England captain Alastair Cook is delighted to have enigmatic batsman Kevin Pietersen back in the ranks for the upcoming tour of India.
Pietersen has not featured for England since the second Test against South Africa in the summer. He found himself in hot water after sending “provocative texts” to opposition players during the drawn Headingley Test.
The 32-year-old was subsequently dropped for the final Test and then left out of the party which travelled to Sri Lanka to defend England’s World Twenty20 title. He was also originally left out of the squad for the Test series in India.
However, after a public apology and a series of meetings with the England Cricket Board and Cook, Pietersen was handed a recall and is in line to face India in the first Test in Ahmedabad on November 15 (check out the latest odds from around the continent, with the latest Norwegian sports betting odds to be found here.)
“I think it’s been a difficult two months for us as an England side, but as captain the best possible outcome is that we have a world-class player back in the team,” Cook told Sky Sports News.
“We want him to score match-winning runs like he did in Colombo and like he did at Headingley. He’s desperate to pull on that shirt again and do what he does best.”
Cook’s team arrived in Dubaifor a training camp on Thursday, before moving on to India next week ahead of the four-match series.
England go into the tour in poor form and in a period of transition following the retirement of former skipper Andrew Strauss.
Cook has assumed Strauss’ position as leader of the team, but England must still find another opening partner for the new captain.
Nick Compton and Joe Root, the two uncapped players in the squad, are in contention, while regular number three Jonathan Trott is another option.
Whoever takes the field for England in the opening Test will be subjected to a spin examination. England have a reputation as poor players of spin bowling, a fact which will not be lost on the hosts.
“There is a lot of work to be done and we know how important it is to be able to combat spin,” Cook added.
“It is nearly 30 years since we won in India but we know what we have to do as a side from our experience over the last six or seven months.”
England take on India A on October 30 in the first of three warm-up matches.