Kallis expects Pietersen return

Tue, Aug 14, 2012, 01:00

Cricket:Jacques Kallis believes England will miss Kevin Pietersen at Lord's this week - but does not expect them to be without their superstar batsman for long.

Kallis and his South Africa team-mates need only avoid defeat in the third Investec Test, to clinch the series and knock England off their world number one perch.

That task looks a little easier in the absence of Pietersen, who lit up Headingley with a man-of-the-match century only to be dropped for this final match of three following a fall-out with his employers at the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Many contend South Africa-born Pietersen's refusal to deny or apologise for texts, reportedly sent to opposition players during the Leeds draw and allegedly containing derogatory remarks about his own team-mates, will spell the end of the 32-year-old's career.

South Africa all-rounder Kallis does not see things that way.

"I'm sure they'll sort it out," he said. "He's too good a player to stay out of the international scene. I've no doubts they'll come to an agreement, and something will be sorted out."

In the more immediate term, Kallis senses a team without Pietersen - he will be replaced by young Yorkshire batsman Jonny Bairstow - is inevitably weakened.

"He's a world-class player ... England losing him is a big loss for them. Any time he's not in your side it does make a big difference. I think they're going to miss his experience, for sure."

Even so, Kallis and his fellow tourists are readying themselves once again to face tough and talented opponents.

"Cricket's not a one-man sport. There are 11 guys who can take a Test match away from us. We're certainly not preparing in any other way than we would do if he was playing."

Kallis, not thought to have received any text messages himself from Pietersen, acknowledges that communication between players - and closer relationships with the opposition - have developed, in part, because of shared experiences alongside and against one another for Indian Premier League franchises.

But he warns that also brings a responsibility to be a little more guarded when the situation dictates - such as, perhaps, in the middle of a high-profile series against your native country when your world number one status is under threat.

"You have got to be careful about just what you send, and if you do send messages keep it pretty much to a team-mate of yours," said Kallis. "If a guy does well and you want to send him a message the guys will do that, especially if you're watching on TV.

"You have to be a little more careful during series you're playing against each other. But I think we've moved on from those days when the guys didn't have any contact with each other."

As for Pietersen, Kallis recognises there are always likely to be ups and downs for such a mercurial cricketer - who he is sure, nonetheless, will be back.

"These sorts of things are going to happen throughout his career - a few things have happened," he said. "I don't think it'll affect him; I think he'll bounce back, and I think he's still got a lot of cricket ahead of him."

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