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 England can shine even without stars, says Pietersen

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PostSubject: England can shine even without stars, says Pietersen   Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:51 am

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


LONDON:
Kevin Pietersen has warned Australia that England no longer have to rely only on their star players to produce match-winning performances.

The former England captain is impressed with the way Andrew Strauss’s team made light of his absence and that of Andrew Flintoff in the recent one-day series against the West Indies.

Pietersen was ruled out with an Achilles injury, while all-rounder Flintoff has yet to recover from a knee operation. Yet it had little impact on England’s fortunes as they swept to a convincing one-day series win against the West Indians.

Pietersen believes that is an encouraging sign for England as they build up to the start of the Ashes series in Cardiff on July 8.

“England are not relying on one or two players,” he said. “If you look at Australia during their good times, if (Matthew) Hayden didn’t perform, (Adam) Gilchrist did, and the best thing about what’s happening now is that if I fail like I did when I got a first-baller at Lord’s, we still got a decent total.

“I’ve actually been quite annoyed when people have said the likes of Ravi (Bopara) are my rivals to counter the Australians. I am with Ravi all day every day, I love the bloke, his confidence, the way he plays without fear, the way he talks about things and the way he doesn’t worry — I love his approach and it’s something a lot of the players can learn from.

“(Stuart) Broad has been exceptional, Matty Prior is somebody who has improved so much as well and James Anderson produced a brilliant display at Durham the other day — I don’t care who you are, you’re not playing that sort of bowling well.”

In a bid to be at peak fitness for the Ashes, Pietersen has been working with former athletics coach Mark Young, who is now the England and Wales Cricket Board’s head of physiotherapy and previously worked with top athletes including Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt.

“He said this Achilles injury is something he has seen on a daily basis in athletics so he could diagnose it and see what the problem was straight away,” Pietersen said. “He has put me on balancing boards to make sure my balance is right. I have had to close my eyes to make sure my balance is right and really start thinking about my feet.

“Standing on the balance board for the first time, I was like a clown and I was all over the place, but I’m now not too bad and can balance for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.”

Young has told Pietersen he is still a fortnight away from road running, which has formed an integral part of his fitness programme in recent years and is thought to have caused the current problem during his time in the Caribbean in the winter.

“The only thing that is restricted is my running,” Pietersen said. “I’ve really got to ease back into my running. It would be stupid for me to do what I’d do normally, which is a 40 to 60 minute run.

“It’s a natural progression of putting weight through the tendon and not hurting it and getting myself comfortable enough so that in a couple of weeks I’m able to run.”


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