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'England less affected, more benefitted'

December 10, 2008 21:10 IST

Former England batsman Mike Atherton felt Kevin Pietersen and his team was in all probability being benefitted more than affected by the Mumbai terror attack as it save them from lot of criticism and gave them a chance to visit home in the middle of a series.

"In a funny way it might have helped them, because had Mumbai not happened they might have gone down 7-0 in the one-day series and been badly criticised for that," Atherton said.

"In fact what this has done has given them a break and given them a chance to go home. So in a funny kind of way it might help and also they will feel they don't have that much to lose. There is no pressure on them and that feeling can be quite liberating," he was quoted as saying by The Times.

The cricketer-turned-journalist said not playing first-class cricket also would not affect the visitor's chances in the first cricket Test against India in Chennai. 

"I was talking to a couple of the players last night and although they have not played first-class cricket for a long time, they don't feel under-prepared in terms of net practice - they said the facilities in Abu Dhabi were fantastic.

"So in a way they are not that much less prepared than they would have been had the Mumbai attacks not happened," he said.

England have not played first-class cricket or Test in last four months since their series against South Africa concluded in September.

Atherton also believed the match would be in control of whoever wins the toss on Thursday.

"I always think in India the toss is quite important and the first couple of days are vital, because if you can win the toss and get a big score it doesn't matter who you are, you have a chance to control the game and put pressure on the opposition," he said.

"So it would be nice for Pietersen to win the toss and have a bat tomorrow.

"England's best chance is to bat well first up, whereas if India get away to a bit of a flier then it could be a bit of a toil in the field for Pietersen's men. Clearly England go into the game as second favourites, with India in good form, but I wouldn't discount them. Funny things can happen and I wouldn't dismiss their chances," he said.

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