KP's long and winding road
Kevin Pietersen has called on England to produce “one final push” in the second Test against Bangladesh to end their lengthy winter programme on a high.
Saturday’s clash at the Shere Bangla National Stadium represents the final leg of a tough international schedule that has taken England from the Champions Trophy in South Africa to an away series against the Proteas, a brief Twenty20 stop against Pakistan in Dubai and now a Test and ODI tour of Bangladesh.
During that time England have put in some much improved limited-overs performances, scored a highly creditable drawn Test series against South Africa, and gone unbeaten so far here.
Overall, it is a period Pietersen believes the team can look back on with pride, providing they avoid slipping up at the final hurdle in Mirpur, on the outskirts of Dhaka.
“We started out a long time ago but it’s been a pretty successful winter for us,” said the 29-year-old batsman.
“It’s been a big winter for us but there is still one final push needed.
“Generally we don’t end tours on the best note so this is an opportunity for all of us to make sure we get stuck in and dig deep and get that victory.
“Of course we’d have liked to beat Australia and gone on in the Champions Trophy in November but for the team this has been a great winter in terms of results.
“It’s been a good team effort and to win this last one would be fantastic.”
Although England are not on duty again until the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean at the end of April, things do not get any less hectic for Pietersen.
He has signed for a four-week stint in the Indian Premier League and is due to play for Bangalore Royal Challengers against Delhi Daredevils the day after the scheduled end of the Test against Bangladesh.
He is also expecting to become a father for the first time midway through the World Twenty20.
But, having been out of the game for several months after a serious Achilles injury forced him to miss the conclusion of last summer’s Ashes, he is not concerned about too much cricket.
“On a personal level this winter has been a case of getting back to playing again after a pretty severe injury, a career-threatening injury,” said Pietersen.
“It’s taken a little longer than I’d have liked but I’m getting back there now.
“It is a hell of a busy time for me - here for four weeks, Dubai before that, playing in India the day after the Test finishes and then the Twenty20 World Cup.
“Then as soon we get back we’ve got another Test match 10 days later. So yes, it’s a very busy time but I love the challenge.
“I feel privileged and honoured to be in that dressing room so I’m not complaining at all.”
The new Brit Insurance 2010-11 official England Cricket Team kit will be available to pre order from April 1 via ecb.co.uk, and in store from April 29