Kevin Pietersen confident of return to England form

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen is convinced he is on the verge of an overdue match-winning score for England - wherever they choose to deploy him in their one-day international batting order.

Pietersen again looked in imperious form in Sunday's NatWest Series defeat against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

But for the umpteenth time, he was out before he could start to take the game away from the opposition - as he has so often threatened yet failed to do over the past two years.

His only half-century - 59 in the World Cup defeat against Ireland at Bangalore - in his last 12 ODI attempts came when he was used as then captain Andrew Strauss' opening partner on the sub-Continent.

That proved a short-lived experiment, with Alastair Cook now in charge and in situ at the top of the order alongside Craig Kieswetter.

Pietersen, however, appears to be amenable to batting anywhere in the top four - if that is what England need.

"It's been abandoned, because we have a wicketkeeper that is opening the batting," he said of his role in India and Bangladesh.

"If the wicketkeeper batted down the order there was a strong possibility that I might have stayed up top.

"But in terms of logistics and how fantastically Kiesy is playing in one-day cricket this summer and how good a player he is, there is no reason why he can't do that aggressive role really well.

"I loved it. I don't mind where I bat as long as I am playing."

Pietersen fell at Lord's for the third time in as many innings to Jeevan Mendis' leg-spin, but is drawing no unwelcome conclusions from that statistical coincidence.

The last of his seven ODI hundreds came 30 innings ago, back in 2008 when he was briefly England captain.

But he said: "I feel 100% that I'm on the brink of a big score.

"I've felt better and better. At Lord's, I felt fantastic.

"But the way that I play, looking to score and be aggressive and take the attack to the opposition, you are going to have good days and bad days.

"At the moment, the luck of the draw hasn't particularly helped me.

"I've just got to keep playing the way I play - and if the way I'm playing at the moment is anything to go by, I'm very happy."

As for Mendis, who has had him caught in the deep twice and once in the leg-side ring in a series England trail 2-1 with two to play, he said: "I can't say that he is mysteriously spinning me out.

"It is a question you are asking, because I've got out to him three times. But I promise you I don't lose any sleep over getting out to him."

Pietersen is also making a point of lending his full support to new 50-over captain Cook, and backing England's decision to employ a different leader in each of the international formats.

"It's different, because it has never been done before," he said.

"But it's something the powers that be have made decisions on.

"It's so hard to do all three at once. The schedule we have, the amount we play, everything that goes with it ... wow, to do all three jobs would be very, very hard."

Pietersen should know. He tried it after succeeding Michael Vaughan three years ago.

"... And it lasted two months," he added.