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Thread: Ashes 2009: England too hot to handle, says Kevin Pietersen

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    Thumbs up Ashes 2009: England too hot to handle, says Kevin Pietersen

    Ashes 2009: England too hot to handle, says Kevin Pietersen

    Kevin Pietersen

    Kevin Pietersen has issued the most bullish statement of the Ashes build-up to date. Speaking from a sun-baked Edgbaston, Pietersen warned the

    Australians that if the weather stayed good, England's three main seamers would be too hot to handle.

    In the past, dry pitches and bare outfields used to mean perfect conditions for spin bowling. But in the modern era, they have also become manna for 90

    mph seamers with a gift for reverse-swing. This rare and difficult art was the undoing of Australia in 2005, and Pietersen clearly feels it could be again.

    "I'm sure the Australians are hoping that the weather doesn't stay like this

    because with [James] Anderson, [Stuart] Broad and [Andrew] Flintoff bowling reverse-swing the way they do, I wouldn't want to face that.

    "If the weather stays like this the ball will certainly reverse-swing, and we're going to be really tough to play against. I look forward to watching batters

    play it, and if the Aussies do conquer our reverse-swing then it's going to

    take some serious batting, because Flintoff, Broad and Anderson can all bowl at 90 mph swinging it both ways."

    Tomorrow will see the final phase of Flintoff's rehabilitation from a knee cartilage injury, the latest in a list of medical complaints that would make

    impressive reading in the Lancet. On Wednesday, England's first choice attack will begin a three-day warm-up match against Warwickshire on tracks

    at Edgbaston which have been the bane of county bowlers for the past two

    years. A good test then for a group of bowlers forced to evolve without their talisman.

    "We have got good competition for bowlers now," Flintoff said yesterday. "We have seen the way Jimmy and Broady have forged this new ball partnership

    and done well. Jimmy as a bowler has always had the skills and the toys but now he has learnt how to use them. He is dangerous and Broady gets better

    all the time. Then you have Graham Onions who I played against last week and has improved out of sight.

    "Then we have Ryan Sidebottom who is back bowling quick and myself. It is exciting because there is competition in the squad and I haven't even

    mentioned Harmy who is knocking everyone over. It is going to add up to a strong team."

    Today the first of Flintoff's contemporaries, Michael Vaughan, will move into a

    career beyond cricket. It is the moment when many suddenly realise a cricket

    career is a finite period in your life, particularly with the injury problems Flintoff has endured since the 2005 Ashes.

    "Since 2005 it has been tough but the reason you do it [the rehab] is to put

    back on an England shirt and play in an Ashes series and I'm not far away from that," he said.

    "I'm still only 31 and I have still got a bit to go yet but when you miss as much cricket as I have you are going to go out enjoy it. It is about

    cherishing every time you play especially when you put the three lions on."

    Regardless of what happens over the next six weeks, Flintoff will always be

    defined by Ashes cricket due to the heroics of 2005 and the whitewash of 2006-07 when the team collapsed as dramatically as his left ankle.

    "Of course the last Ashes series was my low point as a player having experience the euphoria of 2005 and then the disappointments of 06-07,"

    Flintoff said. "Probably 06-07 was the stronger emotion of the two. But all that is behind us now. We have a new team so instead of dining out on 2005

    and dwelling on 06-07 it is all about what happens over next six weeks. I

    have put a lot of work in over the last few weeks and I just hope I can perform."

    He is not the only one.

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