Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Call for Kevin

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Call for Kevin

Article excerpt

Kevin Pietersen has already provided one series-deciding contribution in his short Test career - but it will need something as monumental to stave off defeat in India.

Pietersen, 25, was centre stage when England reclaimed the Ashes last September with a maiden hundred which defied Australia's victory bid at The Oval.

That innings of 158, including 15 fours and seven sixes, came in the most tense of circumstances and cemented Pietersen's place in the most successful English team of the modern era.

Yet without an extraordinary performance against the odds in the final Test at the Wankhede Stadium, England will have lost two consecutive series in this part of the world and extend their barren run to seven matches.

Although injuries and family matters have conspired against the tourists, including the loss of captain Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick, Simon Jones and Ashley Giles, they would nevertheless slip to third in the official Test rankings should India protect or build on the lead they opened up in Mohali last week.

"The boys did so well against Australia and that can never be taken away, everything we went through was as tough as it gets in world cricket," said Pietersen, ahead of Saturday's finale.

"A fully fit English team has proven it can beat any team in the world but unfortunately with injuries - as can happen in any sport - we have suffered.

"As soon as the England team comes together as a full unit again we know we can beat the best in the world - we have that belief in ourselves.

"But this has given other players an opportunity which is good and they have made use of it which is good for English cricket.

"We go into this Test match knowing we have to win the game; we are a positive team, we are a challenging team and a confident team and we know we have got a big job ahead of us."

Youngsters Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar have impressed in a reshuffled side, which now includes Pietersen one place higher than his accustomed position of number five. …

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