England's attention turns to India

  • Last Updated: October 3 2012, 7:54 BST

England must begin planning in earnest already for their next sub-continental challenge - with or without Kevin Pietersen.

KP: Future remains uncertain

Coach Andy Flower on Tuesday found himself answering an inevitable stream of inquiries about Pietersen's contract status, as well as a more desultory line of questioning on England's failed defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown and their prospects of any success in four forthcoming Tests in India before Christmas.

Pietersen has been absent from England's squad since being dropped for the Lord's Test.

He was subsequently also left off the list of those awarded new annual central contracts last month, and not picked to tour India, following his summer of contract wrangles and then the intrigue over the "provocative" text messages he sent to opposition South Africa players at Headingley.

The 32-year-old batsman has featured in Sri Lanka only as a broadcast pundit, while Stuart Broad's England were engaged in a stuttering campaign which ended in Super Eight defeat against Sri Lanka on Monday and therefore elimination before the semi-final stage.

Flower, Broad et al will be back home by the time there is any more clarity on Pietersen's England future or otherwise.

But the coach did yesterday verbally allude to plans for a press conference on the subject of Pietersen's England future in "the next 36 hours".

No confirmation has been forthcoming from the England and Wales Cricket Board of when the anticipated set-piece - featuring chairman Giles Clarke, and possibly Pietersen too - will take place in Colombo.

In the meantime, Flower can take a well-earned rest - but not for long before he starts plotting with new Test captain Alastair Cook how England can defy the expectations of many by taming India on their home patch.

"I see it as a great challenge for us, out in the sub-continent," he said, making it clear too that he will not approach the expedition with trepidation in the context of a year so far in which England have struggled to live up to the world number one billing they achieved 12 months ago.

"Trying to win in India is tough, but therefore exciting.

"I wouldn't relate it to anything that's gone in the past this year. That will be a challenge on its own."

On the subject of Pietersen, and his possible return to the fold either as an addition to the squad in India or early next year in New Zealand, Flower will have no pre-conceptions about how those in the dressing-room might react to a re-acquaintance with the prodigal superstar.

"I always think that it's dangerous to try and recapture what you've had in the past actually," he said.

"Things are always in a state of flux; you move on and you learn from what experiences you've had, and you evolve.

"I think that's the healthiest way to go about it.

"I don't think trying to recapture the past is what we try to do. We try to move on and be stronger and better and wiser than before."


Click here for a completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet