Strauss excited by Pietersen return

Andrew Strauss is excited by Kevin Pietersen's return to the England fold next week ahead of the start of their international battle with South Africa.

The England captain touched down with his team-mates in Bloemfontein yesterday, but the middle-order batsman was a notable absentee at the start of the two and half month tour.



Pietersen has been recuperating from surgery to his right Achilles tendon - an injury that forced him to miss the last three Tests of this summer's Ashes - but will link up with his country next Monday, arriving in his native South Africa on Tuesday.



This means he will miss England's first two warm-up games, the first of which is a 50-over match against the Diamond Eagles on Friday.



However, Strauss, whose side held their first training session this morning, is looking forward to his return.



"I'm genuinely excited about having him back," he told a press conference.



"We've missed his quality, we've missed his influence and I also think he's going to come back very refreshed, hungry and motivated.



"When you have a player of that quality with that frame of mind, you can expect him to go out and play really well.



"We don't want him to come back before he's ready, so he's got to make sure he's completely over his injury before we bring him back.



"But it's going to be a great boost for us to have him back in the environment."



Strauss has played for his country for more than five years now - featuring in two Ashes series wins - but admits that for England to win, they would need to play better than they have ever done with him in the team.



He continued: "That (winning the series) would be an incredible achievement - beating the number one side in the world at home, that's as hard as it can get.



"But we're not going to get carried away with ourselves at this stage. There is a lot of hard work to be done if we want to get there and achieve that goal.



"In some ways, if we're going to achieve that goal, we're going to have to play better than we've ever played in my time as an England player. So it's a bit of a step up for us and comes at a good time."



The 32-year-old, who will lead England in the five one-dayers and four-Test series against the Proteas after two Twenty20 internationals to begin the tour, pointed out that one of their focus points over the next few weeks would be to gain consistency.



He said: "I think as a group we understand the extent and the challenge that this tour sets us - playing the number one ranked side.



"This is an opportunity for us to see where we are as a side and also to make some steps forward in terms of becoming more consistent and more able to deal with the best sides in the world on a consistent basis.



"We have some ideas as to how we might continue our development in one-day cricket in particular at this stage, and we look forward to putting those into action in the coming weeks."



The skipper again brushed aside the issue of possible hostility for the four players in the squad - Strauss himself, Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior - with South African connections.



He added: "I think it's only an issue if you let it affect you. I've been here before, Kevin Pietersen's been here before, so it's not something that will affect us.



"For Jonathan Trott it's a bit of a step into the unknown, but he's showed great ability to deal with the pressure that goes with playing in a must-win Ashes Test match, so he's more than capable of dealing with it.



"From our team's point of view it's just a non-issue and not something that we ever talk about."



News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
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

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes