The Ashes 2010-11 October 14, 2010

Pietersen could be a 'major problem' for England - Buchanan

ESPNcricinfo staff

John Buchanan, the former Australia coach who has accepted a consulting role with the ECB, has said Kevin Pietersen could prove a "major problem" for England during the Ashes in Australia later in the year if he doesn't regain his form. He pointed to Pietersen's recent outburst on Twitter, following his omission from England's Twenty20 squad against Pakistan, and said it did not help the team's unity.

"He (Pietersen} is a quality player and he could be an incredible strength for them but, if he's not scoring runs, he could become a major problem for the batting line-up and the entire team. Andy Flower has been trying to work on that," Buchanan told the Wisden Cricketer.

Pietersen averaged 27.25 in four innings against Pakistan during the summer, and has gone for 26 innings without a century. He represented the Dolphins franchise in South Africa most recently, playing first-class cricket in preparation for the Ashes. That stint was preceded by an outburst on Twitter following his exclusion from England's Twenty20 side, for which he was fined and subsequently apologised.

"Pietersen hasn't done himself or the team any favours with his recent Twittering," Buchanan said. "Two of the things that will be tested in Australia are strength and unity and clearly he hasn't understood his role within the team yet."

Despite his doubts about Pietersen, Buchanan - who is expected to take up his assignment when the Ashes squad lands in Australia next month - said he was optimistic about England's chances in Australia and their potential to be the pre-eminent team in world cricket. "They seem to have a new mental toughness and they are more consistent, except for the odd glitch, which is mainly Pietersen," Buchanan said. "They need to retain this united spirit and sense of purpose. England teams in the past would often be beaten before the Test started. They didn't believe in themselves, even when they were ahead, but they are better at handling that now."

Australia were at the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of India this month, with their batting crumbling in the second innings of each Test. Buchanan believed the Ashes could possibly be decided by the performance of the respective top orders. "The top four, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, will be England's most important players. That is where the series will be decided. Whoever wins the battle of the top fours will win the series."

England were humiliated on their previous tour Down Under, losing all five Tests, and the role of England's bowling coach, David Saker, was a critical factor said Buchanan. "The most critical member could be the bowling coach, David Saker, with his knowledge of Australian conditions, players and balls and his ability to bring them together as a solid unit. The England bowlers are all good players, so they should be able to adapt.

"None of them has any experience of winning in Australia. Playing overseas is very different and they have yet to prove they can do it over a five-Test series in Australia. At some point doubts will start to creep into their heads and it is all about how they deal with them."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Wolver on October 20, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    @ Gaurav Kanaujia - A sporting wicket has something in it for everyone, unlike your indian wickets. Don't know where you come from with batsman/bowler perception, it is either sporting or it is not. KPs test record stands up very well overall to Laxman, is certainly not inferior and ODI record is considerably better. I was stating the facts and not your perception of them. If you are indian I expect you would back Laxman but that does not make him better. I would back Smith. As for the best batting line up, I agree india is very strong and probably the best at the moment but the gap is not as wide as you are making out. SA's line up holds up pretty well and are going to be a real challenge for India. Lets see how India's bating goes in SA. By the way I don't think India's bowling compares too badly with the rest. Don't think anyone has a very strong bowling line up, even SA, if it weren't for Steyn they would be average.

  • Dummy4 on October 19, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    @wolver get a grip , comparing a proven match winner like VVS wid KP is specious at least just yet. We'll see KP in such situations that VVS has proven himself in and then take a call after probably a decade. He is a good batsman no doubt but really it will take a lot more to reach a level of VVS. Against australia there is no comparison at all. Even within Australia, so please spare us your reading of sporting wickets.What's sporting for batsmans might not be sporting for bowlers, same goes for what seamers, pacers & spinners think of a wicket. It's really quite subjective.One needs to play in all conditions home and awy to be truly great.. Accept it both SA n Australia's batting is nowhere to the level of India. their bowling is only what brings in balance to the sides.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Buchanan is a know nothing fool always has been always will be.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    On his day KP is a world class player. However his technique is unothadox with his penchant for hitting legside (or across the line). Like Graeme Smith he is a powerful batsmen - when he gets in and WHEN he is in form. Really classy players have TECHNIQUE to fall back on when they are out of nick and this often gets then back into form. As an England fan I really hope KP can work this out and get back his magic..... but if he can't he needs to be left out of the side for everybody's sake. (Everybody supporting England that is!) Remember John Crawley and the great things expected of him? He was worked out by oppostions and his across the line/leg side hitting soon cost him his International career. Come on KP - play straighter - AKA more othadox and then expand your game when your form and confidence return... PLEASE! Come on England!

  • Wolver on October 18, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Pieterson is the best english batsman and one of the best in the world (He is from SA after all). Rahul Shanbhogue - Pieterson is far better than Laxman, look at the records. Not on current form though but that can change in one innings. He is also a player for the big occasion, like the ashes. Don't judge him by FC games and games against weak Pak team. Performs best against Aus and Sa, the two best teams on sporting wickets.

  • Tushar on October 18, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    I must respect Buchannan. My cat knows more about cricket than him and yet he manages to convince incredulous management teams with his load of baloney. I got to learn a thing or two from this guy about self marketing and I would gladly offer some cricket insights in return. Kevin Pietersen is easily England's most talented cricketer and if he should retire with less than 10000 runs and 30 centuries, he would have done no justice to his talent. Form is temporary and as soon as he finds it, all this drivel will be put behind us. If anyone has earned the right to be given a little leeway, KP has. I am really hopeful that KP stars in this Ashes. There is no better english batsman to watch than KP in full flight.

  • Antony on October 17, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    To all the people who STILL think England's fortunes revolve around KP, please look at the statistics. KP has hardly scored a run in test cricket for the last two years. It was the same with Flintoff - we won more games when he was injured than when he was playing. Yes, these are big characters who are excellent cricketers, but the England team is full of talent and has consistently shown that it doesn't rely on the contributions of KP or anyone else. I hope he starts performing because he can be devastating but I fear he's mentally gone after a few years of being treated badly by the ECB. If he doesn't perform soon I'm happy to see him dropped for a while.

  • Dummy4 on October 17, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    With Strauss, Cook, Trott and Morgan England look a very good side but with addition of KP. It would be the best batting line up. So why not to keep KP?

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    Well i don't think without KP england can win.

  • paul on October 16, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    You got to love some of these so called England fans, that seem to love nothing more than KP struggling.The fact he is Englands only world class batsman must have obviously been missed by them and they get their all bent out of shape because he's got a ego, so what, most of the top athletes around the world have egos . The fact is he was Englands cricket team until he got injured before the ashes last year, when England won KP played well,when England lost KP played well. The fact is a fit and and form KP playing well is a must if England are going to retain the Ashes. These 3 practice matches are the thing that counts for KP and the rest of the England team ,if they can hit the ground running and look in good form all the better. All KP's troubles will be forgotten by him and everyone else soon as he hits a big score in Australia.

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