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Kevin Pietersen joins in fighting talk before Ashes

Richard Hobson, Deputy Cricket Correspondent Times Online 06.07.2009 23:44
Kevin Pietersen joins in fighting talk before Ashes - Kevin Pietersen


Kevin Pietersen sounded as though he was about to enter a boxing ring rather than a cricket field yesterday, lacing his pre-Ashes talk with references to strength, aggression and punches before capping it all with the vow of a true heavyweight.



“We are going to come out fighting,” he said. “We are not scared.”

Those words came immediately after a glowing tribute to the Australia way of playing and, listening to Pietersen, it was easy to think that the start of the series in Cardiff tomorrow may be another X-rated affair, matching the exchanges between Stephen Harmison on one side and Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting on the other at Lord’s four years ago.

In playing down the significance of the Ashes, Pietersen was possibly trying to convince himself rather than the media, assembled in a makeshift interview room at Glamorgan’s indoor cricket school. At times he struggled to make himself heard above the sound of Australia players hitting balls in the nets behind him.

Michael Clarke, the Australia vice-captain, said that his own side finally established a fresh identity over the winter, drawing a line under the retirement of more than half the side that began the 2006-07 series. No one can pretend that Australia are as strong, but Pietersen believes that their attitude will be unchanged.

“The Australian way is to come out and be fiercely competitive, dominant in what they do, forceful in their approach and throw a lot of punches early in a Test match,” Pietersen said. “It does not matter who they put out. When those guys put on their baggy green cap which is so historic to them, they are a fierce, fierce side.”

Pietersen argued against the view of Shane Warne that England cannot win the series without himself. “If they get me out cheaply, if I have a bad series, we can still do it,” he said. “There is written stuff and verbal stuff from the outside making the weight of expectation on myself greater than it actually is. We have all scored runs.”


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