India-England series will be an even contest: Fletcher

December 10th, 2008 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 10 (IANS) Former England coach Duncan Fletcher feels the Mumbai terror attacks have neutralised India’s 5-0 thrashing of visitors in the One-day internationals and the Test series will be wide open. “It could be quite difficult for England to prepare properly given that they only made the decision to play in Chennai a couple of days ago, but at the same time India’s preparations won’t have been much better,” Fletcher wrote in his column in the Guardian.

“The Mumbai attacks must have affected the Indian players quite seriously, so if England can go in there with a professional attitude - there are two Tests to play, then we can go home — they might be OK.”

Fletcher, however, said the England team should refrain from complaining about the massive security cover during their stay, which, in fact, was asked by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) before the start of the series.

“What England must not complain about is feeling claustrophobic while the security guys do their jobs. I remember that 2001-02 tour when the same people who wanted top-level security before heading out to India then complained that it was all too much once they were there,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher, who is currently working as an advisor with the South African team, contrary to the general fear, said it is the safest time to travel to India.

“If anything, the safest time to tour India is now, just after the Mumbai atrocities, because the security will be at its tightest. I’ve been on tours where security starts out very tight, then gets lax as the weeks go on.”

“But there’s no danger of complacency among security staff at the moment, and England are only there until Dec 23, so it should not be difficult to maintain levels of protection. If you don’t visit India now, you may as well never visit.”

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