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Flintoff backs Pietersen to perform in India

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 20, 2012

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Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff shared in a crucial stand, West Indies v England, 1st Test, Kingston, February 4, 2009
Andrew Flintoff believes adversity brings the best out of the batsman in Kevin Pietersen © PA Photos
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Former England captain Andrew Flintoff has predicted a successful reintegration into the team for Kevin Pietersen, saying the batsman will draw strength from recent adversity when England tour India in November. Flintoff said Pietersen had a track record of responding to strife with good performances, and expected him to turn the misgivings from his exile from the team into runs for England.

"When people get on Kevin's case he comes out swinging and scores runs," Flintoff told BBC Sport. "I think Alastair Cook might benefit from this. He might get KP at his best."

Pietersen was added to the squad to India, having missed the final Test and limited-overs leg of South Africa's tour of England, as well as the World Twenty20, because of text messages he had sent to South Africa players criticising Andrew Strauss, who was captain at the time. Pietersen has since been accepted back into the team, after he, the ECB and England's team leadership discussed their concerns behind closed doors.

Pietersen first showed a tendency to be steeled rather than weakened by adversity in an ODI series in South Africa in 2005, when he made three hundreds and a 75 despite crowds in his former nation treating him with hostility. In August this year, he made 149 against South Africa at Headingley, just as his deteriorating relationship with the England team began to play out in the media.

"When Kevin's got a point to prove, he usually proves it with the bat," Flintoff said. "We saw that when he came into the international game in South Africa and he just kept scoring hundreds. In his last innings, he got a hundred at Headingley and saved England."

Flintoff also said Pietersen was invaluable to England's cause, and that efforts needed to be made to smooth over differences given his considerable ability. In April this year, Pietersen made 151 in Colombo to help end a five-Test away losing streak for England.

"I think his qualities as a player outweigh everything. Like everyone else he needs a bit of encouragement," Flintoff said. "When you are as good as he is, you need an arm round the shoulder and you need the backing of the team. He is different, but if you want Kevin the player, you have Kevin [the person as well]. If he starts scoring runs and England win, it will quickly be forgotten."

Flintoff expected Pietersen's reintegration into the team to be more difficult for some of his team-mates. Graeme Swann and James Anderson were thought to have had issues with Pietersen, with Swann having criticised Pietersen's captaincy in a book released last year. Swann, Anderson and Stuart Broad all denied being party to a parody Twitter account making fun of Pietersen.

"I think Kev will be fine," Flintoff said. "It might be a bit more uncomfortable for some of the others who have not been too kind in books, in paper reports and in interviews. Everyone's got an ego. Maybe there are a few clashing in that dressing-room at the minute and they just need to put them to one side and carry on."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by cricketfannik on (October 22, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

KP is back and will score some runs in india for sure. may be 80 in first test inngs plus 20 in 2nd . then 2, 7 then 100,60 Sachin iam hoping will score 18,65 2nd 122,39*. 102,25* Sehwag 40, 2 2nd 0,0 3rd 65, 44

Posted by   on (October 22, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

This m8 be the last test series played by tendulkar. i wish all the best for this series may God help him acheive his last wish-- scoring triple hundred

Posted by GRAMMY_SACHIN on (October 22, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

KP is back that's a god news for world cricket as well as ENG. With KP in the Indian Think Tank will lose sleep over him, and others like cook, trott & Bell will benefit from this. Still KP will score 300 plus runs in this series. Their bowling is weak in IND conditions and i expect Shewag to explode in atleast one Test, One hundred from the GOD, consistent performance from Pujara and Virat Kohli. Will be an even contest. IND has to produce their A game to draw or even win the series by a slender 1 test margin. It will be a tough series with none of the 2 teams dominating. May be ENG's lack of experience in Sub Continental conditions (except KP & COOK) may be well decide the series in IND's favour. I expect the scoreline to be 2-1 in India's favour

Posted by JG2704 on (October 21, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

There are 2 ways of looking at whether Flintoff is qualified to give his opinions. As someone mentioned , we lost an Ashes series 5-0 under his leadership but we also drew a test series in India under his leadership and I seem to remember him scoring a battling , against the grain 50 in that game too. He mentions how KP always plays his best when his back's against the wall etc , but isn't this the opposite , with fans clamouring for his return and in India where he is adored? As for Flintoff himself he seems to have gone down in the world from doing Morrisons ads to Jackamo ads. Latest is he was trying to becoming a boxer. Quite funny as he was always injured in the far less rigorous sport of cricket

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (October 21, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

KP's return to the side is gonna make it difficult for India to dominate. A fired up KP is not someone any team can handle. And with a few points to prove for him KP is gonna come all guns blazing. As much as I want India to dominate this series, if India doesnt dominate or even manage to concede the series, I would be happy if KP delivers his "alpha male" performances with big hundreds.

