England in South Africa 2009-10 December 8, 2009

Pietersen welcomes Gooch advice

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen is thrilled to have Graham Gooch's help as he fights to regain form ahead of the opening Test against South Africa on December 16. Gooch is due to be with the squad until the end of the first Test at Centurion but is unsure whether he will continue beyond then.

If he does, he will have Pietersen's full support, something previous England coaches have not always enjoyed. When Pietersen was captain, he was famously critical of Peter Moores, the head coach at the time, and they both ended up losing their job when Pietersen declared to the ECB that he could not take the team forward with Moores at the helm.

Yet Gooch's experience and dedicated approach is something Pietersen feels can benefit the whole squad. "The legend that the man is, it will do wonders for the group of batters we have. I had a chat with him, and he talked a heck of a lot of sense," he said.

"I really, really enjoyed what he said - so I look forward to working with Goochie in a big, big way over the next few weeks."

"The way he thinks is pretty similar to the way Andy Flower thinks, and the way I think - how simple batting is, but the hard work you have to put in and the mental side and the concentration. It all makes sense. You've got to back your own ability. In international sport, that is fundamental to success."

Pietersen was less welcoming, however, of the advice offered in Ian Botham's newspaper column about England's fitness and training regimes. Following injuries to pacemen James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graham Onions during the tour, Botham was critical of England's warm-ups, declaring that bowlers were "squat-jumping like kangaroos" in training and therefore making themselves more susceptible to injury.

Yet Pietersen argues that injuries have happened throughout the game's history and England's regime is suited to the demands of modern cricket, particularly the need for all members of the side to be good fielders. "In this day and age, with the amount we play, we have to put in the hard yards. We have to train hard, and our bodies have to be in tune. Injuries are going to come along - in the 1980s, 1990s and now.

"New methods of training have definitely come a long way and got better.I think it's helped a lot of the players. I think our fitness levels are fantastic. Just look at the agility of the one-day team, everybody's fielding - the way our fast bowler can field at midwicket or extra-cover," he said.

"I don't see it as a problem at all. I think it's great for discipline. Running up sand dunes, like we did the other day, is a bit different - and for team spirit it is fantastic."

Comments