Third Test in peril as London riots spread to Birmingham

A masked man walks past a burning car outside a store in London Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

London: Aug 9, 2011

The third test between England and India starting on Wednesday in Birmingham is in jeopardy as rioting broke out in Liverpool and Birmingham in the worst violence in London in years.

Due to security concerns, Indian and English cricketers have been asked to confine themselves to their hotel rooms ahead of the third Test starting here tomorrow.

Over 200 people have been arrested so far as the police continued to grapple with trouble spreading to newer areas in London. The violence started after a person was killed allegedly in police firing.

Rioting and looting has spread across London, with unrest flaring up in the central city of Birmingham, the western city of Bristol and the northwestern city of Liverpool.

The third cricket Test between India and England is scheduled to be held at Edgbaston, Birmingham, from August 10.

On the third night of riots in London, gangs of masked youth last night looted shops, attacked police officers and set fire to vehicles and garbage dumps in raging violence, sparked by the killing of a youth in police shooting in Tottenham, reminding many of racial unrest in the 1980s.

Clashes in Hackney – one of the five boroughs in which the 2012 Olympics will be held – between police and groups of youths were shown live through helicopter cameras, besides at least one car set on fire on the third night of violence.

Prime Minister David Cameron is returning early from holiday to discuss the unrest, which appeared to be led by youths alienated by years of underemployment which left them feeling marginalized even before the economic downturn.

Scotland Yard has deployed an extra 1,700 officers to deal with the unrest in the capital.

Violence started on Saturday in Tottenham district when a peaceful protest over the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old local man, turned violent. Trouble has since spread to areas of London, such as Islington, Enfield, Walthamstow, Oxford Circus and now Hackney.

Instructed to stay put in their hotel rooms, Indian cricketers are watching with concern the riots which hit the city last night as part of the growing unrest in London and neighbouring areas.

“We were told by the Board to remain where we were last night with instructions to restrict our movement,” said team manager Anirudh Choudhry on the eve of the third Test against England.

In an email, he later said, “all the members of the Indian touring squad are safe and accounted for…the team management is keeping a close watch on the situation.”

The Indian team is staying in a central city hotel as is the England team, a part of the town which was the centre of riots.

Some of the players tweeted about the issue on the micro-blogging site.

Suresh Raina: “Good nite, every thing safe here miss you mom can’t wait to see u.”

Kevin Pietersen: “They have just locked our hotel in Birmingham. Riots just started here. Insane!”

Graeme Swann: ”Goodnight England. Good luck to those surrounded by the carnage. Be safe.”

Tim Bresnan: “Just seen the rioters in Birmingham fleeing down the main street followed by a load of police in the full get up. What’s going on?”

Wayne Parnell: “What the hell is going on in England at the moment?? I can’t believe what I’m seeing on TV”

Andrew Flintoff: Can’t believe what I’m seeing on the telly! We ask a lot of our army , but Dave needs to send them in to stop these knobheads !

Adam Hollioake: I may b nieve but can someone tell me why they dont just send in the army to sort out London Riots? Im sure there is a good reason tho….?

Stuart Broad: Police vans all around Birmingham where we are right now”