New Delhi: Mumbai terror attacks have shattered Indian cricketers' dream of completing a 7-0 One-Day International sweep against England.
India were in a commanding 5-0 lead after the first five matches when the last two matches of the series were scrapped after the terror attacks on India's financial hub over the past three days.
Back with their families, the players have been venting their anguish over the killings, though there has been casualties from cricking circles.
"Mumbai will never be the same again," said Mahinder Singh Dhoni, the captain of the team, as he reached his home in Ranchi last night.
The young Indian captain was hoping to complete the unprecedented series sweep after the fifth successive win in Guwahati on Wednesday.
Dhoni, like everyone else, keenly followed the 59-hour-long trail of death on television, and remembered the good times he had in the Taj Mahal Hotel on numerous occasions as a member of the Indian cricket team.
Dhoni was hoping to lead the Indian team against England in the second Test in Mumbai and stay at the Taj Hotel.
Dhoni's deputy, Virender Sehwag, returned home like his opening partner Gautam Gambhir yesterday. But Sehwag turned up for Delhi against Orissa in a Ranji Trophy game in the capital. Sehwag showed a deep sense of loss over what happened in Mumbai.
"The abiding memory for me is of my experience on return as part of the winning Indian team from the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa last year. Crowds had overflowed on Mumbai's streets with joy. Everyone seemed so happy. It appeared Mumbai had come to a standstill."
"Unfortunately, Mumbai again has come to a standstill but for completely different and wrong reasons."
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was devastated with what had happened in Mumbai over the last few days. "As captain of the team, as an ordinary member and so many times for the launch of a product or a press conference have I been there."
Indian team has always been a eclectic mix of young men of different religious backgrounds. Presently the team has on it four Muslims in Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Pathan brothers - Yousuf and Irfan. All four are devout Muslims and they, like everyone else, are critical of the attacks by suspected Islamists.
Test series: Only venue change
England asked for the Test series to go ahead next month despite the terror attacks in Mumbai, says a high-ranking Indian cricket official, who also claimed this week's Champions League Twenty20 tournament was postponed for logistical - not security - reasons.
Lalit Modi, the vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, denied in a newspaper interview yesterday that India pressured England into coming back next month to complete its tour.
He said pressure was coming from Australia and South Africa on another front, with those cricket boards wanting the Champions League Twenty20 tournament to begin from Wednesday.
The England squad flew home early last morning, with skipper Kevin Pietersen saying no player would be forced to return to India for two Tests next month if a security assessment identified any concerns. Modi said in emergency planning meetings, England officials had only sought a change of venue for the second Test.
Do you think England should have stayed and completed the series against India? Should they return to compete in the test series?
It is natural that England had gone back after the attacks in Mumbai. Now, as things have settled down and security has been tightened, England should come to India without fear and play Cricket.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 14:23
I strongly believe that England should come back to at least finish the Test series. This would be a slap in the face for the people involved in the terrorist attack. We should not let the fear of terror destroy our daily life. It is a way of letting them know that the world is united and will stand together to fight terror.
Posted: November 30, 2008, 12:39