Pietersen plots ideal World Cup route
Kevin Pietersen today stressed England’s desire to prepare for the World Cup with victory in the Commonwealth Bank Series.
The tourists trail 3-1 in the seven-match rubber ahead of tomorrow’s fifth one-day international against Australia at the Gabba.
Having lost the first three games, England kept the series alive in Adelaide on Wednesday and Pietersen revealed what it would mean to take the series to the wire with victories in Brisbane and Sydney.
“It would be amazing, absolutely amazing,” he said. “We were 3-0 down and to fight all the way to the end and turn out in Perth in what could be a final would be incredible.”
Andrew Strauss’ side finally married strong batting and bowling displays at the Adelaide Oval, just in time for them in the context of this series.
“It was nice to win in Adelaide and you always look for momentum but momentum has not meant a lot on this trip so far,” Pietersen added.
“It’s a different ground, it’s going to be different conditions. Whoever adjusts to the conditions the best and plays the best cricket will win tomorrow.
“(We’re) obviously looking forward to playing tomorrow. We can’t afford to lose tomorrow to keep ourselves alive.
"We’ll be looking to fight as hard as we fought in Adelaide and play a bit better than we did in Adelaide and hopefully get a victory.”
If England reach the last contest at the WACA all-square, Pietersen will likely have discovered the run-scoring form he began the series with.
Having missed the Sydney match due to a groin strain, he began promisingly in Adelaide only to loft leg-spinner Steven Smith to long-on.
“You’re going to get frustrated,” he admitted. “I’m playing really nicely, I have done on the whole trip so far actually.
“(I was) frustrated in Hobart and then unfortunately, (I’m) not sure it was the wrong option the other night but it looked like the wrong option that way I got out just looking to hit a boundary. But these things happen.”
Pietersen’s disappointment at his inconsistent returns reflects the importance he attaches to these games against the three-times defending world champions.
However, he predicted the different conditions at the World Cup - with generally slower pitches than in Australia - mean significant fine-tuning will take place on the sub-continent.
England face warm-up games against Pakistan and Canada in Dhaka next month before their Group B opener versus the Netherlands in Nagpur on February 21.
Pietersen hopes front-line bowlers Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann will be back from injury for those matches.
“It is crucial. Every game is crucial. Every game we love playing,” he emphasised.
“I’m not sure how pivotal and how vital it will be towards the World Cup because conditions will be totally different.
“I think the first week in the sub-continent when we start getting used to the conditions and the make-up of our side, having a full-strength team out - that’s going to be really crucial.”
Bresnan and Swann are currently in England, recuperating from a torn calf and a back strain respectively, while Broad is with the squad in Brisbane as he finalises his recovery from a torn abdominal muscle.
Broad recently returned to Australia with fellow fast bowler James Anderson, who was rested for the Twenty20 internationals and first three ODIs.
Pietersen is confident all four will have benefited from their respective breaks, saying: “The boys will be fresh, the boys will be firing.
“In a weird sort of way it’s quite nice that a few guys have had a few games off and been rested and some guys are back in England because they will come back fresh and raring to go as soon as we jump on that plane in London in two weeks today.”
That flight to Asia marks the beginning of another leg of a hectic winter for Pietersen, who flew to Australia on October 29.
“We won a World Cup 10 months ago, we’ve just won the Ashes,” he enthused. “What an incredible year it would be for English cricket if we won a 50-over World Cup.”