English team head coach Andy Flower said on yesterday that he was ‘thinking optimistically’ about Kevin Pietersen’s chances of returning to fitness in time for the Ashes. A knee problem has kept Pietersen out of action since March, forcing him to miss the present series at home to New Zealand, IPL and next month’s Champions Trophy. He wants to be available for the Ashes, and posted photos of himself batting on Twitter earlier this week.
“We are thinking optimistically about Kevin’s injury improving and it’s nice that he’s pain free. That is great news for him and for us,” said Andy Flower. Kevin’s a really special player and we want him back as soon as he’s fit enough to be back. That [seeing him bat] is good news for us and hopefully his improvement graph will carry on in the same way.”
Pietersen’s absence means Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow to stake their claims for long-term engagement in the England set-up. On the other hand, England skipper Alastair Cook said it would be a ‘risk’ promoting Root to open along with him in the Ashes.