KP Excited By Twenty20
England batsman Kevin Pietersen is excited by the open nature of the forthcoming World Twenty20 in South Africa.
Pietersen is among the Test and one-day regulars in a squad packed with 20-over specialists as England seek a first piece of silverware in 32 years of limited-overs international tournaments.
Some players from around the world have questioned the right of cricket's newest form of the game to take its place on the global stage.
However, England's selectors have attempted to embrace the concept by agonising over their final squad and including those most successful at domestic level - including Darren Maddy, the first man to 1,000 Twenty20 runs and all-rounder Luke Wright, the most productive and hardest-hitting batsman in the competition this summer.
"Any doubts as to whether players take Twenty20 cricket seriously are a thing of the past," said Pietersen. "We will be going to South Africa to win.
"I always relish the chance to represent England against the best from around the world.
"The fact that any number of teams could do well in this event excites me.
"A lot of teams will be heading to South Africa thinking they can make a lasting impression at this event - and the unpredictable nature of Twenty20 also makes it exciting for fans and players alike.
"You always feel like you're in the game and both sides always feel they can win from almost any position.
"People think that a Twenty20 match is over before you can blink but I've always believed that 20 overs is quite a long time to bat.
"As a batsman Twenty20 certainly provides enough time to construct a quality innings, so aside from adopting a slightly more aggressive approach, you need to pace yourself as you would in any limited-overs match."
Pietersen played his first 20-over match for England prior to making his Test debut and the 100-run win over Australia at the Rose Bowl is one of the matches he treasures most in a successful but short career to date.
"It was a chance to lay down a marker prior to the 2005 Ashes series against Australia and it set us up for an unforgettable summer," he added.
"By winning that match we made a statement and we were able to show our intent in the best possible way.
"I don't recall much from my own innings but I do remember the match serving as the perfect opportunity to bring us together as a team."
England's challenge for the first assignment of the winter will include numerous players proficient in more than one suit, and most significantly key all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
The 29-year-old has not played an international since the World Cup but could alter that statistic in the seven one-dayers against India starting this month, having made good strides since returning from ankle surgery.
"We put him in both squads, he is obviously desperate to get back on the international scene, he looks very fit but has some cricket to play yet," said chairman of selectors David Graveney, after revealing parties for the NatWest Series and World Twenty20.
"His rehabilitation is continuing, we will monitor how he performs in those games and if it is necessary for him to continue to play domestic cricket we will follow that option.
"There is no need to cut corners when he has spent so long on his comeback this time."
But Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss, who have both led England in one-day cricket in the past 12 months, have been bypassed once more.
Neither were selected to take on West Indies in the three-match NatWest Series with Vaughan effectively withdrawing his availability to concentrate on playing for Yorkshire and allowing his successor as captain, Paul Collingwood, some breathing space.
"I have obviously talked to Vaughanie at length lots and lots of times, he is aware of the situation, he still wishes to play one-day cricket for England, as Andrew Strauss does, some way down the line," said Graveney. "But not at this particular moment.
"What we are striving to do in the 50-over game is have more consistency - we can beat the best on our day but we can also put in some pretty substandard performances."
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