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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Pietersen must go back to go forward: Jones

Pietersen must go back to go forward: Jones

February 16, 2011 09:48 IST

Kevin Pietersen must go back in time and start constructing his innings as he did at the start of his international career in order to ignite England's World Cup challenge, according to former team mate Geraint Jones.

"In the World Cup you need your big guns to fire," Kent wicketkeeper-batsman Jones said. "Kevin did that for the Twenty20 World Cup triumph last year and will no doubt look to do the same this time.

"I was in the side when he came into the One-day team in South Africa in 2005 and he got three hundreds in the series. It was exciting to watch him play there, the way he went about it.

"He built his innings and then used his power. I think that's potentially an area he needs to get back to," added Jones, a member of the Ashes-winning team six years ago.

kevin pietersenEngland launch their World Cup campaign against Netherlands in Nagpur on February 22 and Jones said the management team would be massaging Pietersen's ego to get his batting back on track after a poor series in the recent 6-1 one-day defeat in Australia.

"He seems now to want to be ultra attacking from ball one and you just can't do that," said the 34-year-old. "You have to assess match conditions and pitch conditions and England need Kevin to bat long innings.

"If he does that and he's there at the back end of an innings, whether we bat first or second, we are going to win games.

"I'm sure (coach) Andy Flower and (captain) Andrew Strauss will be talking to Kevin and saying, 'Listen, you are our main player and we want you to bat a long time because if you do there is no doubt you'll score big hundreds'," Jones added.

The keeper, who appeared in 34 Tests and 49 One-dayers for England between 2004-06, said it was especially important for Pietersen to fire on the sub-continent after Eoin Morgan was ruled out of the World Cup because of a broken finger.

"Morgan's injury is a massive blow," said Jones. "He changes matches. If you bat first he can belt 100 in 50 balls ... and when you are chasing targets he has shown how calm he is under pressure.

"That position he bats in the middle order is crucial because you have to be calm to finish off a game or set up a big total for the bowlers to defend. (Replacement) Ravi Bopara is a good player but I don't think he's quite the player Eoin is."

PRIOR RECALL

Casting his expert eye over the keeper-batsman role, Jones was delighted with Matt Prior's recall for the One-day series in Australia.

"I wasn't surprised when they chose Matt because he has played so well in the Test arena over the last 18 months and I think he's one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the world," said the Papua New Guinea-born player.

"I don't have any qualms about choosing him, more the timing of it. To bring him in for the second one-dayer against Australia for Steven Davies ... they should have realised how well Matt was playing and played him right from the start.

"The wickets out there shouldn't bounce as much and if he can get in, he is capable of big scores. He's a powerful, destructive batsman and I would have him opening for sure," added Jones.

"To play two spinners at the World Cup, which we have to do, we need flexibility in the batting order and Matt should give us that."

Jones may be approaching the final bend in his own career but he has not ruled out altogether the idea of getting another international call.

"I haven't given up hope because I feel I'm a much better player than I was when I played for England but I am also a realist," he said.

"Matt is playing fantastically well and Steven has come in and done well. There are some younger keepers out there that I'm sure they would probably turn to first.

"But I have no qualms that I would be able to play well. If I got the phone call I wouldn't say 'no'," said Jones.

Source:
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