Pietersen thrilled at the opportunity to act as England’s emergency opener

ENGLAND batsman Kevin Pietersen insists he is ready to embrace the role of emergency World Cup opener.

Pietersen, who has played the vast majority of his 110 one-day internationals at No4, was promoted to the top of the order as England struggled to a narrow warm-up victory over Canada yesterday.

The South African-born star made 24 on a typically slow Bangladeshi wicket, which hardly rendered the experiment an unqualified success. Indeed, it was ironic that England were bailed out by the batting of the demoted Matt Prior, who made 78, and the bowling of a fit-again Stuart Broad who took five for 37 as they sneaked home by 16 runs. Pietersen will remain as opener with captain Andrew Strauss for the tournament which starts on Sunday and said: “It’s really exciting – a nice positive move going into the World Cup.”

It’s not the first time England have tinkered with their opening partnership on the eve of a major tournament. In 1999 Nasser Hussain ousted Nick Knight at the last minute and they failed to make it out of the group stages.