KP backs tourists to retain Ashes


Published: Monday 6th July 2015 by The News Editor

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England’s lack of a strike bowler could hinder their hopes of Ashes glory, according to former batsman Kevin Pietersen, who believes the only hope of emerging on top this summer is to take the attack to Australia.

The controversial 35-year-old has backed the tourists to retain the urn in the coming weeks, pointing to Australia’s bowling attack as the ace up their sleeve.

Mitchell Johnson will be their spearhead, having taken 37 wickets the last time the teams met Down Under 18 months ago, and fellow left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood arrived on these shores with enhanced reputations.

While James Anderson is ranked second in the International Cricket Council Test bowling rankings, Pietersen does not think England have much in the way of back-up.

Pietersen wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph: “Sadly I think Australia will win 2-1. I want England to win but I just can’t see it happening. I hope I am wrong.

“The difference between the two teams this series is we do not have that strike bowler who can lead the attack and take wickets while James Anderson is resting between spells.

“Two years ago we had Graeme Swann but I’m concerned as to who will be our match-winner if Anderson does not turn up. It is essential Stuart Broad and Mark Wood are firing and taking wickets.

“England’s route to victory then lies with Alastair Cook and Joe Root scoring lots of runs, and the bowling attack working in partnerships to make up for that lack of a strike bowler.”

Pietersen, who was sacked by England following the humiliating Ashes whitewash in 2013-14, has therefore urged England to show a fearless attitude in the heat of battle.

“You have to make a play,” added Pietersen.

“England have to come out and attack Australia. There is no way in the world they are going to win the series by being defensive.”

The issue of sledging has never been far from the surface in the build-up, with James Anderson insisting on Monday that he would refrain from chirping away at Australian batsmen.

But Pietersen, speaking less than two days before the start of the first Test in Cardiff, added: “Australians are intimidating people when they get on top of you. So England guys have to fight them on their own terms. Do not take a backward step.

“The Ashes is sporting war and sledging is good for the game. I want more of it and I want there to be fire in the series.

“I do not want to see people laughing and joking with each other. It is Ashes cricket. You do not test people mentally by smiling at the opposition on the field. Do not cross the line or be personal. But stand up and take them on.”

Published: Monday 6th July 2015 by The News Editor

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