Harmison, Broad make comeback
London, August 6:
England made two changes for Kevin Pietersen’s debut Test as captain against South Africa, starting at The Oval on Thursday.
Ryan Sidebottom, England’s leading wicket taker this year, is replaced by Stuart Broad for the fourth and final match of the series, while Steve Harmison comes in for former skipper Michael Vaughan, leaving no place for Ravi Bopara. The decision to ignore Bopara as Vaughan’s replacement means England have reverted to a five-man bowling attack, despite
failing to score more than 250 in the first innings of the last two Tests.
Ian Bell has been promoted to number three position, while all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will bat at number six having played at seven in the two previous Tests. It will be Harmison’s first Test since the opening defeat against New Zealand in Hamilton last March, while Board is back after being rested at Edgbaston.
Tim Ambrose once again has to move to number seven to accommodate the return of Flintoff at six. After successive defeats at Headingley and Edgbaston handed South Africa the series, Pietersen’s side have the chance to salvage some pride in south London and the new skipper is happy with the attacking line-up. “I’m going to go with four fast bowlers and Monty (Panesar),” Pietersen said.
Pietersen said he and coach Moores had jointly decided on the final eleven. He said that playing an extra bowler was “a positive move, an aggressive move” and that he wanted England to “get back to playing with a real amount of pride and passion”. His recipe for success was to play “my way, without fear and with confidence.”
Asked whether fear had crept into the England side, Pietersen said: “I think there has been a bit of that stuff, worrying about little things. The more you worry, the more you think about stuff instead of being a clear thinking person who does the simple things as good as you can do.” Pietersen said both Bell and Collingwood were eager to take on the responsibility of moving up the batting order, while Harmison was “buzzing” about the prospect of taking the new ball for England again.
Of the pressure of leading England, he said: “I’ve been under pressure ever since I came to England eight years ago, all day, every day, so hopefully I can deal with this.”