| Kevin Pietersen
It is unlikely that Englandís selectors will pay heed to Kevin Pietersenís cri de coeur for some free time, but next Thursdayís first Test against India at Lordís could offer an intriguing insight into the Ďrest versus restlessnessí debate that has raged ever since cricket became a year round job.
Englandís squad will be announced on Sunday, and while it is almost certain to involve the same personnel who beat the West Indies at Durham in the last Test, there could be notable differences in energy levels following the break afforded to four of the team ó Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Strauss and Stephen Harmison.
Instead of playing in the NatWest Series against the West Indies, something the other squad members did, they have enjoyed the best part of a two and a half week break while the weather and Twenty20 has been played out. That did not stop Harmison from suffering a recurrence of his hernia injury, something that will give the selectors cause for concern.
A mid-season hiatus is unusual, though that did not prevent Pietersen admitting his envy when he appeared at a promotional on Wednesday.
Pietersen has gone to the South of France for a few days before the England team meet up in London on Monday, but not before plugging a sponsor before he left.
Anyway, there is a fine line when it comes to inactivity. Too much and bowlers can lose their rhythm, something Harmison is prone to do. Fortunately he will have two LV Championship games ó hernia permitting ó before meeting Indiaís formidable middle order.
The break seems to have done Vaughan no harm either, Englandís captain top scored with 74 in the Roses match at Old Trafford. Strauss also got some runs, scoring 38 and 53 against Derbyshire following a lean spell that had seen him dropped from Englandís one-day side. Yet with the next Test at Lordís, a favourite scoring ground of Strauss, the selectors will probably stick by him.
When India toured in 2002, England got around the dilemma by playing two allrounders, Andrew Flintoff and Craig White. With Flintoff injured, that option is no longer available to them. It would also mean extra responsibility for Pietersen to get a big score, an added pressure his exhausted mind would not welcome. The Daily Telegraph