One-day wonders putting a spring in Pietersen's step

England's new order are starting to fire even though their star batsman has yet to reproduce his best form
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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen believes that England's one-day side is on the verge of something special. England's limited over cricket has been a major let-down for more than 15 years but the performance of the side against India has given Pietersen, along with many others, great cause for optimism. England currently lead India 2-1 in the seven-match series and, under a new captain, Paul Collingwood, and coach, Peter Moores, they are playing some of the most vibrant one-day cricket seen for quite some time.

"In the nearly three years I've played for England there have not been many mornings when you wake up thinking 'we could win a one-day series' – and a big series at that, but I woke up this morning thinking we could now be 3-0 up," said Pietersen after England's 42-run win at Edgbaston.

"In three games we have scored around 900 runs and I haven't played in an England team that could say that. I don't think Colly [Collingwood)]or Fred [Andrew Flintoff] have either. And not only scored 900 runs but also really competed against one of the best sides that includes some of the greats of the game.

"Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid – they've got 35,000 runs or so between them, just those three guys. To be competing against them and knowing we could be 3-0 up is an awesome feeling. It's brilliant. But we are not getting ahead of ourselves because we've got four games to go. We're doing the same preparation each time and sticking to our high standards. The guys are playing really well."

One of the most encouraging aspects of the past three games is that England have amassed scores of 288-2, 320-8 and 281-8 without Pietersen, their star batsman, making a significant contribution. Pietersen, who was yesterday named in three categories in the annual ICC awards, including player of the year, has scored only 67 of England's 889 runs. It is not only England's batting that has impressed. The fielding of the side has been energetic, lithe and athletic, quite the opposite of their opponents who had an extra fielding session yesterday in preparation for tomorrow's fourth match at Old Trafford.

"Against India, because of how strong their batting is and because their bowlers play such a huge part, we think we can beat them in the field. That's one area we can win 20, 30, 40 runs in 50 overs. That's something we have identified. We are all committed to it. We are all diving around. I haven't dived around like that for a long time! Sometimes I haven't needed to. But it's great fun to dive around and get yourself dirty and really fight hard. It makes victory all the sweeter."

Pietersen did not want to be considered as England's one-day captain when Michael Vaughan stood down after the World Cup but he has been very involved with what has been taking place in the middle. "I just try to help out as much as I can. Colly likes the help. With him being involved so much in the game, he talks to me a lot and asks for my opinions. Basically we just get together and sort a few things out like bowling changes and fielding positions. We read off a similar script so it's nice. We chuck things at each other. I wouldn't say I'm vice-captain or anything like that but we do spend quite a lot of time talking and we get on really well. It's working at the moment and long may it continue.

"Winning this series would mean a heck of a lot – to the coaching staff, to Colly and to this new one-day outfit. I've said in a [team] meeting that if we fulfil our potential I don't think anyone can beat us. The way we played that first game at Southampton – the talent we've got with our bowlers and our batters – I don't think anyone can beat us on our day. But we need consistency and we need to fulfil our potential."

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