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Pietersen welcomes Colly return

NatWest Series

Kevin Pietersen’s start to his reign as England captain could hardly have gone better - and it is about to get another boost, according to the man himself.

Pietersen has led England in two completed matches since replacing Michael Vaughan as permanent captain and has collected two victories and two man-of-the-match awards.

His 14th Test hundred was the key component of victory over South Africa in the final npower Test at the Brit Oval earlier this month and an unbeaten 90 allied to two wickets at Headingley Carnegie helped open up a 1-0 advantage in the NatWest Series.

The feel-good factor is boosted further by the return of former captain Paul Collingwood for the second match of five at Trent Bridge tomorrow.

“The start has gone very well for me personally but from a captaincy point of view the players have been absolutely brilliant,” said Pietersen.

Paul Collingwood & Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen is set to captain Paul Collingwood for the first time at Trent Bridge

“All the guys have created such a good environment. You never know how people will take the change on, but it has been taken on by everybody in such a positive manner.

“I have just tried to drum into them the way I want us to play and they have accepted that in the best possible way.”

Collingwood, 32, will return to the side which won by 20 runs in Leeds on Friday.

“The team definitely strengthens with Colly coming back in,” Pietersen said.

“He will bat at six, bowl his medium pace and field at backward point, and he has 150 games of one-day international experience.

“So to have him back with the ability he has got, and that kind of experience, is an extra boost as well.”

Collingwood hopes Pietersen can add a second victory as one-day captain in the next game of the series tomorrow.

Collingwood said: “He’s had a fantastic start. He’s gone out there wanting the captaincy and already he’s making really good decisions.

“Hopefully he will go from strength to strength; he’s learning all the time. He’s done a great job so far and I hope he continues with that.”

Collingwood admitted the decision to give up the captaincy of the one-day side had been made regardless of his ban as his batting form in Test matches had been suffering.

Paul Collingwood

Collingwood admitted the one-day captaincy was affecting his batting form

He told Sky Sports News: “I just found the captaincy was added responsibility which was very draining.

“The thing was it was taking the form away in Test cricket and that was the last thing I wanted it to do.”

Collingwood revealed he was relishing the prospect of concentrating on his batting and fielding without having to worry about captaining the side as well.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s great coming back into the ranks and concentrating on your own job. Hopefully I will be scoring big runs for England.”

Collingwood also welcomed the decision of the International Cricket Council to postpone the Champions Trophy - due to take place in Pakistan next month - because of security fears.

He said: “We had concerns about the security over there. It is a relief because usually in these situations it comes down to the players at the last minute (to make the decision).”

Meanwhile, the ECB has made Tim Bresnan available to play for Yorkshire Carnegie against Kent in today’s NatWest Pro40 fixture against Kent Spitfires at Scarborough. He will rejoin the England squad tonight.

Collingwood played in Durham Dynamos’ eight-wicket Pro40 win over Worcestershire Royals yesterday,while Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara featured in Essex Eagles’ crushing 130-run victory against Glamorgan Dragons.

Bresnan was involved as a substitute in the first ODI at Headingley on Friday and took a catch to dismiss Johan Botha off Stuart Broad.

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