NOTTINGHAM: Kevin Pietersen was passed fit to play in the opening Test against Pakistan despite injuring himself treading on a stray football during practice here on Wednesday — just a day before the first of a four-match series is due to get underway at Trent Bridge.
Pietersen’s right foot and ankle were both strapped up afterwards but England captain Andrew Strauss, speaking to reporters, was confident the star batsman would be fit.
England banned players from warming-up by playing football after Owais Shah injured Joe Denly while tackling his fellow batsman at The Oval last year.
“I think we’ve just got to ban footballs being on the ground because they’re still causing problems even though we’re not playing it,” said Strauss.
South Africa born Pietersen has not played any cricket for nearly a month because of a thigh injury and it is over a year since he last made a Test century.
But opening batsman Strauss said: “I’m not concerned particularly about his lack of cricket.
“He is a guy who spends a lot of time in the nets practising and for someone like him, being in the right state of mind mentally is as important as anything.
“He’s in a good state of mind, he has had a good rest, he has the bit between his teeth. I think he wants to come out and prove himself again and I think he’ll have a really good series.”
England’s selectors wanted the 30-year-old Pietersen to play for Hampshire but the county opted against picking him after he announced his intention to leave the south coast club at the end of the season.
“For counties generally it’s always an issue,” said Strauss.
“They have their squad they have built up without the England players being involved and when the England player comes up it is disruptive to those squads in one way or another.
“I implore the counties to realise the importance of a good strong England team. Even though temporarily that might be difficult for their side, in the bigger picture it’s helping both England cricket and indirectly those counties as well.
“So in that sense I was disappointed, though I can understand Hampshire’s reticence given KP’s comments about what he planned to do in the future.”