The Ashes 2009

Flower defends under-fire Pietersen

Andrew Miller at Lord's

July 14, 2009

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Kevin Pietersen and Geoffrey Boycott have a laugh during the post-match presentation, England v West Indies, 4th Test, Riverside, 5th Day, June 19, 2007
Kevin Pietersen's "stupid" mistakes need to be eradicated, feels Geoff Boycott © Getty Images
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Andy Flower, the England coach, has defended Kevin Pietersen for his shot selection in Cardiff, and insisted the batsman would review his own performance and learn from the experience. Flower's defence came after Geoff Boycott had accused Pietersen of acting like a "spoilt child" for giving away his innings with an over-ambitious paddle-sweep when well set on 69 in the first innings.

"Pietersen is like a spoilt child, the family favourite who can get away with anything because he is the golden boy," Boycott wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "Until someone takes the trouble to discipline him he will keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over again."

"I don't think you can just isolate him, even though he's the most high-profile guy," Flower said. "He, like any batsman, will review his game and the decisions he made, and he'll regret that he got out. He's playing for England, he's very proud to play for England, and he's trying to do his best and win games for us.

"He'll review that like any other sensible man would. The bottom line is you've got to make good decisions as batters. At the end of your career, season, or series, the sum of your results will be from the decisions you make. But Kevin must have made some good decisions, because he made 69 in the first dig."

Boycott, however, was not confident that Flower and England's captain Andrew Strauss were capable of reprimanding Pietersen. "My concern is that there is no one in the England set up who will go up to Pietersen and tell him that this is not good enough," he said. "Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower are both quiet men and frankly I do not think they have got the courage."

England held on to a draw in the Test after the last-wicket pair of James Anderson and Monty Panesar batted out close to 12 overs to save the game. Boycott questioned England's ability to adapt to different match situations. "The trouble with England's batsmen is that they are one-dimensional. They only want to play with an attacking mentality, and when they are presented with a situation that demands a different approach, they cannot adapt."

Flower, however, believed the fight England showed on the final day of that contest was evidence they had changed their mindsets mid-match. "It was a relief, they outplayed us, but in saying that I thought we did brilliantly to hang on," he said. "To only lose seven wickets on that fifth-day pitch was a great effort. We'll take a bit of confidence from the fight we showed.

"We obviously talk about, and review, games, that's standard practice, and there are all sorts of areas we could improve on," he said. "Certainly, batting-wise, didn't cash in when we had the opportunities, and bowling-wise we weren't accurate enough to put them under pressure. But it was a flat deck and they all batted superbly."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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