India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai March 15, 2006

'I don't think I am going to change much' - Pietersen



'I think if spin bowlers bowl to me and I let them bowl to a plan they are going to get me out' © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen said he was satisfied with his contribution in the series and that there was no need to change his aggressive style of batting.

"I think I've played pretty responsibly. I have a whole lot of responsibility batting at No.4. That's one slot higher than where I normally bat," he said at a press conference in Mumbai today, ahead of the third and final Test starting on Saturday. England are already 1-0 down in the series. "I honestly think I have to take that on board. I missed out on the first innings at Nagpur. Probably a silly shot, but that's how I play, so that probably is going to happen sometimes.

"And then, in contrast, playing for the team I got out on 87. If I had been selfish I could probably have gone on to get a bigger score. I was disappointed in the first innings at Mohali. I think I was looking to play myself in for a 100. I was really disappointed and unfortunately I got out the way I got out the other day [in the second innings]."

Pietersen maintained that it was important to settle down first. "That's why I think I got so cross with myself the other day," he said in reference to his heated reaction to being incorrectly given out. "And I reacted a bit naughtily when I got out. It is those situations where I have probably come good in the past and it was probably a good hour or two's batting I had to do in the afternoon to sort that out. Especially against India's spin bowling. I think that's why I was more upset than usual." Pietersen was subsequently fined 30 percent of his match fees for showing dissent.

He defended his aggression against the slow bowlers, claiming it his way of dictating the situation and alleviating the pressure. "I think if spin bowlers bowl to me and I let them bowl to a plan they are going to get me out," he said. "I let Shane [Warne] bowl to me a coupe of times in the summer, and played some rather peculiar shots which I look back on and think 'why where you doing that?' The second time around I took him on and got a couple of runs. I have been pretty confident in building an innings and being patient."

Pietersen summed his up his batting method with one word: dominance. He said that it was the best way he found to put the pressure back on the opposition. "I think the positive way I go about things is a way to get them to bowl a few more bad deliveries. I try and keep things simple. Instinct plays a big role in the way I play. I don't think I am going to change much. I do know that in some key moments I have to play with a lot more caution. But then again when England have been in trouble over the last two years I have done well in those situations."

He added, however, that patience had its virtues. "I think you can always be positive in defense too and for my batting to be positive in defensive I try and get a big stride forward and if I block the ball I get a real good stride forward," he said. "That's what I did against [Anil] Kumble. I think it's positive in defense which probably looks a bit more positive and I feel comfortable that way."

Asked as to which of the three legspinners he had faced in the past season - Warne, Kumble or Danish Kaneria - was the most difficult, Pietersen's answer was straightforward. "Shane's a genius," he said. "The thing with Shane is that you cannot lapse in concentration. You have got to be on the ball all the time. And also with Shane, well, in fact back in all my innings [prior to the subcontinent] I didn't use my feet as much with Kumble or Kaneria. I think I really respect Shane. He's in a different league."

Pietersen, however, singled out Kumble for India's win at Mohali. "Kumble's been fantastic," he said. "The difference, in fact, was not Munaf [Patel] but Kumble. He created all the pressure."

Pietersen was not sure if a series loss in India, coupled with the loss in Pakistan, would take the shine off England's success over the last two years. "Well, honestly, I wouldn't know how to address that. I mean, we've had key players absent this time," he said. "Our captain was missed in Pakistan as well as here. The boys did well against Australia and I don't think that can ever been taken away from us.

"Unfortunately, we have been hit by injuries, which happens in any sport, but this team has done well before and we have proven ourselves. I don't think it will have any big impact on the players and the team. We're a confident team, and we're a challenging team, and we know we can beat the best in the world."

Jamie Alter is editorial assistant of Cricinfo