Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has praised Monty Panesar and Kevin Pietersen for their performances in the recent Test against India.
Despite receiving a hammering in the 1st Test, England bounced back to level the series with a superb 10-wicket win. It was an impressive team performance, but man-of-the-match Pietersen and Panesar – who took 11 wickets – stood out for Flintoff.
He said: “The one thing England have done over the years is bounce back well. It was a disappointing first Test, and then the second just shows what happens when you've got someone of the quality of Kevin Pietersen in the side scoring runs.
“It seems his reintegration's going very well. Getting all those runs, nearly half of (England's 413), just shows what a key component he is in that side.
“I was so pleased to see Monty do well as well. He's been a great performer for England and left on the sidelines a little bit but I can see now he's going to be challenging Graeme Swann for that number one spinning spot.
“Monty's a fine bowler and the squad are now in a great position where they've got competition for places.”
It is likely England will keep the same team for the 3rd Test next week too. The only potential change is that Steve Finn could come in for the out of sorts Stuart Broad, but a decision won’t be made on this until next week.
Gambling on selection is something discussed in weekly poker blogs all the time, but it does apply to cricket too. Will England risk bringing Finn in after very little cricket?
What England need to do is replicate everything they did well in the 2nd Test. Cook needs to lead from the front, Pietersen needs to show his class and spin twins Panesar and Graeme Swann need to work together superbly for the second match running.
Then, if other members of the team – including the low on runs Jonathan Trott – raise their game too, England could take the lead in this fascinating series.
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