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Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 15:49 UK

Pietersen to captain by instinct

Pietersen promised to captain with passion

Kevin Pietersen promised to captain England according to his "gut instincts" in the final one-dayer against New Zealand at Lord's.

Pietersen, who will deputise for the banned Paul Collingwood, admitted he had "zilch" experience of the role.

But he took a relaxed view of the extra demands it will impose on him, despite England trailing 2-1 in the series.

"If we do everything we said at our team meeting, I'll be smoking a cigar at mid-off," he commented.

Pietersen turned 28 on Friday and said: "It's the best birthday present ever, I guess.

"I am going to enjoy the opportunity, enjoy the day, it's Lord's, I have got family here from South Africa just on the off-chance.


"I think I'll be a similar captain to the kind of person I am - I'll be calm, pretty chilled and let my gut instincts and feelings guide me."

He said, however, that the team's overall performance was most important, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's not about Kevin Pietersen, it's about England winning on Saturday.

Pietersen has taken the captaincy reins for the first time as a result of the four-match ban imposed on Collingwood following the team's slow over-rate in Wednesday's match.

If England win, the series will end in a 2-2 draw and Pietersen will be in line to lead the team out again in August against Scotland, and twice against South Africa, the country of his birth.

He said: "Things happen for a reason. I can't control what's happened in the last couple of days but I can control, hopefully, the things that we do tomorrow.

"But the crux of the matter is that it's not about me, it's about the England team making sure that the first part of the summer is a great success.

"[To draw] 2-2 against a fantastic one-day side like New Zealand is going to be a great result for us and that's what we are going to do."

"In Test matches I drift on occasions and Michael Vaughan will tell you that. But in the last 12 months [in one-day cricket] I've helped Colly out a lot. I've been on the ball a lot."

Pietersen obviously has huge shoes to fill but he is the sort of guy who seems to demand that sort of attention

New Zealand's Daniel Vettori

Refusing to be drawn on the significance of him captaining England against South Africa later in the summer, he also played down the run-out controversy of Wednesday.

The incident in which New Zealand's Grant Elliott lost his wicket - while lying injured - left some wondering if England had ridden roughshod over the "spirit of cricket", which all international players are asked to embrace.

Pietersen said: "Hindsight is always the best sight. What's happened has happened and we've taken responsibility for it and Colly has been a great man to come out and apologise."

New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori once played alongside Pietersen for Nottinghamshire and expects him to rise to the captaincy challenge in typically positive fashion.

"Pietersen obviously has huge shoes to fill but he is the sort of guy who seems to demand that sort of attention.

"From knowing Kevin, and the way he plays his game, I assume he is going to be reasonably aggressive...we are just going to have to sit tight and wait to see how he takes it on," he said.

see also
Pietersen named stand-in captain
26 Jun 08 |  England
Collingwood given four-match ban
26 Jun 08 |  England
Pietersen fears for 50-over game
14 Jun 08 |  England
Pietersen ready for bigger role
23 Jun 07 |  England
Last-ball error hands NZ victory
25 Jun 08 |  England
New Zealand in England in 2008
12 May 08 |  Cricket

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