Flower urges patience over Pietersen

Andy Flower warns England must stay patient with Kevin Pietersen - even if the man himself finds it hard to do the same in his search for a major innings.

Pietermaritzburg-born Pietersen will be back at what was once his home ground this week as England seek to convert a 2-1 lead into a notable one-day international series victory over South Africa.

The timing might have been better, though, for the 29-year-old - still only five matches into his England comeback after four months out with injury and with just 52 runs from three attempts so far in this series.

England coach Flower insists he has no qualms about Pietersen's progress.

He advises it is unfair to expect too much too soon but nonetheless senses Friday's match at Kingsmead could be the ideal stage for England's inked-in ODI number three to re-announce himself.

"I wouldn't be too worried. I think he's going to take a little while to get back in form," said Flower.

"Being out for four months - when he's used to playing all the time - I think is a challenge he's going to have to overcome.

"He's a high achiever, an outstanding sportsman - and he will be very impatient to get back into his dominant ways again.

"I think we should be patient with him, because it's not easy just to walk back in and dominate straight away."

Flower is confident about the long-term prospects for a batsmen who still generates a noisy and hostile response from cricket crowds in his native country - and he has a sneaking feeling that first big score may be imminent.

"He tends to want to do it his way," he confirmed.

"That's part of his strength, his make-up - what makes him a different and very powerful player for us.

"He will score heavy runs on this tour, and maybe Friday is the day. It could be his day."

Pietersen could manage only three runs yesterday. But England had South Africa beaten anyway at Port Elizabeth, going one up with only one match to play on the back of James Anderson's maiden five-wicket haul.

"We played brilliantly," Flower recalled.

"Obviously the bowlers won the game for us, and 2-1 up with one to play is a great position to be in.

"We came here to win the series. It would be a huge achievement, and we would be very proud to take this one-day series."

That is an outcome at odds with world rankings, which have England as also-rans and their hosts among the world's leading sides.

"We know the South Africans are a very good side, number one in the world (in the Test rankings) - so to get into this position is very good," the coach said.

"Yes, we're inconsistent and we have some huge ups and downs - and we are trying to do something about that."

England have proven, however - admittedly following injured all-rounder Jacques Kallis' withdrawal from the series - that they can mix it with the best after all.

"Any team is vulnerable if you put them under pressure," Flower added.

"We have tremendous respect for them. But a player they have certainly missed is Jacques Kallis.

"Even though they're the number one side in the world, they can be beaten - and we've played some good cricket so far to get in the lead.

"We're not going to get ahead of ourselves. There is one big game on Friday, and then we'll reassess for the Test series."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific