Monday, October 4, 2010

Pietersen aims to recapture form

Kevin Pietersen is given out against Australia
Pietersen has struggled for form in recent months

Kevin Pietersen says he will have to "work harder than ever before" to recapture his form ahead of England's tour of Australia for the Ashes.

Pietersen, who has not scored a Test century since March 2009, is in South Africa to play two first-class matches for Durban's Kwazulu Natal Dolphins.

"I'm here to try and put things right, to spend time in the middle," he said.

"I'll work a lot harder than I have worked before so that I am in the best nick possible come the Ashes tour."

Pietersen, who began his career with Natal, joined Surrey on loan from Hampshire in September in a bid to regain his form ahead of the winter tour.

He had mixed success for the county, scoring a century in a 40-over game against Sussex but following it up with a second-ball duck against Glamorgan.

The 30-year-old, who was dropped for the one-day series against Pakistan this year after he averaged only 23.33 in one-day games with a highest score of 80 in the Tests, added: "It was certainly the toughest conditions I have played in during the six summers I have spent playing Test cricket in England."

"There weren't too many batters who averaged 20 or 30 at the top of the order from either side.

"It's a known fact that I haven't got as many runs as I could have possibly got in the last couple of months and [in South Africa] there is a chance for me to play on some good wickets and against the Kookaburra ball [the ball used in Australia].

England's first fixture down under is a tour match against Western Australia on 5 November with the first Test starting on 25 November in Brisbane.

And the batsman admitted that on home soil, Australia are strong favourites to reclaim the urn.

"We are definitely underdogs, because Australia in Australia is an incredible cricket team.

"They beat us 5-0 last time we were there, but we are quietly confident that we can put on a really good show."

Pietersen said the England team had matured since regaining the Ashes last year and believes the squad has the confidence to withstand the pressures of an Ashes tour down under.

"I think we have got a really good squad and it is a squad that has matured a lot. It has become a really tight unit, all the guys get on well and when the going gets tough, as I know it does when you tour Australia, we have a unit that will stand together and pull through," he said.

"We have just had a camp in Germany and the team spirit and bonding was amazing on what was quite a tough trip both mentally and physically."

Potenshöjande medel -

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