Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England Must Do without Linchpins

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England Must Do without Linchpins

Article excerpt

ENGLAND will today bid to clinch the NatWest Series, without the assistance of two of their steadiest hands. Andy Flower's absence in Nottingham is understood to be in no way connected to the ongoing Kevin Pietersen saga, or the prodigal batsman's timetable of negotiations with his employers to determine whether there is any way back into the England fold.

Rather than conducting another faceto-face meeting with Pietersen - the England and Wales Cricket Board have yet to confirm an initial one, reportedly last Saturday, did take place - the coach is taking a short break with his family.

on well as I can being consistent; I'll be out of While Flower reacquaints himself with his nearest and dearest, before three Twenty20s against South Africa and then England's defence of their world ICC crown in Sri Lanka this month, his duties in practice and on match day today fall to fielding coach Richard Halsall.

It is less clear who will deputise for Jonathan Trott at number three in today's day-night fixture against South Africa.

Jonny Bairstow is the obvious candidate to replace Trott, officially ruled out of contention after taking no part in England practice yesterday because of the hand injury he suffered in Sunday's victory at Lord's. The young Yorkshireman is likely to bat lower down the order.

That means the out-of-form Ravi Bopara may be pushed up to number three as world number ones England seek to consolidate that status with a 3-1 series victory over the side currently ranked third.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter can probably expect to stay in the number six position to which he has become accustomed since Pietersen, and more recently Bell, took on the responsibility of partnering captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order.

got to keep playing as Wherever he is deployed, and keep otherwise Kieswetter will approach his task with renewed confidence - having completed England's latest win by hitting Dale Steyn, one of the world's fastest bowlers, over long-off to the Lord's pavilion. …

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