Flower wants KP to keep quiet

England XI 408-3 v Haryana XI: England coach unsure what century-scoring Pietersen might say with 'reintegration' process incomplete

Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground

The process of reintegration continued in silence yesterday. True, the ball pinged off Kevin Pietersen's bat with a happy clang interspersed with the occasional joyous boom.

There were 110 runs from 94 balls, 16 fours and three sixes and the absolute certainty that there could have been more of both, during and after. But he retired out, his day's work done, his match preparations for the first Test against India complete, the woeful attack of the Haryana state XI dismembered here in Ahmedabad. England made 408 for 3 from 90 overs.

It was time then for Pietersen to offer an aperçu or two, the refreshing insight of a man newly restored to the England team, the place where he belongs more than anywhere else in the universe. For a fortnight since this touring squad arrived in India everyone who has been asked – and everyone has been asked – has replied how smooth Kev's return to the dressing room has been.

There had been that unfortunate little business when he was dropped for being beastly and unreasonable but that was all behind them. It has been as though the weeks of acrimony, negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, when the entire senior management of the England team were involved and many were probably being kept awake at night by it, never happened.

Party line it might have been but they have spoken like men who not only believed what they were saying but desperately needed to believe it, like Mitt Romney being on the verge of winning the US election. Briefly, it has been combined thus: "Old Kev, he likes a laugh, doesn't he? But now it's forward we look and not backwards."

But when the moment came yesterday, Pietersen, having come off half an hour before the close of the first day of the final warm-up match, declined to comment. His lip was buttoned, he was saying nowt to no one, he was schtum.

Perhaps it was sensible management. Throughout most of a controversially entertaining career, Pietersen has managed to find trouble by offering an opinion. Whether in press conferences, staged or impromptu, or via the more recent tool of Twitter, he has been largely candid, often forthright, sometimes inadvertently so.

But England are a week away from the first Test of a significant series. The team coach, Andy Flower, was reluctant for Pietersen to speak; Pietersen did not want to speak. Flower could not be sure what the player might say if ensnared by some weaselly interrogator; the player wants to concentrate on the cricketing matters to hand.

All well and good. But it demonstrates that the reintegration, a phrase and indeed a process devised by Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, is not over.

Get Adobe Flash player

When Pietersen and Clarke gave their surreal press briefing in Colombo after the World Twenty20 it was difficult to be sure what might ensue. Clarke spoke of the need to give wrongdoers another chance as if Pietersen was a drug-running recidivist rather than a disaffected member of a cricket team. Pietersen read a personal statement written by another hand.

In the event, Pietersen, who had been omitted from the original squad for this tour after his spectacular dispute with the team, was added to it less than a week later. It was then that the recent past started to be forgotten.

Not airbrushed from history quite but the whole lot of them might as well have lined up outside the dressing room and chanted, after Scarlett O'Hara: "Tomorrow is another day." To which the response might have been, as if from Rhett Butler (and there are enough moustaches being grown for Movember to suggest that everybody is trying to be Rhett Butler): "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Pietersen's non-appearance after producing the performance of the day meant he was being treated as a special case. That is because, whatever the management like to say and think, he is a special case. Otherwise, he would have emerged after his seemingly effortless innings and engaged. In his absence, Ian Bell, a lovely batsman and agreeable chap who has never courted trouble, spoken ill of anyone or rocked any boats, was invited to speak to the media. He had made a welcome, unbeaten half-century, sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 147 with Pietersen as a quiet if not silent partner.

Bell said: "Everything has gone really well for us as a group and for Kevin, so we're really happy. We don't want to put too much pressure on him to be the main reason why we win a Test series. It would be great if he can play the sort of innings he has done in recent times. But I think, as a batting unit, the top six or seven, if we all have good series the bowlers will have the opportunity to get wickets. We know that if he gets in he can change a Test match. We want him in the best nick we can."

After such a rollicking albeit meaningless innings (it would not be in his top 100 except as a spectacle) it would be safe to assume that Pietersen is in decent nick. But only next week can show that to be true. And if he makes a hundred then he will come out and sing like a reintegrated canary.

Compton finds ingredients to open with Cook

Nick Compton strengthened his grip on an England opener slot for the first Test with a 74 against Haryana yesterday to add to his unbeaten 64 in the previous warm-up game.

Batting with captain Alastair Cook for the first time, Compton was assured from the outset as the pair breezed past a century opening stand well before lunch on an even batting surface. They shared a 166-run partnership before the captain was dismissed three runs short of his hundred.

Ian Bell (57 not out) and Jonathan Trott (46) were also among the runs.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power