Pietersen to stay at four

English captain Andrew Flintoff has stressed that the promotion of Kevin Pietersen to number four on the batting line-up was not a knee-jerk reaction, but rather a long term move.

Pietersen, England’s shining light with the bat on their Ashes tour of Australia, had been batting at five for the first three and a half Test matches and was left stranded with the tail on many occasions. There were numerous calls coming from critics for him to swap positions with Paul Collingwood at four.

Despite the move being an initial failure, clean bowled by Stuart Clark for one, England will be sticking with the change, Flintoff said.

“Kevin asked if he could bat at No.4, and he’s been in good touch,” Flintoff said.

“He started the tour batting at five and he feels he can do the job at No.4 so he asked to go up there.

“The way’s he’s been playing, you wouldn’t say no.

“He’s been fantastic all trip, so why not give him that opportunity he wants?”

Coach Duncan Fletcher echoed his captains thoughts about the move.

“We had a discussion and he said he’d rather move up than be caught with the tail that we’ve got at the moment so we’ve decided Kevin will bat at number four through to the end of the Sydney Test.

“We’ve always wanted him to bat at number four where the top batter should bat. He didn’t want to be batting with the tail all the time so he thought if he went to four he would have better batters batting behind him.”

Fletcher said Paul Collingwood was not upset by the demotion and he recognized the benefit it had to the team.

“We discussed it with Paul Collingwood and he said he would do what is best for the team. He appreciates Kevin is a better batter than him and he said it does seem wrong that he’s batting with the tail and we’re not using Kevin to his full potential.”

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