Pakistan v England, 3rd ODI, Dubai

Pietersen faces up to DRS challenge

George Dobell in Dubai

February 17, 2012

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England's players needed sunglasses because of a sandstorm, Dubai, February 17, 2012
Kevin Pietersen batted with sunglasses on during England nets due to a sandstorm in Dubai © AFP
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Kevin Pietersen has admitted he is facing the toughest challenge of his career as he adapts his game to cope with the Decision Review System.

Pietersen, 31, scored just 67 runs in six innings in the Test series and averaged only 11.16 as Pakistan defeated England 3-0. He fell lbw on three occasions. Each time the decision was sent to the third umpire for review and on two of those occasions Pietersen was given out when the ball-tracking technology showed the delivery would just have clipped the stumps. He has also made just three half-centuries in his last 36 ODI innings and, since the start of 2009, averages only 24.88 in 50-over cricket.

Pietersen feels that the introduction of the DRS has made life far harder for batsmen but insists that, despite the statistics, his confidence remains high and he feels in good form.

"In my career so far, this is the toughest I've ever found it," Pietersen said. "Because of the new DRS, there are definitely technical issues you have to look at in order to save yourself. Batters are not getting the benefit of the doubt any more.

"Umpires are giving a lot more lbws. It just has to be clipping and you're out. Two, three, four years ago you were never, ever out. I have had to change my game, but it's not just me. Left-arm spinners now are gold dust.

"It's been tough. But I'm not bothered, because it's not a case of me walking out to the middle and thinking 'where's my next run coming from?'

"Only a cricketer would understand this, but I actually feel in fantastic form. I might turn down a training session because I feel I'm playing fine. It's just when you're playing spin, and spin is bowled to you all day every single day, you just need to make one little mistake. You just need a little bit of luck to go your way, a dropped catch or an lbw decision that is referred. The wheel turns; in life, the wheel turns. I've been through this before. I'm not bothered at all."

Pietersen's insistence that he is out of fortune rather than form might surprise some onlookers. He has seemed to lack balance at the crease and paid the price for a failure to play straight. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that there is an element of denial in his suggestion that he has been a victim of circumstance.

Pietersen also justified his relatively cautious batting in the current ODI series. Pietersen was promoted to the opener's position in the understanding that he would help the side get off to a brisk start but, in two innings, he has faced 82 balls for his 40 runs. That is a strike-rate of 48.78. Pietersen reasons that, in such conditions, it is imperative that England keep wickets in hand and adopt a more measured approach.

"Whenever I've played for England in ODIs, we've always got off to a start like ten for two, 15 for one, 30 for three," Pietersen said. "In the subcontinent, against India, we kept getting bowled out.

"We were always a wicket down in the first three overs and I was always batting in the first 10 overs in that series. When you're two down in the first ten overs, all that happens in the middle when the spinners come on you is that you lose two wickets there, then you're four down, five down. You can easily go to six down or seven down.

"But if you start off with a solid platform, as I've tried to do over the last week or so, if you lose those two wickets in the middle overs, you've still got high-class batters and skilful players - whereas they're not as skilful down the bottom of the order."

England begin Sri Lanka planning

  • On Saturday England hope to confirm that those members of the Test squad not involved in the limited-overs series in the UAE - Ian Bell, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior and Andrew Strauss - will travel to Sri Lanka early to begin their acclimatisation. The ECB have been trying to place the quartet within Sri Lankan domestic teams.
  • Meanwhile, Ajmal Shahzad, the Yorkshire seamer, has arrived in Dubai to provide net bowling for the England squad as he continues his rehabilitation following ankle surgery. He is not part of the squad and will not be considered for selection.

Pietersen said he was relishing the challenge of opening the batting and expressed the hope that it was a permanent move.

"It's brilliant," he said. I'd like it to be permanent; Andy Flower wants it to be permanent; Alastair Cook wants it to be permanent. It's something that we're definitely looking to.

"You look at it and just think 'why can't I do it?' I've batted four in England; I've played in swinging conditions all around the world; I've been successful in Test match cricket against swinging balls. Why can't I do it in the one-day format at the top of the order? It's something that I'm looking forward to. It's a lovely little challenge; a nice one."

Before the World Cup there were suggestions in some quarters that Pietersen was thinking of retiring from ODI cricket. He reiterated that was not the case and stated that the ECB was happy to allow him to appear in the IPL. He did specify, however, that his motivation for playing in the IPL was not gaining experience ahead of the World T20 to be contested in Sri Lanka in September.

