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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


Pietersen to curb strokeplay

Mark Meadows | March 08, 2007 11:01 IST

Key England batsman Kevin Pietersen is ready to suppress his natural attacking instincts at the World Cup and instead nurdle his way to good scores on the slow Caribbean wickets.

After the first set of warm-up matches most sides have realised that spin is going to be crucial, a fact underlined by England's decision on Wednesday to draft in off-spinner Jeremy Snape as a slow bowling coach for 10 days.

The 33-year-old Leicestershire captain, who played 10 one-dayers for England in 2001 and 2002, was already in the West Indies working with the minor nations at this tournament.

Pietersen, who is also England's third choice spinner behind Monty Panesar and Jamie Dalrymple, fully expects to have to nudge the ball around for ones and twos against slow bowlers for much of this World Cup.

"It is one of those things that has to be done. You've got to play the situation," he told reporters at the team hotel.

"It's going to be a pretty similar series to the one in India last year. Slow bowlers and fielding are going to play a massive part."

Pietersen was stumped for 43 on Monday off the bowling of burly Bermuda left-arm spinner Dwayne Leverock and the England number four hinted that he was surprised by his ability given his large size.

"He was good, very deceiving. That's how I'll leave it," he said.

CHARGING DOWN

This is Pietersen's first time in the Caribbean and his first World Cup but he is lucky to be here after fracturing a rib charging down the wicket at Glenn McGrath in the tri-series in Australia in January.

He missed the rest of the tournament, which England went on to win despite a poor start and an earlier 5-0 Ashes test series drubbing.

"The rib is fine, perfectly fine. I'm raring to go," he said. "I was in Australia eight or nine weeks and we hadn't come close to winning. Morale wasn't fantastic. But the boys spun it around, it was great."

England face Australia on Friday in their final warm-up game and asked if he would come down the wicket again to McGrath, he said: "Who knows, I might have to do it here.

"I didn't believe he could break my ribs. I knew it was a problem when I couldn't breathe."

The South African-born batsman also said injured fast bowler Brett Lee being ruled out of the World Cup had left Australia with a "massive hole".

The tournament gets underway properly for England on March 16 with a Group C clash against New Zealand.

"I think the boys are confident, but there is a big word - caution," he added.


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