Former English skipper, Kevin Pietersen had opined that the English team will be facing a tougher challenge against India when they take will be facing each other in the rescheduled fifth Test match of the series. India is currently having a 2-1 lead in the series and will be hoping to win the final game and wrap up the series against England.
Since last year, a lot has changed for both teams as Virat Kohli and Joe Root have resigned from the captaincy and handed over to Rohit Sharma and Ben Stokes respectively. Another major difference is England’s form which will not be easy to tackle for the visitors. Ben Stokes and his men whitewashed New Zealand in a three-match Test series at home and hence, they will be high on confidence.
However, in his column for Betway, former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen wrote: “I certainly expect England to face a tougher test against India, who are packed full of the best players on the planet.”
He further added that Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah will be the crucial cogs for Team India when it comes to the bowling unit that India has.
Describing the same, Kevin Pietersen said, “India’s bowlers might not mind so much that England are going to come out swinging at them. Ravi Jadeja is an excellent spinner when people start getting after him and you can be sure that Jasprit Bumrah will see it as an opportunity, too. England bowled well against New Zealand, but a batting order featuring Rohit Sharma (who will hopefully be available), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and so on is a different kettle of fish.”
The fifth Test was earlier rescheduled after the Indian contingent was hit by Covid-19 during the 2021 trip. The visitors presently lead the series 2-1 and a win or a draw in this match will hand the side their fourth Test series win against England in England.
Kevin Pietersen also shared the satisfaction he felt after witnessing the standard of play England has shown in the recently concluded three-match Test series at home against New Zealand. Under the new leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, Pietersen feels players are feeling the freedom to express themselves.
Even though England was clearly on the back foot in the first Test against the world champions New Zealand on Day 2, Kevin Pietersen stated that he was sure that the new strategy will the Lions.
While England whitewashed the Kiwis in the three-match series, England played a dominating brand of cricket, according to Kevin Pietersen, which is a continuation of their strategy in limited-overs cricket that the previous captain Eoin Morgan entrenched. Without having any second thoughts, England managed to be successful in chasing down the targets of more than 250, including 277 in 78.5 overs, 299 in 50, and 296 in 54.2 overs.
Before the commencement of the New Zealand series, England had only managed to win two Tests in the 17 games they had played in the ongoing World Test Championship cycle. After suffering a humiliating loss in the Ashes followed by a 1-0 loss to West Indies, there were significant changes made to the Test lineup for the three lions, including the firing of head coach Chris Silverwood and the resignation of skipper, Joe Root.
In his column for Betway Isnider, Kevin Pietersen elaborated, “I’ve known Brendon McCullum for 15 years as a player, a fellow commentator and from travelling around with him. I know what kind of person he is and that he was always going to bring that positive approach, the license he has given to these guys to truly go out and do what feels natural has been unbelievable to watch.”
He further explained, “There is no fear of failure. It’s purely backing guys’ talent. And you know what I like? Despite his struggles, Zak Crawley has been selected for the India Test this week. If you’re going to ask players to express themselves, you have to understand that it sometimes won’t work out. If you start dropping them after a bad run, they won’t feel that they can play as naturally again.”