Ashes 2013/14: Australia's seamers can't afford to let Kevin Pietersen dominate
David Boon warns Australia's seamers they can't afford to let Kevin Pietersen settle in the Ashes.
Last Updated: 20/11/13 2:46pm
Pietersen, who will win his 100th cap for England in this week's first Test in Brisbane, has scored 1,864 of his 7,887 Test runs against Australia - more than he's compiled against any other side - and says the tourists are confident of winning their fourth Ashes series on the trot.
Boon - the eighth-most capped Australian, with 107 Tests to his name - admits that Pietersen's ability is a major threat to Australia's hopes of regaining the urn and says Michael Clarke's men can't afford to let him dictate terms in the middle.
"Pietersen is an exceptionally talented player who has caused Australia a few issues in the past with his aggressive and attacking style - so congratulations to KP on his 100th Test; I just hope from an Australian point of view that he doesn't get too many this time!" said Boon, who will act as match referee in Thursday's one-day international between India and West Indies in Kochi.
"Australia's seamers have got to be patient with him; if KP tries to dominate you've got to find a way to slow that down. His frame of mind is such that he still wants to dominate and if you can get the ball in the right areas then hopefully he'll make an error.
"I think our guys should go hard at him early on but if Pietersen does get a start he's one of those players you've got to hold back a fraction against."
Australia - beaten 3-0 by England this summer - look likely to field a seam attack of Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris at the Gabba, bolstered by fit-again all-rounder Shane Watson, meaning James Faulkner will miss out.
With Nathan Lyon providing the main spin option, Boon believes that the hosts have enough firepower to win at the Gabba and says batting inconsistency could be a bigger barrier for Michael Clarke's team to overcome.
"Mitchell Johnson is a wicket-taker when conditions suit; occasionally he can go for a few runs but from what I've seen recently he's bowling with good pace and good confidence," he said.
"He'll get bounce and pace on most of the wickets in the series. If he gets it right he'll be a problem for England.
"Peter Siddle is pretty steady all the time and the young guys are pretty capable of taking 20 wickets; I definitely feel that the key to how Australia do this summer is how the batsmen perform. They haven't been performing consistently enough of late as a group but the talent is definitely there to do so.
"It's always important for the balance of that team that Shane can bowl a little bit and fill in some overs. He has the ability to bowl wicket balls as well, which is always a bonus.
"The key to Shane is his batting. If he's batting well, he's far more confident and bowls and fields well. It's really important for him and Australia that he starts the series in Brisbane strongly and gets some runs.
"As an Australian I've got to say that we can regain the urn but realistically they've got to play very good cricket because England are a very good, well-balanced team. James Anderson is one of the finest swing bowlers in the world at the moment, they've got aggression with Stuart Broad and wickets in the shape of Graeme Swann.
"If there is a little chink in the armour I really believe that Tim Bresnan is a big loss for England; he's a good, hard nut - a real steadier of the ship with his bowling and he makes a few runs. The key to the series, irrespective of where the sides are at, is this first Test.
"If Australia can either win, or come out with a 'winning draw' from Brisbane, then they've got a chance of doing really well for the rest of the summer because that will give them an enormous boost."
Boon, 52, was part of the Australian teams that suffered Ashes defeats in 1985 and 1986/87 but went on to enjoy victory in three successive series under the captaincy of Allan Border and then Mark Taylor.
He believes the current side have it within their power to revive their fortunes under Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann providing they foster a spirit of togetherness within the squad.
"The wheel turns all the time," he said. "When I first started England were beating Australia and dominating us and then things changed in 1989. The talent is in this Australian side to turn things around. All we thought about in 1989 was that the team came first. We stuck together and did everything together to make sure that the unit was moulded as strongly as possible.
"I'm sure 'Boof' Lehmann will sit the team down and speak about that, as will Michael Clarke. The guys have just got to have the confidence that they are good enough to beat England and that their form is going to warrant that this group of players go through the series performing well as a unit.
"Every captain is different; I played the majority of my Test cricket under Allan Border's leadership and under him we began the incredible run of series runs that Australia had. I give him 'godfather' status in terms of the modern-day captains for Australia.
"But I can see a little bit of AB in all of the captains that followed - including Clarke - even though they've stamped their own personality on it. I think they learnt from the way AB led from the front, brought the whole group together and had enormous pride in the Baggy Green cap."
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