Posted by samramsay on (October 21, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

KP is not the cricketer England team and management deserves, but the one they need right now.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (October 21, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

So more and more TEASING/Misconduct of KP results in more and more RUNS from his bat........hmmm...........height of optimism

Posted by Phaedrus on (October 21, 2012, 1:55 GMT)

I predict KP will score atleast 2 BIG centuries! And the test series will not be as easy for Indians as they think

Posted by samincolumbia on (October 20, 2012, 20:32 GMT)

KP has a point to prove alright and that is he is much much better than all of the english batsmen combined!

Posted by yorkshirematt on (October 20, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

One overrated player talking about another

Posted by NaniIndCri on (October 20, 2012, 19:25 GMT)

@RandyOZ: hahaha, That was exactly my thought.

Posted by Summer_Sport on (October 20, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

The important thing is that the Ind-Eng series will be interesting now lets just hope for great contests.

Posted by brusselslion on (October 20, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: You couldn't be more wrong. Flintoff is exactly the person Pieterson should try to emulate. As Flintoff's cricinfo profile says: " .. what the stats don't show is his presence, and the uplifting effect that Flintoff at his finest had on his team-mates, and crowds." Pieterson may excite crowds but he certainly doesn't have the same effect on his team mates. With regards to the upcoming series, I too expect England to lose, but I think that it will be similar to the Pakistan series in the UAE last year i.e. low scoring as the Indian batting is certainly no great shakes.

Posted by RandyOZ on (October 20, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

well they will need him to fire, there is nothing else left in the cupboard.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (October 20, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

KP is a Champ. Can't be more pleased that he is touring our country. Welcome to India KP. God bless you and hope you score lot of runs but hope India wins.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 20, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

Flintoff should simply keep his mouth closed. He's the last person KP needs to look to; though a good all rounder, still a negative player who lead England to a 5-0 whitewash in Australia. KP doesn't need these guys ! KP is a superstar and a CLASS act. He doesn't need ANYONE in the England team to motivate him or inspire him; KP IS the inspiration personified. I too back KP to fire in India BUT the rest of England to FAIL miserably. ONLY KP knows how to play in India. But I like how Cook thinks, he knows how valuable KP's presence would be to the team in such a tough situation. The best England can do is draw the series with KP shining individually. As an Indian supporter, I want KP to score loads of runs and India winning !!! :)

Posted by   on (October 20, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

Great Players perform respond wit great performances wen thy r in tough times.....hope KP comes out wit greats in the upcoming series.....

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (October 20, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

I am sure you are right, Freddie. In any case anyone other than him at 4 would have been farcical. After 7 years of KP we finally know what no.4 should look like!!

Posted by   on (October 20, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

He's always been a match winner for ENG.when he criticized by other he always proved himself and that's why he's a good player.He played great innings for ENG in the past that's why I also backs him...............

Posted by GasPipe on (October 20, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

I agree, KP will want to prove a point. And if it's anything like his innings at Headingly, then I definitely want to see it! Good to see you back at international level KP, I truly hope you can achieve the 30 test centuries and 50+ average you are aiming for.

Posted by   on (October 20, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

India have to watch out for KP and Finn. Two game changers. If those two fire, it will be a hard fought test series.

Posted by nilesh91 on (October 20, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

as every one is saying our spin department is not as good as Pak in uae - TRUE, but again if Rangana Herath can take 5 for again Eng So can Aswin and Ozha. You already saw what SIR Ravindra Jadeja did to them last time they toured for ODI.

Posted by bumsonseats on (October 20, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

andrew i think you maybe need to get a life if you dislike a player because of a dance i think something in your life is missing.

Posted by nilesh91 on (October 20, 2012, 11:06 GMT)

one more thing to be noted here, SRT also have point to prove in this series and I think he will neutralize or exceeds the KP's performance. If Yuvi get selected there will two left arm spinners in IND squad, even though KP denies his deficiencies against them but all knows its always playing in his mind.

Posted by nilesh91 on (October 20, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

Me too backs Pietersen for one or two good innings in series but that doesn't guarantee any success to English team, check out Dravid's performance in England and you can see what i am trying to say.

Posted by   on (October 20, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

KP is a good player... but I don't like him, because of what he said of Gayle and his dance. Hope he does well in India. And stop envying Gayle, KP... Find a dance of your own!

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