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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Kevin Pietersen not impressed with England batting ahead of 2017-18 Ashes series

Kevin Pietersen believes that the absence of Ben Stokes can be catastrophic for England in the upcoming 2017-18 Ashes series against Australia.

cricket Updated: Oct 28, 2017 13:42 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Kevin Pietersen expressed his concerns about England’s batting ahead of the 2017-18 Ashes series.
Kevin Pietersen expressed his concerns about England’s batting ahead of the 2017-18 Ashes series.(AP)

With less than a month left for the 2017-18 Ashes series, Kevin Pietersen has termed England’s batting order as ‘incredibly weak and inexperienced’, with the potential absence of Ben Stokes threating their chances of retaining the prestigious title.

Pietersen was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo, “I think without [Joe] Root or Cook, that batting order is incredibly weak, incredibly inexperienced, and with Stokes maybe not going, I mean, it’s even worse.”

While Alaistar Cook is likely to have yet another opening partner in Mark Stoneman, the pressure will be on skipper Root to steady the innings in the middle order.

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“People say that ‘one bloke doesn’t make a team’, well, I mean one bloke who bowls 140kph, get important wickets, can hit 100 off 70 balls, can hit 200 off 100 balls in a Test match, and also, more importantly, catches everything at slip off the spinner, is a massive player. A massive, massive player,” he added.

Pietersen continued, “The opening batting with Cook, that worries me. No 3 worries me, I think Root should bat at three, five worries me, six will worry me too if Stokes doesn’t go. I mean there’s a lot of numbers in that batting order. I’ve been in Australia this week, and they are very confident of their chances and they talk of some very big gaps in the English team.”

The former England skipper says it will be critical for the players in the touring party to develop a strong bond as they set out to play in Australia. “When we had the great tour Down Under in 2010-11, we had the most incredible couple of nights out at the start of that tour, which brought the team so close together,” he said.

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“I know that it sounds so stupid, but if you go and get hammered as a team on a night out — as senior and junior players — so long as you don’t do something ridiculously stupid, the bonds you can create there are better than any ridiculous sessions you can do in the forest in Germany. Those are the little bits and pieces of cricketing nous and sense of understanding a team that were good on that tour but horrendous in 2013-14.”

However, Pietersen cautioned against taking advantage of relaxed rules. “Do whatever you want, but don’t get caught drinking at 2 o’clock on the morning before a game, don’t get caught fighting in the streets, don’t get caught doing things you shouldn’t be doing before the games and, in particular, before training days, because those always stood me in good stead for when I went into battle.”

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 13:42 IST

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