Flower predicts Pietersen form
Andy Flower is confident Kevin Pietersen will be back to his heavy scoring best this summer despite a poor start against Sri Lanka.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 31/05/11 9:53pm
Andy Flower has backed Kevin Pietersen to be back to his heavy scoring best this summer despite a poor start to the Test series against Sri Lanka.
England somehow managed to engineer a victory over Sri Lanka in Cardiff despite losing so much time to the rain, but it was not a good start personally for Pietersen.
Pietersen was the only top order batsman to miss out as England piled up 496-5 declared, and to make matters worse he was bowled out by a left-arm spinner once again.
That has started the ball rolling again on whether Pietersen is capable of finding his world-beating best after another injury lay-off, but Flower has no such worries.
In fact, the England coach is feeling exactly the opposite to Pietersen's critics, saying the man who made a crucial double century in an Ashes Test in Adelaide just six Test innings ago is about to come good.
"It is obvious he has had his issues," Flower said of Pietersen, who was the only top England batsman to fail to make double figures in Cardiff.
"I will be perfectly honest with you, I am very excited by what I see from KP at the moment. I think he's on the verge of being a very heavy scorer again.
"I love the way he's training and I know when he transfers that to the middle he's going to be a very heavy scorer. I envisage him having a great summer for England."
Rangana Herath was the latest left-arm spinner to claim Pietersen's wicket, but Flower insists it is not a problem that will continue to haunt him.
"He's had his obvious battles playing left-arm spin but he is aware of them and is working hard at them," added Flower.
"When he was out in Bangladesh he scored a very, very fine Test century [Pietersen scored 99] against at least two left-arm spinners.
"He worked hard in the nets there on his method against left-arm spin and he played them very comfortably. Since then he has had a few ups and downs, but I don't envisage this problem continuing.
"He is very close to scoring heavily against all types of bowling. There is no time for keeping runs back. Lord's will do nicely!"
Lord's will be the venue for the second Test, where a win can give England victory in the three-Test series with a game to spare as they prepare to face what seems a greater challenge in world leaders India.
England named uncapped swing bowler Jade Dernbach in a 12-man squad to replace the injured James Anderson - who Flower believes could be back for the third Test at the Rose Bowl.