Former England captain Kevin Pietersen recollected the crunch situation of 2008 India tour when the Mumbai terrorist attack happened and England team, who were about to play Chennai Test, left India and camped in UAE.
Pietersen said he never wanted to lead England after that deadly terror attack as he didn’t want to play in India, but ECB never wanted to drag their good ties in danger with the BCCI and there was also a diplomatic tie between India and England, so Pietersen as a captain had to tour India and play the Chennai Test and Mohali Test. India won the Chennai Test and Mohali Test was drawn.
Pietersen was speaking about the current Bangladesh tour where England players are going to face the same kind of situation.
Out of favour England batsman, Kevin Pietersen announced his stance on the Bangladesh tour. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after consultation with the England security officials, who visited the stadiums and hotel in Bangladesh were satisfied with the security BCB’s plans, agreed to send players. BCB promised that they will give security to the players, journalist and English fans.
A Recent attack in a Dhaka café by an ISIS influenced Bangladeshi terrorist sparked concern among the England players. Australia last year snapped the tour after their security officials found the country unsafe for foreigners.
But, this year England will visit Bangladesh for a three-match ODI and two-match Test series which will start on October 7.
ECB and England ODI captain Eion Morgan said that selectors will not force players to tour Bangladesh. It will be players’ choice to tour the South Asian country.
Kevin Pietersen said, “Bangladesh is the hardest place to tour.” Bangladesh is considered to be at heightened risk of terror attacks at present, with westerners particularly likely to be targeted but after a fact-finding mission headed by security expert Reg Dickason, the England and Wales Cricket Board has committed to the schedule.
But Pietersen’s comments on the 2008 Indian tour have attracted attention. In 2008 when then England Kevin Pietersen’ England touring India the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack happened. England team considering the gravity of the attack left India and camped at Abu Dhabi. During that terrorist attack targeted people of Israel, the USA, and India.
Pietersen recounting that 2008 scenario said, “As a player if the rest of the team go it’s really hard to pull out and say no.”
Pietersen said he has a family and kids, so he doesn’t want to bring his life in risk during the 26/11 Mumbai attack there are players who would like to tour even in the unsafe place.
Pietersen also feels that England will need a strong leadership to keep the unity of the team intact during the Bangladesh tour.
‘I don’t think you can pull out if the rest of the team go. Maybe if you’ve got kids you can play the family card, but you probably still have to go. It’s a very interesting time. You’re going to need a strong leader.’
Talking about his 2008 experience Pietersen said, ‘It was stressful, horrendous,’ he said.
The 36-year-old cricketer also said that in this kind of situation he never wanted to lead the team as he himself wanted to skip the India tour.
“I wished I wasn’t the captain of England at that time, steering a ship with guys who have kids, which I didn’t have at the time.”
But there were cricketers who wanted to tour India and ECB didn’t want their relationship with the BCCI to get affected so it was difficult for them to pull out the tour.
“There were guys who wanted to go, guys who didn’t want to go… there’s relationships between nations, the BCCI and the ECB, that makes it hard to pull a tour. You didn’t want to p*** off the BCCI. I wished I wasn’t the leader at that time.”
Pietersen on that tour scored 144 in the Mohali Test.