Kevin Pietersen has proved ability and commitment to England, says Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain says Kevin Pietersen proved he is dedicated to England - and can play left-arm spin.
Last Updated: 26/11/12 9:30pm
That was the view of Nasser Hussain after the batsman - back in the side after his well-publicised exile earlier this year - shared a century stand with captain Alastair Cook to steer the tourists to 178-2 in their pursuit of India's 327.
Pietersen (62no) dealt admirably with India's attack, including the left-arm spin of Pragyan Ojha, which he admits has been his nemesis in recent years, particularly on the sub-continent.
But Sky Sports expert Hussain said there were clear signs that Pietersen had been working hard on the issue and that proves he is committed to performing for England.
He said: "You've got to be very careful that 'Pietersen the character' doesn't cloud your thinking. He's not everyone's cup of tea, but it mustn't cloud your thinking as to how good a player he is.
"In the last Test he played in before Ahmedabad against South Africa at Headingley he smashed 150 and in the warm-up game leading up to this game he smashed 100. Last winter he smashed 100 in Colombo when nobody else could do it. He's an absolutely phenomenal player.
"But he has this Achilles heel of not being defensively sound at the moment against left-arm spin and it's very odd because if you ask me if it's a difficult shot to play I would say the forward defence against left-arm spin is one of the easiest shots to play as a right-hander.
"It is an Achilles heel for him and I am really pleased that he's worked at it and he's shown that he's got a defensive technique.
"More importantly, the fans and the supporters are really pleased that he's showing the application that his captain's showing at the other end.
"That's what they want to see. They don't want to see all the flashiness, they want some application and they got that from Pietersen today."
Pietersen claims the introduction of DRS - which is not being used during this series - has made him more vulnerable to being given out to left-arm spin.
But Hussain says he may be guilty of over-thinking the issue and should simply try to play his natural game.
He added: "I did a decent interview with him out in Dubai and he said it wasn't just him - and it was a good point that I hadn't thought about -he said look at all the left-handers since DRS that have struggled against Graeme Swann.
"Left-handers don't know whether to kick him or whatever and it's an exact mirror image; Swann to a left-hander is a left-arm spinner to Pietersen. So he's got a very valid point and the game has changed because of DRS.
"I just think Kevin thinks about the game too much. Alastair Cook will go out and play the game the same way pretty much every time unless the pitch changes slightly, but what Pietersen sometimes does is over-complicate the game.
"Today he just used his defensive technique."
Meanwhile, Cook (87no) will resume on day three looking for his fourth successive century as England captain.
And Hussain was full of praise for his efforts in Mumbai, insisting he is on his way to becoming one of this country's all-time greats.
"He's in serious danger of becoming the greatest England batsman of all time to be honest," he said.
"He keeps going on and on and on. He doesn't change the tempo, a little bit like Pujara, and it was a different tempo of innings today compared to the last innings.
"He used his feet more, played more sweep shots and played beautifully in partnership with Pietersen, who was much more attacking at the other end.
"Cook just kept knocking it away and when they bowl him a bad ball he just puts it away."