Giles: Pietersen could be key man

Kevin Pietersen's match-winning potential has been highlighted by Ashley Giles

Kevin Pietersen's match-winning potential has been highlighted by Ashley Giles

First published in National Sport News © by

Limited-overs coach Ashley Giles has conceded that England cannot easily overlook Kevin Pietersen's match-winning potential when they plan their new era.

England threw away winning positions twice during the 4-1 one-day international series defeat to Australia, to leave Giles wondering what might have been.

A collapse of seven for 58 cost victory in Sunday's final game in Adelaide and, after an even stronger position was relinquished in Brisbane, a young England squad appear short on knowhow 12 months out from a World Cup.

The World Twenty20 is even closer still, starting in Bangladesh on March 16, with the final 15-man squad set to be named early next month.

The addition, or absence, of Pietersen's name is set to be significant after his England future has come under intense scrutiny following the Ashes whitewash.

A failure to pick the controversial right-hander for Bangladesh, or the warm-up limited-overs tour of the West Indies, would likely be seen as the end of his international career.

England have routinely refused to speculate on any player's future since the Ashes and, while Giles did not step away from the party line, when asked if Pietersen could yet have a role to play in the limited-overs arena he replied: "There is a place for anyone who can bring that tempo and win us games. Nothing has changed.

"We have still not picked the West Indies squad, T20 World Cup squad and obviously next year's World Cup squad, but we have to be careful.

"We have a lot of experience in that batting line-up. We have got to use it better."

Giles believes a winter of losing to Australia can be attributed to giving away winning positions, but wants his players to make better decisions in the heat of battle.

Pietersen's shot selection during the Ashes was heavily criticised - as it has been for large parts of his career - but the 33-year-old remains arguably the man most capable of turning a game in an England shirt.

"It is plain and simple decision-making and good skill," Giles said.

"When you get those opportunities to win games for your country you need to grab them.

"You need to want to be that person who gets us over the line and not have the mentality that there are still three people who can come after me who can do the job.

"When you get a window, do the job and get it finished.

"We talked about going to Adelaide on Australia Day and upsetting them and we should have done that. We just got it wrong."

The one apparent certainty in England's planning is Alastair Cook as captain, despite his mid-series wobble.

Cook's self-doubts were evident when he suggested he might walk away from the job after his side went 3-0 down in Sydney, but after consulting with Giles he has pledged to stay on.

Giles said the lessons learned in Australia over the winter had played a big part in reassuring Cook that he would have plenty to offer his side when they return for the World Cup.

"What became clear even though we lost 4-1 is what we need to do," he said.

"We have not gone through this series and said 'never mind, let's try again next time'. We have a pretty clear plan going forwards of what we need to do as a team and what we need to do as individuals.

"We know what those roles look like, how we see the tempo of how we bat. That is exciting for a coach and captain because we can see a way forward.

"We have looked a long way forward and particularly towards the World Cup and in some respects we have got to get back to basics.

"We have to work incredibly hard."

Giles has shown a willingness to pick new faces - with Ben Stokes and Chris Jordan impressing over the winter - and there may still be time for other players in the county ranks to push for a World Cup place.

England's Twenty20 specialists will also get the chance to push their claims in 50-over cricket over the coming months, with this week's series against Australia to be followed by the limited-overs tour of the Caribbean.

Giles is set to take his World Twenty20 squad to the Windies - despite the tour also including three ODIs - with Cook and Ian Bell left at home.

That will leave the door ajar for the likes of Alex Hales, Luke Wright and Jade Dernbach to make a claim for the World Cup.

"There is always time if guys perform well," Giles said.

"County cricket is our base for that and there is also the tour of the West Indies coming up. There will be opportunities for guys to impress."

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