Pietersen in his element
Kevin Pietersen is thrilled to be back in India, having enjoyed a break from playing when he was rested for last month’s NatWest Series.
The 31-year-old is in India for the fifth time with England, the most recent being this year’s World Cup campaign, from which he returned home early to have hernia surgery.
Pietersen is a senior member of a youthful squad, but is raring to go after spending September – when he moved house – with his young family.
While the England youngsters are having their first taste of India – Scott Borthwick and Steven Finn have recovered from stomach upsets – Pietersen has been reminded of the lessons the sub-continental country teaches.
“You’ve got to learn to play spin; you’ve got to learn to manipulate fields,” he told ecb.co.uk in Hyderabad ahead of the tourists’ first warm-up match tomorrow.
“They’re fantastic batting wickets. I think the bowlers learn a lot more than the batters out here because the wickets are generally a lot better [than in England].
“It’s just a great place to play cricket. It’s a great place to learn about yourself. It’s a great place to learn about a different culture. It’s a great place to realise how very fortunate we are to live in a country like we do live in and how privileged we are to have the upbringings because it’s rough out here for some people.”
The middle-order batsman, who has played 78 Tests, 119 one-day and 32 Twenty20 internationals, feels reinvigorated by his return to the country where he has also played in the India Premier League.
“It’s definitely a brilliant place to play cricket,” he enthused. “The volume of the crowds, the passion, it’s sort of a religion out here, the game of cricket.
“If there’s any place you want to come and play one-day international cricket, it’s here in India. For the youngsters it’s brilliant and for us old men, it’s great to be back. It re-energises you, that is for sure.”
The emergence of Borthwick, Finn, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Meaker and Chris Woakes has led to a healthy rivalry for positions ahead of the five-match one-day series which begins in Hyderabad next Friday.
“There’s a lot of competition for places, a lot of youngsters, a lot of them did well in the summer, a lot of them are doing well for their counties,” Pietersen added.
“The strength in depth of English cricket continues to grow, so it’s a good place.”