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'England are Ashes underdogs'

cricket Updated: Oct 05, 2010 02:10 IST

Reuters
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England will start as underdogs in the five-test Ashes series against Australia starting in Brisbane on Nov. 25, former captain Kevin Pietersen said on Monday.

"We are definitely underdogs because Australia in Australia is an incredible cricket team," Pietersen told reporters.

"They beat us 5-0 last time we were there but we are quietly confident that we can put on a really good show."

Pietersen, 30, is in South Africa to play two first-class matches for the Durban-based franchise, the KwaZulu-Natal Dolphins, in an effort to regain his form ahead of the tour.

He has not scored a test century since March 2009 last year and was dropped for the one-day series against Pakistan this year after he averaged just 23.33 with a highest score of 80 in the tests.

"It was certainly the toughest conditions I have played in during the six summers I have spent playing test cricket in England," he said.

"There weren't too many batters who averaged 20 or 30 at the top of the order from either side.

"It's a known fact that I haven't got as many runs as I could have possibly got in the last couple of months and (in South Africa) there is a chance for me to play on some good wickets and against the Kookaburra ball.

"I am out here now to try and put things right, to spend some time in the middle and work a lot harder than I have worked before so that I am in the best nick possible come the Ashes tour."

Pietersen said the England team had matured since regaining the Ashes last year.

"I think we have got a really good squad and it is a squad that has matured a lot. It has become a really tight unit, all the guys get on well and when the going gets tough, as I know it does when you tour Australia, we have a unit that will stand together and pull through," he said.

"We have just had a camp in Germany and the team spirit and bonding was amazing on what was quite a tough trip both mentally and physically."