England on alert as KP returns

2013-06-27 09:14
Kevin Pietersen (AFP)

London - Andrew Strauss hopes England's Ashes campaign will not suffer any ongoing disruption from the extraordinary chain of events that saw star batsman Kevin Pietersen briefly dropped from the side last season.

Pietersen was axed from the England side when, after having made a brilliant hundred against his native South Africa at Headingley, it was alleged he has sent derogatory text messages, some said to be about then Test captain Strauss, to Proteas players.

Strauss retired from cricket after England's series loss to South Africa but insisted his decision had nothing to do with the Pietersen controversy.

Pietersen had to undergo a period of "reintegration" before playing a major role in England's series win in India before Christmas although a knee injury that forced him out of the tour of New Zealand in March kept him on the sidelines until last week.

But Pietersen, 33 on Thursday, returned to action with a brilliant 177 for Surrey against Yorkshire last week, prompting hopes he will be fit in time for next month's first Test against Australia in Nottingham.

He is due to return to England service in Thursday's second and final Twenty20 international against New Zealand at The Oval.

While Strauss doesn't doubt Pietersen's talents he is in no doubt of the need of a settled dressing room, especially given the upheaval Australia have suffered lately, culminating in the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur just 16 days out from the Ashes.

"Kevin is one of the best players I've ever seen," Strauss told several British national newspapers at a Sky Sports promotional event.

"But I don't know what's going on behind the scenes and I just hope everything in the team environment is fine. If it is fine then he should come back in straight away, no problems.

"But I do think you should never just assume that everything is okay, because in my experience if the team environment is not right it will come out at some point, usually under the greatest pressure.

"I'm sure everything's fine, I've got no reason to doubt it is, but it's still a consideration people have got to make."

And Strauss was convinced his former opening partner Alastair Cook, now his successor as England captain, and coach Andy Flower would have no trouble leading the team off the field as well as on it.

"When you're managing a team the key is to find where those boundaries are, where you're prepared to let people go, to what extent you're allowing them to be a free spirit because ultimately it's all got to be in the greater cause, which is making sure the team wins cricket games," Strauss said.

"That's a challenge for any leadership team and Andy Flower has been there long enough, Alastair Cook knows his mind pretty well and I'm sure they've got those boundaries in place."

Read more on:    england  |  kevin pietersen  |  cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Under fire Proteas coach Russell Domingo has blamed player workloads and fatigue as the reason for the national team's woeful showing in the Tri Series in the Caribbean. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.