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Pietersen targets better next time

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Kevin Pietersen & Mahendra Singh Dhoni

"It’s hard on the field," Kevin Pietersen, who struck a match-winning 53 in the T20, said about playing in India. "But off the field they treat us like champions."

Kevin Pietersen has vowed England will learn from the limited-overs tour of India in time for their return in little over a year.

The tourists – who were whitewashed in the best-of-five one-day series but recovered to win the solitary Twenty20 international – are due to be back next winter for four Tests, seven ODIs and another T20.

Pietersen put indifferent summer one-day form behind him on this tour with 170 runs in four innings before making a match-winning 53 from 39 balls in Saturday’s T20 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

The powerful right-hander’s T20 innings included a switch-hit for six off Yusuf Pathan but ended when he missed an attempted reverse-sweep and was trapped in front by Suresh Raina.

Pietersen, who was reprimanded for his reaction to his dismissal, admitted he would like to play with such freedom in ODIs but is more concerned about the collective lessons England must take from this trip.

“I would love to say ‘yes’, but you can’t say that because you’re a lot more accountable for your wicket in 50 overs. You can’t be as free,” he said. “I mean, if I get out playing a switch-hit in 50-over form you look a clown. Twenty20 you’re a lot more free.”

“There’s a lot more deeper issues we can look at with our batting and certainly with our bowling for when we come back here in 12-18 months.”

Pietersen knows team director Andy Flower’s off-field staff will make England work hard to improve in the only format that they are not ranked number one.

“We’ve got a management structure that drives us and pushes us and makes us challenge ourselves,” he added.

“Look, we’ve tried really hard on this trip. We’ve obviously come unstuck in the one-dayers, but I think we showed a lot of courage and determination to come out and beat the Indian team.”

Pietersen – who took part on Saturday despite a fractured left thumb – has built an affinity with India, having played there frequently for his adopted nation and in the Indian Premier League.

“It’s an amazing country to play cricket,” he said. “We’re so lucky to come here as cricketers in this country because they really do treat you brilliantly. Very competitive on the field - it’s hard on the field - but off the field they treat us like champions.

“Any cricketer that comes to India is very privileged and I really wanted to extend my stay and play at this great stadium.”

The pain in Pietersen’s hand at least eased as his innings progressed.

“I did struggle,” he admitted. “There were certain shots, certain full balls that I really struggled with. Also when you get going in the middle, it gets a little bit easier, you can tolerate a lot more.”

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