Flintoff believes Pietersen is still a huge asset for the England team
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has revealed that he believes batsman Kevin Pietersen, who recently completed his reintegration back into the national side, will have an extremely successful tour of India.
Flintoff noted that Pietersen seems to always perform better after having been involved in some sort of controversy or heated dispute, and added that he wants to see the South African-born batsman score plenty of runs to prove to his fellow team-mates that he is still an asset to the team.
Speaking exclusively to BBC Sport, Flintoff said: “When people get on Kevin’s case he comes out swinging and scores runs, I think Alastair Cook might benefit from this. He might get KP at his best.”
Pietersen has not represented England in any international match since early August after he was found guilty of sending derogatory text messages about former Test captain Andrew Strauss to the South African players.
After issuing a public apology to the his team-mates, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and his fans, Pietersen signed a four-month central contract.
Flintoff’s point of Pietersen succeeding in adversity rather than being weakened by it is well demonstrated during England’s 2005 ODI series in South Africa, where the South African-born Pietersen was able to score three centuries and one half-century despite receiving a very hostile welcome from the crowd.
“When Kevin’s got a point to prove, he usually proves it with the bat, We saw that when he came into the international game in South Africa and he just kept scoring hundreds. In his last innings, he got a hundred at Headingley and saved England,” Flintoff added.
Flintoff also believes that Pietersen is a batsman England cannot live without since his batting style is so one of a kind and unorthodox that it would be highly unlikely for them to find a talent like him anywhere else.
“I think his qualities as a player outweigh everything. Like everyone else he needs a bit of encouragement, when you are as good as he is, you need an arm round the shoulder and you need the backing of the team. He is different, but if you want Kevin the player, you have Kevin [the person as well]. If he starts scoring runs and England win, it will quickly be forgotten,” Flintoff said.
Flintoff admitted that he expected Pietersen’s reintegration to be much tougher, and that this showed there were no hard feelings amongst any of his team-mates, who seem to have all moved on.
“I think Kev will be fine, it might be a bit more uncomfortable for some of the others who have not been too kind in books, in paper reports and in interviews. Everyone’s got an ego. Maybe there are a few clashing in that dressing-room at the minute and they just need to put them to one side and carry on,” Flintoff added.