LONDON, (Reuters) – England stand-in skipper Eoin Morgan is backing Kevin Pietersen to help turn around his side’s fortunes in the second Twenty20 international against New Zealand.
Two days after losing the Champions Trophy final to India, England were back in action at the Oval on Tuesday in the first of two matches, falling five runs short of New Zealand’s imposing total of 201 for four.
Pietersen is expected to return to the England team for the first time since March, when he was forced out of the tour of New Zealand with a knee injury.
He returned to the crease for Surrey on Sunday, hitting an unbeaten 177 against Yorkshire in the Country Championship, and is expected to be available for the second Twenty20 match today, also at the Oval.
“Kevin is a huge part of English cricket and has been for a long time,” Morgan, captain in place of the rested Stuart Broad, told the England and Wales Cricket Board website (www.ecb.co.uk).
“What he brings to the table, probably very few people at the world can.
“He can take the game away from you at any stage and we saw during the week the way he performed.
“He takes a lot of pride in when he goes out there and bats. He looks in good form.
“It’s a very relaxed environment that we have going on at the moment and hopefully he’ll come in and do well.”
Pietersen’s return will also give England a boost ahead of the Ashes series against Australia, starting at Trent Bridge on July 10.
Australia, who sacked their coach Mickey Arthur on Monday and failed to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals, started the first of two tour matches against Somerset yesterday.