|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2009|
DateLine: 9th June 2009
Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen said that T20 World Cup hosts England can now be regarded as real challengers for the coveted title. The right-hander said that the team has overcome the fear of failure and that was quite visible in the manner they played and won emphatically against Pakistan.
Pietersen himself was instrumental in the winning effort. He was making come back from a recurrence of Achilles tendon problems and he inspired the side to a 48-run triumph at the Oval on Sunday which then secured their progress to the Super Eights.
"I spoke to Andy Flower before the game about bringing calmness into the dressing room and it was really calm, it was really positive and we talked about not thinking too hard about the consequences and results of that game," explained Pietersen.
"We just wanted to go out and play cricket like we'd played over the last two or three months and the guys really turned it on. It was a huge game because Pakistan are a fantastic cricket team with good spin bowlers and destructive batsmen and I think our boys showed we're a force to be reckoned with."
The impact of the fearless performance against pakistan is such that Pietersen is confident that if they can continue playing in the same manner, they could be the team to watch as the tournament progresses.
"In the England teams I've played in for a quite a while there have been players who have played with fear, players who think about consequences and what's been written in the media and think about what guys say in the press box," said Pietersen.
"I think the guys went out against Pakistan to put in a performance where they were not worried about what happens. We went out to play positive cricket like we have been playing and it was outstanding."
KP said that it was hurting to see Engalnd lose against Netherlands and the guys were determined to show their real worth.
"When England lose I hate it, whether I'm playing or not playing I absolutely hate it and I'm not a loser.
"The team, the way we're playing, the way we are in the dressing room, we are not a losing team so we were very disappointed about Friday, but the guys showed (against Pakistan) that we're a force to be reckoned with in this competition."
Sunday's win also pointed to the fact that Pietersen is one of the most important members of an English T20 side. It would be pretty important for England that KP stays fit for the remainder of the tournament.
Pietersen had two days of treatment on his troublesome Achilles, although the medical staff now believe it may be connected to a back problem which will only be cured through two or three months complete rest.
Hugh Morris, the managing director of England Cricket, could make the decision for him but Pietersen will resist any attempts to rest and deny him the opportunity to play in major series.
"What cures it is two or three months out of the game and that ain't happening - I'm not missing that," insisted Pietersen. "I didn't want to miss Friday and I certainly wasn't going to miss the game against Pakistan.
"I was going to play in that even if I was only 50% fit because I want to play for England. I love playing for England and I didn't want us to get knocked out of the tournament.
"It's always impossible to get a three or four month break anyway - the only way to do that would be to tear a tendon or a hamstring or something like that. "It would be a decision for Hugh to rest me, but I don't want to put my hand up for it and it hasn't happened before so I can't see that happening."