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Early Promise of Kevin Pieterson - Amit Masram Column
by Amit Masram
Aug 27, 2008
"All that starts well ends well" is a maxim that proves wrong if you are the captain of the England team. But, Kevin Pietersen looks a different man altogether with added responsibility on his shoulders and so far the signs has been promising.

Since becoming England captain, Kevin Pietersen has not only scored runs but what is noticeable is the manner in which he scored those, taking his whole game to a new level. Even if the captaincy is in its nascent stage it looks like delivering the promise it showed .He has tasted success in his ODI and test debut as skipper.

Though still early days, its good to see a captain inspiring trust and confidence in Flintoff and Harmirson, as they remain crucial if England have to upstage the Australian Ashes pursuit. He has been able to bring the best out of Flintoff and Harmirson with bat and ball. An astute skipper often has an uncanny ability to sneak into player's mind and speak in their own language. Pietersen has been clever in doing that and hailed them in public as "absolute superstars".

Pietersen is also successful in persuading the Durham pace man Harmirson to come out his retirement from the limited overs version. The bowling attack looks settled with Harmirson back in the fray and can partner successfully with James Anderson An England team with a pace attack of Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson and Stuart Broad looks good on paper with the tweaker Monty Panesar.

Meanwhile,England have struggled to come to terms with the ODI format,since quite some time now .Unlike Australia and India, England have been deprived of the formidable batsman at the top who can consistently score runs and give them good starts.The Achille's heel is the top order and the set up in England has failed to provide with three top order batsmen who can materialize on the power plays and keep the momentum of scoring runs at a healthy pace instead of playing conventional cricket.

If England are to challenge the Australians next year,as Kevin Pietersen suggested they could,one sense that they will have to bat much better. The series averages have a different tale though. Pietersen himself topped from either side, with 421 at 60 an innings. Paul Collingwood, in not the best of the form until only last week, signed off with an average of 58, while three other players -Stuart Broad,Ian Bell and Alastair Cook-averaged around 50.

More significantly,the key positions of No.1 and No.3 - that is, Andrew Strauss at No.1 and a combination of Michael Vaughan and Bell at No.3-realized only 248 runs between them in 14 knocks. Less than 18 runs an innings. Not good enough!

The return of Steve Harmirson here was a reason to smile, easing the burden off Flintoff as the potent weapon.With James Anderson- England's leading wicket-taker this summer-now impressively consistent, the seam attack has gained its sting. Pietersen will have to get his batsman firing if he has to give his bowlers enough cushion.

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