December 20 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
England captain Alastair Cook believes that Kevin Pietersen has completed his reintegration period after his summer exile from the national side.
With the star batsman’s contract wrangles now set aside and his return to the fold achieved, only after a show of contrition and a series of meetings to re-establish working relationships with team-mates and management, Cook is thankful too to have the South Africa-born batsman at his disposal again.
“As a captain, it’s great to have a world-class batter back,” he added.
“He’s a guy who can change a game very quickly and, like he did in Colombo, win matches for us in sessions.
“Not many people in the world can do that.”
Cook has even coined a new, more prosaic, term today for the high-flown “reintegration” Pietersen was prescribed in September by England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke.
“The ‘process’, or whatever you want to call it, in my eyes has finished,” said Cook.
“We’re moving on, and it’s great to have Kev back.
“The whole side has adapted to the situation of what has happened over the last few months.
“We have had to draw a line under it and we have moved on.”
Pietersen - England have to a man been at pains to stress - has played his part.
“He has been brilliant, and the lads have been brilliant,” Cook added.
“So I just want to concentrate on what’s important - which is playing a game of cricket.”
England will have to do that without Steven Finn tomorrow, after Cook this morning confirmed the open secret that the fast bowler’s recovery from a thigh strain is not sufficiently progressed.
They will take a minor gamble on Stuart Broad’s bruised heel, but two risks over frontline bowlers is one too many.
England are therefore likely to name Tim Bresnan as their third seamer, behind James Anderson and Broad, in an attack completed by Graeme Swann’s off-spin and all-rounder Samit Patel’s left-arm orthodox.
On a pitch already looking notably dry, but surrounded by a lush outfield, a hedged bet between spin and reverse-swing is probably as well as they can do.
India, meanwhile, have an adoring yet demanding public to serve.
“There’s a lot of pressure, especially here in India, on the home team,” said Cook.
“But one thing they seem to have done over the years is cope with that.
“They have an excellent home record. So history says they can deal with pressure. Our job is to put them under some pressure.
“We are ready - that’s part of the reason we came out for three-and-a-half weeks, to be ready.
“The proof of the pudding will be over these next four Test matches.”