Proteas vow to curb Pietersen’s run rate

2009-11-14 14:13

 EVERY time the Proteas play against England, Kevin Pietersen seems to be the targeted batsman.

He has always been exposed to booing from the fans and uncomfortable treatment from some players.

But coach Mickey Arthur maintains they have got over their anger against the star batsman who left his native country to represent England after voicing his displeasure over the racial quota system in the cricket of this country.

“We were probably too emotional the last time he toured here.

“We respect his cricketing skills enormously and our game plans against him will have to be precise and well executed,” Arthur told City Press this week.

Pietersen has proved to be a threat to South Africa right in its own back yard. In his last tour to these shores he blasted a well-played 454 runs from five innings, including a century off 69 balls in East London.

After an Achilles tendon injury sidelined the Pietermaritzburg-born star batsman from the Champions Trophy and the remainder of the Ashes series against Australia after ­playing a single match in Cardiff, he will look at the series to regain his full ­fitness.

Both teams battle it out in a revenge-packed series consisting of five one-day internationals (ODIs), four Tests and two Pro20 matches.

The Poms edged the Proteas out of the Champions Trophy in September with a 22-run victory at SuperSport Park, Centurion.
However, Arthur stressed his charges had recovered from the disappointment and they now face the team they lost to on five consecutive matches with a fresh approach.

“We have put the Champions Trophy behind us and we have admitted that we let ourselves and the country down. We clearly need to win as we have lost five games in a row against them. We must be precise and clinical in order to achieve that,” he said.

While Andy Flower and his charges will be encouraged by their improved Champions Trophy performance, the Proteas can only turn the pages back to last year when they won the Test series in England.

“Our victory in England gave us a lot of confidence because we know we can do it again, particularly at home,” Arthur said.
Pietersen is not the only local blood in the England team. Skipper Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott are other South African-born players in the blue-and-red shirt.

The Proteas seem to have a plan to neutralise the 28-year-old Cape Town-born batsman, who made a steady start to his career in the Ashes series.

“As a former teammate of (Graeme) Smith at the Under-19 level, we probably know more about his make-up, technically and mentally, than any other player,” said Arthur.

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