WHILE it might be stretching the truth to suggest Kevin Pietersen’s tournament ending hernia injury is a blessing in disguise, it is a measure of England’s development as a one-day unit that they are unlikely to be overly handicapped by his absence.
In his pomp KP was the most destructive batsman in the game, whatever the format, but that dominant, brash, reverse sweeping, switch-hitting innovator is no more.
Repositioning Pietersen at the top of the order hasn’t worked, and although his early departure means England will again have to shuffle their pack, this is a side whose No3 batsmen are well used to coming to the crease without a substantial platform to build on.
Ian Bell, who has opened for the Twenty20 side of late, is the obvious candidate to replace Pietersen, while Ravi Bopara has done the job on occasion in the past with mixed success. There is even the possibility of England coming up with something a bit left-field and permitting Graeme Swann to have a bash in order to take advantage of the early power-plays.
Whoever replaces Pietersen at the top of the order, the negatives of his absence are offset by the reintroduction of Ian Morgan. Despite their positive results against India and South Africa, and indeed their travails against Ireland and Holland, England have stalled in the latter stages.
Mike Yardy’s three from 17 balls against South Africa on Sunday was as close to a hanging offence as you can get in one-day cricket. You can be sure the ice cool Morgan, England’s finisher, won’t be as wasteful with the strike when he makes his bow on Friday.