Pietersen due to return
Kevin Pietersen is set to play for England versus India A at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium in the first of the tourists’ three warm-up games, which begins tomorrow.
"He is down to play and will be batting at four," team director Andy Flower said after the tourists arrived in Mumbai early today.
Meanwhile, Stuart Broad has been appointed England’s vice-captain for the Test tour. The Twenty20 skipper will act as deputy to Alastair Cook, who succeeded Andrew Strauss as Test captain in August.
Speaking at a press conference Cook, sitting alongside Flower, said of Pietersen: "He's desperate to get going and we’re desperate to have him back in the team.
"As I have always said, it's great to have world-class players in our team and, if we want to play the standard of cricket we know we are capable of, we’ve got to have our best players to be able to do that.
"As a senior batter he is there to get runs and, off the field, to pass on his experience to the rest of the lads.
"He has played a huge amount of cricket, some 90 Test matches, and he has experience of sub-continent cricket with the IPL [Indian Premier League].
"That experience is valuable to us if we are going to get used to the conditions as quickly as we can."
Cook, who made his Test debut in India during March 2006, played on the late 2008 tour there and led England’s one-day international side there last October, added: “It’s amazing to be here in India again.
“It’s a great place to play cricket,” he added. “The enthusiasm that India has for cricket and the passion, to be involved in that we’re very lucky as a side. We can’t wait to get going tomorrow and more importantly get ready for that first Test in two and a half weeks time.”
Cook knows that history is against England, who have not won a Test series in India since 1984-85.
“It’s a huge challenge, for us. History suggests how hard it is as an English side to win on the sub-continent. That’s what we’ve got ahead of ourselves, but we’ve got a great squad to try and deal with these challenges,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of experience, some new players who haven’t played a lot of international cricket and a great support network around us with our management team team.
"So we’re in a really healthy situation now and I know I’m speaking on behalf of the players that we’re desperate to get on with it, get used to these conditions in these three games and make sure we’re ready for that first Test.”
England flew to Mumbai from Dubai where they had trained at the International Cricket Council’s Global Cricket Academy.
Flower said: “The facilities were excellent. The three days of training that we had there as good as we could have asked (for) and it gave us a good start to our tour.”
Spinners James Tredwell, Scott Borthwick, Simon Kerrigan and Azeem Rafiq joined the tourists in Dubai to provide extra slow bowling, but Flower explained England’s preparation covered all bases.
Asked about working on spin there, he replied: “There was a focus on it, of course, but they’ll have quality seamers as well and seamers can still take wickets in these conditions so that was part of our focus as well. We’re aware of the challenges ahead of us and, as Cookie said earlier, we’re looking forward to it.”