Alastair Cook denies England have mismanaged Kevin Pietersen’s injury - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

Alastair Cook denies England have mismanaged Kevin Pietersen’s injury

Captain says Pietersen was able to play despite pain and was regularly assessed

Eden Park, Auckland

After England’s narrow escape in Dunedin, the team’s coach, Andy Flower, was asked about the state of Kevin Pietersen’s knee. His reply was immediate and short. “I don’t anticipate it being a huge problem for us at all,” he said.

This week, Pietersen flew home to seek a specialist review of the injury, out of the third and deciding Test against New Zealand, his tour over, and absent from cricket for at least six weeks. Perhaps it depends on the precise definition of huge in this context but a problem of some kind there certainly is.

He left behind a team desperate to justify their status as series favourites. The absence might or might not have influenced the bold decision to field made by England's captain, Alastair Cook, after winning the toss in the third Test.

For most of the opening session it was looking not only bold but reckless. New Zealand, who insisted they too would have bowled first, were looking in easy control on a slow-paced surface until Hamish Rutherford cut Steve Finn in the air to first slip two overs before the interval, which they reached at 79 for 1.

Until then, England had created few opportunities, the ball passing the bat only when the batsmen let it go. The short straight boundaries at the converted rugby stadium aggravated the tourists' difficulties.A completely muffed hook from Fulton flew for six and then Rutherford struck Monty Panesar over cover and long on, clearing the boundary guardians with ease.

Pietersen had said goodbye to all this a few hours earlier. Apart from this match, he will miss the Indian Premier League in which he is contracted to play for Delhi Daredevils and if the timetable of his recovery is accurate he will assuredly struggle to be ready in time for the home series against New Zealand which starts in mid-May. If surgery is required, the Champions Trophy and the Ashes themselves will be in doubt.

There was a mildly unconcerned air about the long-term prospects for the knee. For a start, Pietersen showed up at England's final training session before the third Test and took part in fielding drills. He did not bat but sat at the back of the nets and watched his colleagues.

Cook then adopted a thoroughly positive attitude beginning with his agreement that they expected Pietersen to get through the series. "Clearly, it was done on a game-by-game basis" he said. "Before every game, especially after that warm-up game when he started to feel it, you start to assess. He felt he could get through, and we felt he could get through, those two games.

"This game might be a step too far. It's important now we don't jump to too many conclusions. He goes home and gets to see the specialist, and sees exactly what's wrong with him."

Pietersen first complained of pain in his knee before the warm-up match in Queenstown but then was able to play two more Tests. He was off the field for treatment occasionally during the first Test in Dunedin but that did not prevent Flower's bullishness afterwards.

Although Pietersen's reintegration with the team seems to be complete, following his sensational omission for the final Test against South Africa last August because of a dispute with the team management, it is never possible to be certain where he is concerned.

It should be know within days whether Pietersen will need an operation but everything about the mood in the tourists' camp suggested the prognosis was good. Cook said: "It's getting blown a little bit out of proportion. He's had a bit of a bad knee, and it's got progressively worse – and we've made a decision now that he's going home to have it looked at."

It was Cook who backed Pietersen on taking over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss and he went out of his way then, as he has done since, to stipulate that he wanted the best team available. Lest there was any doubt Cook cleared it up: "It's important he's fit as soon as he can be. You do look sometimes at future planning, but I think if this was an Ashes Test match he wouldn't be playing in it."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week