Kevin Pietersen backs Eoin Morgan to lead England to World Cup win
Pietersen feels Tri-series performances have justified decision to sack Alistair Cook
Kevin Pietersen has backed England ODI captain Eoin Morgan to lead his team to success in next month’s Cricket World Cup. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Kevin Pietersen has backed Eoin Morgan to lead England to success at the World Cup and believes the team’s performances in the Tri-Series have justified the decision to sack Alastair Cook as one-day captain.
Morgan took over the team following Cook’s exit shortly after the tour of Sri Lanka late last year, when the opener’s poor form was brutally exposed during a 5-2 ODI series defeat.
Things have improved in Australia, with Ian Bell scoring big runs as Cook’s replacement at the top of the order and England scoring more than 300 in four of their five games so far.
England may have lost twice to Australia – including their opening Tri-Series match against the hosts in Sydney when they made 234 batting first – but a win against India in Perth on Friday will see them into the final.
Pietersen, speaking after his successful Big Bash stint with Melbourne Stars, said: “Now they have got Eoin Morgan as skipper I think England are going to go really well. They’re getting scores over 300 and Ian Bell is batting beautifully.”
The 34-year-old, sacked by England last February, thinks England’s decision to relieve Cook of his one-day duties was the right call.
“I’ve been in that team and players talk,” he said. “If Cook’s position was being spoken about as much as it was on TV and in the media then I know it was being talked about in the dressing room.
“I’m just happy it was done for Cook’s sake, for England’s sake and they can move forward with the one-day side now. You can just see it with the scores they are getting now. I know there was a stutter against Australia in Sydney but that can happen and doesn’t mean anything.”
Pietersen, though, was less enthusiastic about England’s bowlers, particularly Stuart Broad, who is returning from a four-month lay-off following knee surgery.
“It’s a very exciting batting team, I just have a little reservation about the bowling,” he said.
“Jimmy Anderson looks great but Broady doesn’t look quite right. He’s not bowling as fast as he could which might be down to coming back off his knee injury. Hopefully he will get a bit faster.”
There was also criticism about England’s decision to leave Ben Stokes out of their touring party, the Durham all-rounder paying the price for a poor run of one-day form.
“I just think England missed a trick with Ben Stokes,” said Pietersen. “Imagine him batting at three and doing a Jacques Kallis job? He came out here to the Big Bash and first game, batting at three, he hit 70-odd from 30 balls.
“Just imagine him in that line up? Ali, Bell, Stokes, Root, Morgan, Bopara, Buttler. Would you want to bowl at that?”
“He’s had a poor year but he’s been up and down and thrown around. He’s played a lot of cricket against sub-continental teams whereas the World Cup is in Australia and he was one batter last year who did so well in the Ashes here, scoring that century here in Perth.
“I understand he’s had a poor run but that was mainly on the sub-continent and against spinners.”