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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Friday, 7 November 2008

Pietersen ready for India battle

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Pietersen relishing tough series

England captain Kevin Pietersen expects the two Tests and seven one-dayers in India to be a huge challenge.

After a 50-over series win over South Africa and a miserable loss to the Stanford Superstars, England now face a team on the verge of beating Australia.

"India are playing fantastic cricket at the moment, it's going to be a difficult series," Pietersen said.

"We drew the 2004 Test series (in India), but got smashed 5-1 in the one-dayers. We're looking to improve."

England arrived in India on Thursday ahead of the first one-day international in Rajkot on 14 November.

Pietersen, who took over as England's captain last summer during the home series against South Africa, explained how important it was to deal with the conditions in India.

"Coming to India is tough, beating India in India is tough," the 28-year-old said. "The Indian pitches are pretty flat. Reverse swing is important for picking up wickets and spin comes pretty soon into the game.

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"I like to give my players the confidence to know they can go out there and perform.

"We too have been playing good cricket. We're learning how to win... beating South Africa 4-0 is something we haven't done before."

With India currently playing Australia in the fourth and final Test of a series they are leading 1-0, England have to overcome their recent 10-wicket defeat to the Stanford Superstars and missing out on a $20m (12.4m) prize fund.

Pietersen, who only scored seven in that match, added: "We went into the Stanford game not knowing what was going to happen. We dived into depths of uncertainty but learned a lot of things."

England coach Peter Moores believes his players need to quickly forget events in the Caribbean.

"That was a different sort of competition. It produced a very big game in Twenty20 cricket, but we're going to play 50-over cricket now," he said.

"We finished very strongly against South Africa in the one-dayers. We've a new captain in Pietersen bringing his style of captaincy to India.

"India have got strong players with (Mahendra) Dhoni being the key member of the team," said Moores, adding that the absence of batsman Sachin Tendulkar for the initial three one-dayers was a "bonus" for England.

The first Test between England and India takes place in Ahmedabad on 11 December.

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see also
Swann focusing on tour of India
05 Nov 08 |  England
Tendulkar rested for one-dayers
05 Nov 08 |  Cricket
England in India 2008
14 Jul 08 |  Cricket
ECB defends Stanford involvement
01 Nov 08 |  England
Pietersen regrets lack of focus
02 Nov 08 |  England


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