England v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Trent Bridge July 5, 2011

Pietersen backs his attacking instincts

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen has admitted his frustration at not converting confident starts into a substantial innings in the one-day series against Sri Lanka but won't be changing his attacking approach. He has looked in fine form in all three matches before falling to the part-time legspin of Jeevan Mendis each time to leave England without one of their power-hitters.

Pietersen motored to 41 at almost a run-a-ball at Lord's on Sunday, dominating a third-wicket stand of 49 with Alastair Cook, and was resurrecting the innings after a difficult start in the first 10-over Powerplay. He took three consecutive fours of Suranga Lakmal but, in trying to continue his free-scoring, top-edged Mendis to deep square-leg. When Eoin Morgan fell cheaply England were 85 for 4 and the innings never gained the required momentum despite Cook's 119.

"I feel 100% that I'm on the brink of a big score," he said. "I've felt better and better. [At Lord's], I felt fantastic. But the way that I play, looking to score and be aggressive and take the attack to the opposition, you are going to have good days and bad days.

"At the moment, the luck of the draw hasn't particularly helped me. I've just got to keep playing the way I play and, if the way I'm playing at the moment is anything to go by, I'm very happy."

Pietersen, who has just two ODI half-centuries since November 2008, knows that falling three times to the same bowler - who isn't a specialist - generates plenty of discussion hot on the heels of the debate about his record against left-arm spinners. However, he isn't worried about a pattern developing and just puts it down to the period of the game he has been batting in.

"You have to look for boundary options," he said. "In the first game I was trying to hit every ball and could have got out to anybody the way I was playing. At Headingley, I was looking to take charge and hit some boundaries and I was excellently caught by Malinga. At Lord's I was looking to hit the ball along the ground and top-edged it. I can't say that he is mysteriously spinning me out. But I am getting out.

"As I said to the press a couple of weeks ago, you load the gun, fill it with ammunition and you get shot. And it is a question you are asking because I've got out to him three times. But I promise you I don't lose any sleep over getting out to him."

One suggestion behind Pietersen's dismissals is that he is feeling it is on his shoulders to find the boundaries regularly because the top order is not generating the required tempo. Having Cook and Jonathan Trott in the top three means England find themselves in situations where two similar-style anchors are batting together in the Powerplay.

"It is what it is," Pietersen said. "We are a side who knows we have six world-class batsmen. There is a lot of discussion about it - not particularly in our rooms - but there is a lot of discussion about it. I just think we must back the players we have to get the best out of their ability and, if all of us get the best out of our ability, we are going to score a lot of runs."

And Pietersen won't be making any suggestions to Cook that the batting order should change for the remainder of the series despite his brief experience of the captaincy three years ago.

"At the moment, I have kept well out of it. It has nothing to do with me," he said. "Cook is a new skipper and the last thing you want to be doing is putting yourself out there saying, 'This is what we need to do.'

"Cooky is in charge, he played beautifully for his 100. It's key and vital that whatever decisions he makes, we back instead of questioning them. That's not good for his confidence."

Cook has also received the support of his Test captain, Andrew Strauss, who is keeping tabs on the one-day series from the sidelines before returning to the job for the Tests against India. Strauss wants the one-day side to be given more time to evolve before judgements are made, but has said he's always happy to offer advice.

"It's important to realise that at the end of the World Cup was the end of the cycle," Strauss said while sitting on a panel at the MCC Spirit of Cricket Lecture. "Post World Cup was the start of a new cycle and therefore it was wrong to expect the England team to suddenly be the best in the world.

"There's a lot of hard work necessary. Alastair Cook and Andy Flower have a fairly blank canvas from which to move forward. It's going to take time and hard work. We'll have good days and bad days, but over time we'll get better. I'm very confident that will happen. I'll help out any way I can."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • paul on July 6, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    @KosalaDeSilva You obviously don't know what your talking about and you're showing poor form tbh, Trent Bridge is always like this, best bowling pitch in the country, so need to cry about it. Just like if England fans, were crying about the conditions in your country, just showing what a poor sport you are really. The fact is, these are English conditions, especially when there has been plenty of rain around the country, just the same as in the sub continent, when it's as dry as the Sahara, These are the home teams natural conditions, especially in the North of the Country where this ODi is taking place and the next one in Manchester.

  • kosala on July 6, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    I was wondering what these english commentators have to say about making one side all green pitch for a one day match.Of course england have to win the match..But like this? .is it not a shame? then they ranting about their bowlers can't perform in flat tracks...no wonder as they pampering like this here. Learn from Chaminda Vass, Zaheer , they bowled in flat tracks and took wickets...

  • Nikunj on July 6, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    Its an age old problem with England's mindset for ODI cricket. They just dont take it seriously. It shows in thier decision making. Appointing Cook as thier ODI captain when he was not even the ODI team till recently. Playing Trott, Cook and Bell in the same side is just farcical. They are just not good enough for ODI players. Better ODI players like Bopara, Owais Shah are not selected.Pietersen will always struggle in the ODIs because all the pressure for quicker scoring will always be on him.

  • Dru on July 6, 2011, 5:54 GMT

    KP is being himself with his words which is fine as along as they win the series. I agree he is batting well and looks to be in top form and surely will get a big one in anytime. Put it this way he will not get a better chance than SL attack in Eng to make some big runs. I dont think the leg-spinner has been doing anything mysterious to KP - he was playing attacking shots on all 3 occassions so its not like he is not picking the googly or something. Its all set for KP, series in the balance and he is in top form - if he doesnt deliver now questions will remain.

  • Giles on July 5, 2011, 23:46 GMT

    How Ian Bell gets to be called a 'World Class Batsmen (in one day terms) is beyond me. KP is 43rd in the rankings !!!!

  • Anil on July 5, 2011, 23:24 GMT


  • Thilina on July 5, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    "I can't say that he is mysteriously spinning me out. But I am getting out. " Lol

  • Praveen on July 5, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    i do not agree with that....the best player in the ream need to score big instead of playing attacking cricket & get out in 40s which cost England to post big score...

  • JR on July 5, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    Six World class batsmen in ENG ODI team! What a load of rubbish! KP is ENG's star batsman and he is currently 43rd in ODI player rankings! True Trott is in the top 10 ranking but his dreadful scoring tempo puts pressure on the other batsmen and hands the initiative to the opposition. Never mind the lofty ambition of reaching no 1 in world ODI ranking the way ENG is playing at the moment I am not sure if it will be able to maintain the 5th position.

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2011, 14:52 GMT

    It is difficult to say that there are six world class batsmen. They are good against ordinary sides. When good teams come, they will struggle. There are one or two good batsman and others are average. It should be good mix of hitters and anchors. Current team as Mr Jayawardhane says is still playing like a side fifteen years back ODI has evolved considerably and teamshave moved. It is time for Engalnd to realise that. Best of luck to them

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