Pietersen confident England can cope with Bopara injury ahead of Sri Lanka Test
10:27 GMT, 23 March 2012
Kevin Pietersen does not believe England's Test plans have been too badly affected by Ravi Bopara's side strain.
Bopara was pencilled in to take over from the dropped Eoin Morgan at No 6 for the two-match series against Sri Lanka, with his medium-pace bowling a handy option to relieve the frontline seamers in scorching heat and humidity.
But the Essex all-rounder is unlikely to be fit to bowl for the remainder of the trip having injured his side in the first innings of the tourists' warm-up victory over Sri Lanka's Development XI.
Knock: Ravi Bopara strained his side ahead of England's match with Sri Lanka
That raised the hopes of Samit Patel, who can bat in the top six and offers a steady left-arm spin alternative, and even Tim Bresnan, who would bat at seven but strengthen the bowling ranks.
Pietersen, though, believes Bopara's chances have not been overly compromised.
'I'm not sure it's a big setback, because he's hardly going to take you seven wickets in a Test match,' said Pietersen as the team prepared to set off for Galle, which plays host to the first Test on Monday.
'He might bowl you four overs (in an innings). I can bowl those overs, Jonathan Trott can bowl those four overs. It's not a massive setback.'
In fact, Pietersen's primary concern is over the energy-sapping conditions that await England.
squad went through over 400 bottles of water as they fielded on day one
of their last practice match, with the players visibly wilting as the
Draining: Kevin Pietersen admits the heat has troubled England in Sri Lanka
Even longer stints in the field could be in front of them in the Test series and Pietersen stressed the challenge that represents.
'It's unbelievable, make no bones about that,' he said.
'The heat, I think, is the biggest threat to us. But it's something we have to try to get over as quickly as possible.
trying to just not do too much and to conserve a lot of energy, not run
around like a crazy fool like you do in England or Australia or South
Africa, where you can afford to do that.
'It's something we have to try to control. We've been out here for two weeks and it has got a lot better.'
Prep: England celebrate victory over the Sri Lankan Board Development XI
Pietersen is also aware that Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka's first-choice spinner, is waiting to test the theory that he has a blind spot against slow left-armers but he is clear about which problem he is most concerned about.
'Sri Lanka have magnificent players – obviously the likes of (Mahela) Jayawardene, (Kumar) Sangakkara and (Tillakaratne) Dilshan – but their attack is very good too,' he said.
'They've got a left-arm spinner, Herath, who bowls wicket to wicket and you saw against Pakistan what a guy like Abdur Rehman did to us.
'Left-arm spin is a huge part of the game now and it's not going to be easy at all.'