While the country continues to combust under a rare spurious activity of violence and civil disharmony, the England captain has appealed for sport to remain at the forefront ahead of the third Test of the India England series.
The UK riots which began in London three days have left the stench of burning in the aftermath, spreading violence, looting and arson to other cities in the UK including Birmingham where India will be playing England in the third Test. With the roads becoming increasingly dangerous, the players were confined to their hotel ahead of the Edgbaston Test. However, the England Test captain believes cricket can move past the chaos that the country finds itself in.
Let’s divorce the cricket match from what is going on in the country which is clearly not our proudest hour as a country right at the moment.
You can divorce the two. I think this is an opportunity for cricket to maybe put a feel-good factor into the newspapers and show that not everything is bad out there at the moment.
The ECB and the BCCI announced that third Test would go ahead on schedule although England chose to cancel their football friendly match against the Netherlands at the Wembley on Wednesday. Andrew Strauss, the England captain, also believes there is no reason for concern unless the authorities concerned deem it to be so. While condemning the events of the past days, Strauss has also called for cricket to be segregated from what else is happening the country. Strauss believes in fact that cricket can be the distracting force in the midst of the chaos and represent the country in a better light than it has been since the riots hits London over the weekend.
It hasn’t really affected our preparation. When you watch these scenes on the television, it’s horrific and it’s far from England’s proudest moment. But we fully intend to play the game as we would any other game.
Strauss also believes that while the players have had to take precautions following the riots, it has not really distracted England from the focus of preparing for the third Test which should they won, England would become the no.1 Test team in the world. But while the skipper is urging that the cricket be the focus of the positive events coming out of England, the reality remains that the police have struggled to bring the mobs under control even as the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has strengthened the police force out on the streets to curb the growing menace.
It is an indicator that more force is being intended and escalating tensions could still be a cause for concern for the many cricket fans who were expected to turn up in hoards, excited by the fast selling ticket sales since England sealed the second Test at Trent Bridge to go up by a 2-0 margin. The anticipation of England becoming the no.1 Test team by the next weekend was going to be a huge crowd puller. Given the circumstances surrounding the third Test, it now seems to be a major question mark if the law and order authorities can cope with the additional burden of covering a Test match in addition to combating the rioters to ensure a safe, smooth and uninterrupted cricket match as Birmingham continues to remain on edge.