Let's do it for India, urges Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen said Thursday he was "very confident" England will play their scheduled Test matches in India but admitted a final decision will not be taken until Sunday on whether to resume a tour suspended after the Mumbai terror attacks.
Two hours before England flew out to a training camp in Abu Dhabi, Pietersen held a press conference at London's Heathrow airport that he and his players wanted to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the Indian people.
But he also stressed that the team would wait for a final report from security chief Reg Dickason before finally deciding whether to travel on to India early next week.
A bomb alert in Chennai, where England are scheduled to play the first of two Tests from December 11, further confused the situation as the England players boarded their flight.
Pietersen said: "We have to buy ourselves some more time in Abu Dhabi. It's fantastic we have a bunch of players who went to India initially and now want to go back and play some cricket.
"It's very important that we go shoulder to shoulder with the Indian people in their time of need and go and demonstrate in India what we want to do and show our support. Hopefully we'll play some Test match cricket."
Pietersen had hinted earlier this week that England's players would be reluctant to return, admitting that he had himself been unable to sleep after watching the horrific events in Mumbai unfold on Indian television.
But he acknowledged that pulling out of England's commitments would have serious repercussions for the sport.
"Definitely the impact on world cricket was at the back of my mind," he said. "It's something you think about. But at the end of the day safety and security is paramount. That's the most important thing in this situation and that's what we'll be getting on Sunday from the security team.
"As it stands at the moment the boys are focused on playing some red ball cricket in Abu Dhabi to start a Test match hopefully on Thursday in Chennai."
A number of players had been understood to be extremely doubtful about returning to India.
Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison publicly stated their concerns but all the original squad, apart from the injured Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad, have agreed to travel, at least as far as Abu Dhabi.
Pietersen said: "I didn't persuade anybody. I respect everybody's individual concern. I respect all their decisions and everything they have to go through.
"They are men at the end of the day and they make decisions for themselves. They certainly make life decisions for themselves. It is very clear that nobody was told what to do. Nobody was persuaded what to do.
"We respected everybody's opinions. We are fortunate to have such a great bunch of lads who want to jump on a plane this afternoon to go to Abu Dhabi.
"I'm not sure about extra persuasion I just think guys like Steve and Fred (Flintoff) have got a lot more open minded in the last couple of days with what Reg has said and what's gone on in the last couple of days.
"That is fantastic for the team because they are two big players and we certainly want them in our team and certainly want them to come."
Hugh Morris, the England Cricket Managing Director, added: "I have spoken to our security team in Chennai a couple of times this morning. They are finding out exactly what the situation is with these terror alerts.
"As soon as we get that information it will be fed back to me and fed back to the Board and form part of the security audit we are undertaking."