"I'm here playing for England," Pietersen said. "I love playing for England. England gives me the opportunities to sign with Delhi. Why would I give anything up? I'm totally committed to England. I'm not looking at the IPL as preparation for the World T20."

A fierce sand storm blew in Dubai throughout Friday, causing the Physical Disability game between Pakistan and England to be abandoned. While there are some concerns that a continuation of such weather could cause problems in Saturday's ODI, the enclosed nature of the stadium in Dubai Sports City should minimise any disruption. England reported no injury concerns, with Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler and Tim Bresnan all now fit and available for selection.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2012, 19:23 GMT)

@Ks Raghu there were too many marginal lbws in that series. that is the reason. Dravid would be not out with 25m rule.UNDERSTAND.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

I still find it puzzling Dhoni and so many Indian fans are against technology. Do they not recall the previous tour to Australia? All those absolute HOWLERS gave the Aussies a tie in that series. Anyway, I think rather get more decisions correct, and get rid of the howlers, DRS works and is working. India will be forced on board at some point .

Posted by golgo_85 on (February 18, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

All these excuses just cause he's still not good playing off his back foot which exposes his lunging forward plans against a turning ball. How about practicing more and a lot less tweeting pointless rubbish?

Posted by abhi026 on (February 18, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

I think there should be some changes in the drs rules.While checking the lbw decisions if the ball is just clipping the stumps means less than 50%of the ball clipping the stumps then the batsman should be given not out.Because of the fact that he has just one mistake to do to get out while bowler has so many chances to take wickets.If drs changes like this then it will be beneficial for both the batsmen and the bowlers.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

KP always used to plonk his leg miles down the track so that if he got hit it was very hard to give him LBW due to benefit of the doubt. Now that DRS gets rid of that he is screwed. He can't play off the back foot properly so he gets in a mess. Personaly I think DRS is a very good system and has created better cricket. Front foot bullies can't dominate like they did and bowlers attack the stumps more.

Posted by cricinme on (February 18, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

Pakistan is gonna win the next three matches. No one can beat Pakistan in UAE. This is a fact well known

Posted by   on (February 18, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

KP is feeling the heat. But unlike the Indians he is not complaining against DRS.

I recall the first ever DRS experiment - the old style one between India and SL. Dravid played well forward and was hit on the pad. Given Not Out. But the ball was seen to hit the middle of the middle stump upon referral and was adjudged out. Dravid was visibly disgusted. In the same innings Sachin was declared out caught in the leg slip. The ball contacted the glove but the contact was concealed from the umpire's view by the batsman's pads. But one of the cameras did spot it. Sachin was equally upset. These two incidents are the root cause of Indian players' dislike for DRS. In neither of the cases they can compain of any injustice.

I also feel that the umpiring has improved after DRS.

Posted by Xolile on (February 18, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

When future generations look back at the batting averages of the Indian batsmen of this period they should remember that those averages are inflated, not only due to the well documented flat track advantage, but also due to the now aparent DRS advantage. We can only speculate how big the advantage is. In my estimation, taking all factors into consideration, the overall advantage in the period since 1 January 2010 could be more than 15%.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

KP is feeling the heat. But unlike the Indians he is not complaining against DRS.

I recall the first ever DRS experiment - the old style one between India and SL. Dravid played well forward and was hit on the pad. Given Not Out. But the ball was seen to hit the middle of the middle stump upon referral and was adjudged out. Dravid was visibly disgusted. In the same innings Sachin was declared out caught in the leg slip. The ball contacted the glove but the contact was concealed from the umpire's view by the batsman's pads. But one of the cameras did spot it. Sachin was equally upset. These two incidents are the root cause of Indian players' dislike for DRS. In neither of the cases they can compain of any injustice.

I also feel that the umpiring has improved after DRS.

Posted by   on (February 18, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

Why dont people understand DRS! DRS has been the sole reason for the resurgence of finger spin over the last 5 years. No longer can batsman prop forward with pad play. They have to use the bat. This in itself causes a problem, if you miss the ball and turn you're either LBW or caught at slip. International teams have caught on that you don't need to have a shane warne to be effective. Just find a spinner who can straighten it a little on most surfaces and you're in the game. Swann has destroyed lefties for this reason and left arm spinners do the same to right handers - straighten a bowl back onto the stumps and it's a time bomb for batsman who like to flick deliveries off middle. KP is just explaining this and not making excuses, he has work to do more than some players for the reasons above. Raina is another with problems dealing with spin under the new umpiring outlook - look at his 2 innings at the Oval last year and how Swann virtually rendered him shotless. Even Indians struggle!

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