Vaughan voices concern over 'cluttered' Pietersen

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The Independent Online

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has urged Kevin Pietersen to clear his "cluttered" mind and get back to basics to rediscover his best form.

Pietersen has made just 69 runs in seven innings on the current tour of Bangladesh, a worrying statistic with the first Test starting on Friday.

But Vaughan is confident the flamboyant batsman will come good when it matters, as long as he can adopt the right mentality for Test match cricket.

"It's the first time in his career that he's gone through this kind of patch so he's in new territory mentally," Vaughan told Press Association Sport.

"For those who have been in it and got out of it, they know it comes right by just hard work and a little bit of luck. You just have to get your basics right.

"The one thing about Kevin, he will attack and that's great, that's the best option for Kevin Pietersen, but you still have to be able to defend against the spinners, particularly in Bangladesh.

"You're still going to have to defend the ball and I think he has to work out a method of making sure he can stay at the crease, first and foremost. No batsman can get runs without being able to stay at the crease for long periods of time.

"He's a wonderfully gifted stroke player but his basics against left-arm spin...that's his real challenge, the mentality of batting against left-arm spin.

"Bangladesh have picked three and will probably play two as soon as he comes to the crease. One will be on at either end, men around the bat. No doubt he'll try to sweep and hit them over the top and they'll put men out and then how does he play? It's a technical thing as much as a mental thing.

"He'll come through it, there's no question, he's too good not to, but it's the first time that he's been tested. But for us to be really successful and a really good team we need KP playing to his maximum, which he was a year or so ago."

Pietersen has often been criticised for getting out to extravagant shots and Vaughan feels that could also be affecting the South Africa-born batsman's approach.

"In Twenty20 he has averaged 42 so maybe that's a process which he can look it," Vaughan added at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi.

"Clearly he's just going for it and (in other games) maybe he's thinking too much, his mind is cluttered with 'Should he defend, should he attack,' whereas in Twenty20 he just has to attack.

"Test match cricket, probably why it's called a test is that it tests your mentality. You can't just go and attack all the time. In Twenty20 you have an excuse if you get out, you were meant to be playing the big shots.

"In Tests there is that mentality of 'If I get out playing a big shot, what will it look like?' That's when it comes down to just having really good basics.

"If he hammers home the basics well and just fights for a bit he will be fine. Nothing comes back easy. I believe he's been doing all the work in the nets and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he went and got a hundred this week, and if gets one he'll probably go and get a big one.

"He needs a good technical defence to be able to go and attack. You really do have to start at ground level when you're trying to get into form.

"You really have to fight and just get through the first half an hour, the first hour, just set yourself little goals and before you know it you'll be at 50 or 60 and everything will be forgotten."