigger picture when external events intervene as in this case.

"Provided it is safe to do so, the show must always go on. We must stand together and rise above these forces that threaten our game and our way of life." pradley@thenational.ae