Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

KP Pulls England through, but Fears Grow over Ashes Fitness; Star Batsman Steers Hosts into the Next Stage of the World Twenty20 despite Struggling with an Achilles Injury. by Tom Collomosse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

KP Pulls England through, but Fears Grow over Ashes Fitness; Star Batsman Steers Hosts into the Next Stage of the World Twenty20 despite Struggling with an Achilles Injury. by Tom Collomosse

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse

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KEVIN PIETERSEN saved England from World Twenty20 humiliation against Pakistan last night -- but there remains a huge questionmark over his participation in the Ashes after the batsman admitted he was only 70 per cent fit.

Pietersen was given the all-clear to play in the Group B encounter at The Brit Oval and the gamble appeared to pay off as he scored 58 from 38 balls to help England to a 48-run win, which ensures they progress to the Super Eights stage.

Captain Paul Collingwood later confirmed he would not take chances with Pietersen's fitness if his Achilles tendon injury flares up again, although England now have three days until their next match -- against South Africa at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

The problem kept England's star batsman out of the shock defeat by the Netherlands in the opening game of the tournament on Friday and the 28-yearold revealed: "I reckon I'm about 70 per cent fit. Hopefully, that is the last of it now because I just love playing. It was a huge evening -- I was desperate to play, I've never had an injury that has kept me out. It has been hard to deal with."

Impressively though Pietersen batted, he frequently turned down the chance to turn one run into two, increasing the suspicion that his Achilles might still be too fragile for sustained, hard running.

Relieved as England's fans will be to see their team advance, it is the Ashes -- only 30 days away -- which remain the focus of the summer and Collingwood's cagey stance on Pietersen was far from reassuring.

The Durham player said: "Kevin will not be risked. His injury is for the medical staff to manage and the decisions are theirs to make -- but we wouldn't risk him. It's as simple as that.

He will not be risked for the rest of the summer."

The England skipper was on much surer ground discussing last night's victory -- in which Pietersen's return was by no means the only bright spot. …

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