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KP: Sehwag can change a game single-handedly
- England batsman blasts team’s pre-World Cup programme

New Delhi: England batsman Kevin Peterson, who himself can change a game single-handedly, feels destructive Indian opener Virender Sehwag and West Indian Chris Gayle are the other two batsmen capable of turning a match on its head.

“There are a few players I admire as game changers today. Virender Sehwag is one of them, he opens the batting and you know as an opposing player that within 10-15 overs of a Test match or 10-15 overs of a 50-over match, the man can change the game,” Pietersen said.

“Another such player is Chris Gayle from the Caribbean, who does a similar type of job as Sehwag. These are the two guys I love watching and love playing against,” he added.

The flamboyant 30-year-old, whose switch-hit gets him as much applause as criticism, said that he always tries to innovate to make the sport interesting for the fans.

“I constantly try to give something new to what you do. In the current highly competitive scenario, it’s really important to surprise the opposition with unexpected actions and to change the face of the game by scoring boundaries,” Pietersen said.

“Cricket is a sport that has evolved so much and being a part of that evolution... bringing something new when we play... keeps the fun alive, not only for us but for the fans, as well,” he added.

Pietersen said he practices the switch-hit for long hours at the nets.

“I spend hours and hours in the nets, practising the switch-hit, trying to perfect it. I have perfected it a couple of times in the game situations. But yes, it’s something new, something fresh, it’s a game-changing shot,” he said.

Recalling the first time he used the shot, Pietersen said, “...we were playing against New Zealand a couple of years ago; Scott Styris was bowling off-cutters at me with a packed leg-side field, the only way to hit a boundary being the orthodox way. I could either play straight or take a risk by hitting over the fielders.

“I decided to apply all the practice and the preparation that I had done for the switch-hit. I knew that if I will hit it, it will land in a safe area and if I miss hit, I’ll probably be outside the line of off-stump. It went on well the first time. The next time I switched, Styris was clever and bowled a slow delivery. This time it came out as a better shot as I had time to hold my stance and power the ball away,” he said.

Pietersen also blasted England’s pre-World Cup programme, claiming the hectic schedule could undermine their chances in the subcontinent.

England will leave for the World Cup in the subcontinent just three days after their ongoing tour of Australia, which began in October last year.

Pietersen believes their previous failings in 2007, 2003 and 1999, where they have failed to reach the semi-finals, has been a result of a crowded calendar.

Pietersen said: “Our schedule is ridiculous going into this World Cup. It has been for England teams for a very long time, and that’s probably why England have not done well in World Cups.

“How can the England team play once and then in six days’ time play again, and then in six days’ time play again. It’s ridiculous but there’s nothing we can do about the schedules.”

England’s preparation has been further rocked by their mounting injury list.

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