Playing ’10 back-to-back Ashes Test matches’ is no walk in the park, says Kevin Pietersen

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“To play an Ashes then another Ashes, and for us being away from home, it’s a tough gig”

England batsman Kevin Pietersen has hinted that poor scheduling is the reason why the national team lost the Ashes for the first time in five years.

Pietersen added that playing “10 back-to-back Ashes Test matches” was no walk in the park as it has left England tired, stressed and “a bit fragile”.

“I think people shouldn’t forget, and it’s never been done before, that guys have got to go and endure 10 back-to-back Ashes Test matches,” Pietersen told Sky Sports. “I’ve been told that a number of Olympic athletes go into some sort of post-Olympic depression or a negative frame of mind – and I’m not saying we’re in a depression or a negative frame of mind – but after you’ve competed at such a level, post that competition, mentally you’re a bit fragile. To play an Ashes then another Ashes, and for us being away from home, it’s a tough gig.

“It’s been an incredibly pressurised situation. Playing back-to-back Ashes series and being away for the second leg, and not starting in the manner that we are accustomed to…it’s been incredibly difficult.”

Pietersen also defended his dismissal in the first innings of the ongoing Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, stating that he was batting with the tail and was trying to amass as many runs as he possibly could.

“This game is a great leveller,” Pietersen said. “If you start believing people when they say you’re great it’s going to hurt you. If you start believing people when they call you a mug that’s also going to hurt you.

“I know it [his first-innings dismissal at the MCG] is a bit of a talking point. I don’t know what the numbers are on our tail, but as soon as [Tim] Bresnan got out, I was under the impression that I had to do all the scoring and take all the strike.

“Look, I get out for nought, I get nailed. I get out for 70 … I was playing for the team’s cause to try and score as many runs as possible as quick as possible because I knew I was going to have to do it.

“Australia have bowled incredibly well with great plans and sometimes you’ve just got to say ‘well done’. I was a bit fortunate on a couple of occasions, but that’s what happens. I’ve been unfortunate on a couple of occasions on this trip as well. But I call it the cycle of life. These things happen. You win some and you lose some. If you take all the good days you’ve got to take the bad days with it as well.

“We just want to try and salvage some pride. We want to try and turn things around.”

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