AFTER masterminding a superb Ashes win I am not sure that I should be questioning the judgement of England coach Andy Flower.
However, the revolutionary move of deciding that Kevin Pietersen should open the batting for England in the World Cup is just so left-field I am struggling to imagine what inspired such a change of approach.
For all his natural talent and his ability to please the crowd with his intuitive way of scoring runs for fun, one thing KP has never struck me as is a batsman who is going to lay the foundation for an innings – even in limited overs cricket.
Before going to Australia this winter Pietersen (pictured) claimed to be a changed man and that he was ready to buckle down and bat responsibly and sensibly when required to do so.
However, the evidence of his performances suggested that this was definitely a work in progress as KP hardly enjoyed the best of times despite England’s Ashes success.
It could be that Flower promoting KP to the top of the order is his way of forcing the issue and putting the batsman in a position where he has to focus on staying at the crease.
The experiment got its first airing in the warm-up game against Canada and KP’s performance was judged as being ‘acceptable’ before he was ousted for 24, but tellingly the top scorer was Matt Prior – the previous incumbent of the one-day opening role – who bagged 78.
Only time will tell if the decision to switch a man who seemed a perfect No4 to the top of the order is a masterstroke of course and KP could emerge from the tournament, which kicks off tomorrow when Bangladesh face India at Mirpur, as the man who inspired England, managing to add the World Cup crown to that of the Twenty20 title secured in Barbados last May.
I, for one, will not be holding my breath.