England will not be weaker as a result of leading batsman Kevin Pietersen being dropped for this week's third and final test against South Africa at Lord's, according to team mates Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan.
Pietersen, named man of the match after hitting a brilliant 149 in the second test at Leeds, was left out at the weekend because he failed to confirm he did not send derogatory text messages about fellow England players to the opposition.
"Just because you lose one player it doesn't necessarily make you a weaker team," said off-spinner Graeme Swann in his Sun newspaper column on Tuesday.
"We all need to be pulling in the same direction - not 10 of us doing it and one of us not."
Swann said England's one-day results had improved since Pietersen gave up 50-over and Twenty20 international cricket in May.
"Since Kevin retired from limited-overs cricket we are unbeaten in all matches in the shorter formats," he said.
Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow, 22, has replaced Pietersen and takes good form to Lord's after scoring a century against Australia A in Manchester last week. "It may be an even better side," all-rounder Tim Bresnan told reporters when asked how the absence of Pietersen would affect England.
"It's one of those things where a talented player has been replaced by another talented player. Why should we miss certain individuals just because they're not available for selection?" Bresnan said the spirit among the squad, who are 1-0 down in the series, had not been destabilised.
"We met up yesterday, the mood in the camp was exceptional. It's just like it always is. Always relaxed, quite focused, but we've always got the driving desire to get that win," he added.
KP will bounce back in style: Kallis
South Africa's Jacques Kallis believes Kevin Pietersen will bounce back.
However, Kallis is certain this is not the end of South Africa-born Pietersen's international career. "He's too good a player to stay out of the international scene. I've no doubts they'll come to an agreement. These sorts of things are going to happen throughout his career. I don't think it'll affect him, I think he'll bounce back."