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05-31-2013, 02:56 PM #1
[Cricket] Cook looking forward to Pietersen return
England captain Alastair Cook believes the return of Kevin Pietersen will be a boost ahead of the upcoming Ashes series with Australia.
Pietersen has not played since the second Test of England's tour of New Zealand back in March because of a knee injury.
The batsman was absent for the home series against Brendon McCullum's side, which Cook's men dominated, easing to a 2-0 win.
However, despite the performances of Joe Root during the victories over New Zealand, Cook feels the prospect of a Pietersen comeback for the visit of Australia will give the team encouragement.
"It is great news for English cricket to have him back playing again, obviously practising first of all. It is encouraging that he is progressing well from that injury," Cook said.
"Things are looking positive on that note, and hopefully it will not be too long before he is back out in the middle."
Pietersen will not take part in the one-day international series with New Zealand, which starts on Friday, and will not be ready in time for the last ever ICC Champions Trophy, which begins on June 6.
Cook, however, stressed that the ODI series victory in New Zealand in February should give his side confidence ahead of the upcoming three-game duel.
"Of course we do (take confidence from the beating New Zealand). Every time you have had recent success against an opposition you can take confidence from that," the captain added.
"Obviously New Zealand are a very strong one-day team, their record in big trophies and big games proves that. So it's really good test for us again in our conditions and for getting used to the one-day conditions back in England for these three games."