Prior believes England have to move with or without Pietersen in the team
England wicketkeeper batsman Matt Prior feels that the national team can still survive without flamboyant batsman Kevin Pietersen in the lineup.
There is growing speculation that South African-born Pietersen may reject signing a new Test contract when they are offered next month, which would signal an end to his international cricket career.
Pietersen, who quit limited overs cricket due to the hectic schedule, stated that he would consider making a comeback if the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) allow him to miss the first two Test matches against New Zealand next year in order to play a full season of the star-studded Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pietersen has also expressed his desire to represent England in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, but only has until August 24 to convince the ECB to add his name to the roster.
“Kev will do what he wants. You watch a bloke bat like that, and you want him in your team, of course you do. But the special thing about this England team is, that it is a team no single person has done more than anyone else. To have 11 blokes pulling in the same direction is a powerful thing. That is not me saying Kevin has not been part of the 11, he’s been a big part. What I am saying is that he would be a huge and sad loss, but the important thing for this team is that, whoever takes his place, all 11 of us pull in the same direction,” Prior said.
Prior also noted that Pietersen’s ability to make some of cricket’s best bowlers look so mediocre was outstanding.
“KP is a special talent and it is fantastic to have someone who can play an innings like that. He made Dale Steyn, the best bowler in the world, look like a regular bowler. The shots he was playing were incredible. It’s a very interesting talking point but I don’t have a clue what Kev is going to do. All I can say is he is a freak, an unbelievable batter. My God, you want him in your team. And I’m sure South Africa would want him in their team,” Prior added.
However, even though many members of the England team miss having a batsman like Pietersen on the roster, England coach Andy Flower and ECB managing director Hugh Morris stated that Pietersen must respect the terms of his contract, which does not allow him to pick and choose matches that he feels like playing in.
But, some cricket pundits believe that Pietersen will opt for a new contract since he wants to be part of the England squad that plays in back-to-back Ashes series against arch-rivals Australia.