England turn to Pietersen for India tour start

ENGLAND are to today recall the batsman Kevin Pietersen for the warm-up match against India A as his “reintegration” to the side comes to its conclusion.

The 32-year-old was in August dropped from the international scene for the sending of “provocative” text messages to South Africa players as England’s Test series against the Proteas was unfolding and was only recently recalled

following the retirement of then-captain Andrew Strauss and a meeting with coach Andy Flowers and senior players.

Pietersen was in a position to join England’s pre-India tour training camp in Dubai after Delhi Daredevils, his Champions League Twenty20 side, were eliminated before Sunday’s final and is consequently to appear in the first match of the tour.

“[Pietersen] is down to play and will be batting at four. We’ve had some great success and some great times together over the last few years. I think we can work very well together in the future and we’ve already started that process. It takes a little while to get back into your rhythm and top form, but he’s an amazing cricketer,” explained Flower, for whom the batting will be opened by Nick Compton and captain Alastair Cook, who himself has high hopes about the South Africa-born batsman’s return.

“He’s desperate to get going and we are desperate to have him back in the team,” said Cook. “As I have always said, it’s great to have world-class players in our team and, if we want to play the standard of cricket we know we are capable of, we will have to have our best players.

“As a senior batter, he is there to get runs and, off the field, to pass on his experience to the rest of the lads.

“He has played a huge amount of cricket, some 90 Test matches, and he has experience of sub-continent cricket with the IPL [Indian Premier League]. That experience is valuable to us if we are going to get used to the conditions as quickly as we can.”

INDIA TOUR: KEY DATES

25 Oct: England flew to Dubai for three-day training camp
30 Oct-1 Nov: Tour match v India A, Mumbai
3-5 Nov: Tour match v Mumbai Select XI, Mumbai
8-11 Nov: Tour match v TBC, Mumbai
15-19 Nov: First Test, Ahmedabad
23-27 Nov: Second Test, Mumbai
5-9 Dec: Third Test, Kolkata
13-17 Dec: Fourth Test,Nagpur