Andrew Strauss, the former England captain, said on Friday (May 17) that it was important for the side’s Ashes prospects that star batsman Kevin Pietersen recover full fitness. KP is presently sidelined with a knee difficulty and in his absence England struggled to 232 all out in the first innings of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s.
Strauss retired from all cricket following a 2-0 series beat by South Africa last year after KP was dropped from the team for sending text messages serious of his captain to South African players. But Strauss, who succeeded KP as England captain, always insisted the texts had not hastened his retirement. And, on Friday, in a conference with Sky Sports at Lord’s, the former opening batsman said KP was the best player he’d played with.
The vast popular of the time he’s very easy to manage because he works really hard, he’s very professional in the way he goes about his business,Strauss said. And we all know what he brings. As far as I’m worried he’s the best player I’ve ever played with, in terms of sheer talent, in terms of the ability to take the game away from the resistance – he’s outstanding,added Strauss, set to join five other ex-England captains in the Sky comments box for the Ashes. But you know what you’re getting with someone like KP, obviously.
He has got a big ego, and he likes to be the centre of concentration and that’s always going to rub some people up the wrong way. But that is one of challenges of captaincy – bringing a dissimilar group of people together and making sure they all have a common purpose.
Strauss added: I think we’ve seen in this Test how much he (KP) can change the pace – I think we’re absent him in this game. It’s important for England he’s fit.Three-times an Ashes-winner, Strauss led England to a 3-1 series victory the last time cricket’s oldest rivals met in Australia in 2010-11.
In July, England will begin their bid for a third Ashes achievement in a row – something they last managed back in the 1950s. However, Strauss said an England team now captained by his former opening partner, Alastair Cook, would have their work cut out against Australia’s fast bowlers.
Graeme Swann will be licking his lips at the option of playing these guys on turning wickets. It’s going to be closely contested series – Ashes always are and this one will be no dissimilar.