Manchester - England are optimistic Kevin Pietersen will be fit to play in the
third Ashes Test against Australia at Manchester's Old Trafford ground
Pietersen suffered a left calf injury during
England's crushing 347-run win in the second Test at Lord's, which put
the Ashes-holders 2-0 up in the five-match series with three to play.
then the 33-year-old Pietersen, arguably England's most talented
batsman, has undergone an intensive programme to regain full fitness.
while no final decision has yet been made on whether he will be in the
third Test side, England captain Alastair Cook was upbeat about his
chances when speaking to reporters at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
"(He is) pretty good. He's come through training the past two days and done everything that's been asked of him," Cook said.
we have to make a decision tomorrow (Thursday) morning just in case he
pulls up different to that, but we'll see and we're pretty hopeful.
don't know quite how he'll pull up from today's (Wednesday's) training,
but he's worked incredibly hard with the medical team over the last
week to get himself right, so fingers crossed he has."
South Africa-born Pietersen batted for 15 minutes on Wednesday as bad weather saw England train in Old Trafford's indoor nets.
did go outside briefly for a trio of 30-yard shuttle runs on a damp
outfield, but soon returned indoors with little to suggest he'd been
hampered by his calf problem.
In a bid to further test his
fitness, Pietersen had earlier taken the unusual step while batting in a
net of sometimes setting off and running after playing a shot as he
tried to replicate match conditions.
Former England captain
Pietersen has missed most of the side's matches since a knee injury
forced his early exit from the tour of New Zealand in March.
He was sidelined from all cricket until making a superb unbeaten 177 for Surrey in a County Championship match in June.
was recalled by England for their washed out Twenty20 match against New
Zealand at The Oval, his Surrey home ground, on June 27.
He then played in England's 14-run first Test win over Australia at Trent Bridge where he made scores of 14 and 64.
he's scored 7,584 runs in 96 Tests, including 22 hundreds, at an
impressive average of nearly 50, Pietersen managed just seven runs in
total across two innings at Lord's.
However, the fact England have
managed to go 2-0 up in the Ashes without a major innings from
Pietersen suggests they can cope without him.
Nottinghamshire's James Taylor, brought in as cover for Pietersen, made
an unbeaten hundred guesting for Sussex against Australia in a tour
match last weekend.