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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Friday, 27 August 2010 13:33 UK

Boycott urges Kevin Pietersen to play county cricket

Kevin Pietersen departs first ball at Lord's
Pietersen was caught behind first ball at Lord's after a wild drive

Former Test opener Geoff Boycott says Kevin Pietersen could benefit from being left out of England's one-day team to regain form ahead of the Ashes.

Pietersen was out first ball in the final Test against Pakistan and has not made a Test century since March 2009.

"If he doesn't get runs in the second innings there is a case to leave him out," Boycott told Test Match Special.

"He should be told to go find a county, which we think will be Surrey, and play a couple of Championship matches."

The current match at Lord's is England's final Test before the Ashes begins on 25 November, and will be followed by five one-day internationals.

Pietersen, 30, has made 232 runs in nine Test innings against Bangladesh and Pakistan in England this summer, with a top score of 80.

He has not played a Championship match for Hampshire this year and will officially leave the county at the end of the season, but with the club making it clear he will not be selected again Boycott believes Pietersen should find a new county immediately.

"This is not a punishment but is so he can play some cricket," he said. "If you are sweating for weeks on end and before you go to Australia about playing a proper innings in the middle, that's not proper preparation for the Ashes.

"His mind must be absolutely blown. Half his batting is confidence and it's gone. That shot was a shocker, it was first ball, he should get himself in. The ball wasn't there to drive, it was short of a length and he probably didn't even have to play it.

"They [England team] don't play enough proper cricket. They play swashbuckling 20/20, 50 over and Tests but don't have any matches in between Tests where they can play for their counties in slightly less pressurised situations and spend time in the middle."

606: DEBATE
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However, former England captain Michael Vaughan says Pietersen should remain in the team.

He told TMS: "Kevin will play in the one-day series. He'll probably play a little bit better in that form of the game.

"It isn't his technique that's the problem, it's his thought processes, and that's more of a concern. I don't agree that he should play county cricket. Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott haven't had that much county cricket but are playing nicely.

"He got out to a wild waft at a wide ball - that's nothing county cricket could stop. It's just a clustered mind."

The debate over Pietersen came a day after England batting coach Graham Gooch dismissed suggestions of concern over the form of the leading batsmen.

Andrew Strauss was out for 13 on the first day at Lord's, and aside from 53 in the second Test at Edgbaston, the England captain has made only 123 runs in seven innings.

But Gooch told BBC Sport: "His game is not in bad shape at all.

"He's a proven Test player but it has been difficult to get big scores in this series so far, but I don't think it's anything to be concerned about."

Regarding Pietersen, Gooch added: "He's got to transfer the way he prepares and practises into the middle.

"Obviously he's desperate to make a score, like any player.

"But you've got to get the balance between attack and defence, what I call how you manage the batting. You get confidence from scoring runs in the middle. That is an important part of feeling good as a player."

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, meanwhile, has questioned the strength of England's batting line-up, with Strauss, Pietersen and Paul Collingwood all averaging under 30 in the current series against Pakistan.

"There are probably a few little cracks starting to open up with England, particularly with the batting side of things," said Ponting.



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see also
Pietersen told to find new county
10 Aug 10 |  Cricket
Pietersen confirms Hampshire exit
17 Jun 10 |  Hampshire
Strauss fails at rain-hit Lord's
26 Aug 10 |  England
England are vulnerable - Ponting
26 Aug 10 |  Australia
Pakistan in England 2010
07 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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