Pietersen ready to lead England against South Africa

June 28th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 28 (IANS) Kevin Pietersen, who has been appointed the England captain in place of banned Paul Collingwood, says he is ready to lead the side against South Africa, the land of his birth. “That would be great,” Pietersen, who could get his wish granted as soon as August, was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

Pietersen got the job of leading England’s one-day side New Zealand’s dramatic one-wicket win saw regular skipper Collingwood being banned for four games due to slow over rate.

Collingwood will be under the ban when England play South Africa in the one-off Twenty20 international Aug 20 at the Riverside and the first one day international of a five-match series at Headingley two days later.

Pietersen, who was born in Pietermaritzburg, controversially quit South Africa in protest against the racial quota policy, which he believed, was hampering his chances of making it as a professional player.

Some English cricket fans may be uneasy with a South African-born captain of their national side - and plenty of South Africans are not thrilled by the prospect either, even though Pietersen’s mother is English.

“I get it at every single ground,” Pietersen said. “At The Oval, the other day, fielding on the boundary, there were a lot of South Africans in the crowd, hammering me. That’s just what I’ve got to deal with.

“At the end of the day, people can see how passionate I am and how much I want to win for England,” added Pietersen, who made his debut for English county Nottinghamshire in 2001 before qualifying for his adopted country three years later.

“That’s the only thing I think about, winning games for England. I love playing for England, it’s the best thing ever.”

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