Trott ready for key England test

Salisbury Journal: Jonathan Trott, left, is happy to have Kevin Pietersen, right, back in the England fold Jonathan Trott, left, is happy to have Kevin Pietersen, right, back in the England fold

England know Kevin Pietersen's 'reintegration' is about to face its acid test, once they move from warm-up to international cricket.

Pietersen and his team-mates are intent on putting his recent past behind them, as they continue preparations for the start of their four-Test series against India at the Sarwar Patel Stadium on Thursday.

Pietersen will know as well as anyone that India will be out to exploit any weaknesses in England's restored harmony over the next six weeks. His fellow England batsman Jonathan Trott said: "Test cricket's got to start again - and when the pressure's on and the chips are down, that's when you need people to perform."

Trott added: "That's when if cracks are tested then they widen, and it becomes more obvious with regards to performance and team dynamics. So when the pressure's on that's when it happens - and we've got to make sure we have all our ducks in a row and we're ready for that."

Pietersen's infamous summer of discontent, and its repercussions, has dominated much of the coverage of the national team since he was dropped for the Lord's Test for disciplinary reasons in August.

Pietersen was added to the tour squad here once coach Andy Flower was satisfied the process of reintegration was appropriately advanced. Then in only his second innings back, he duly raced to an attacking century on a batsman's paradise of a pitch against Haryana last week.

Trott, like all his team-mates, spoke privately with Pietersen in Oxford last month to ensure no one had any lasting grievances over the events of last summer.

"I think a few players got sucked in," Trott said. "But I play the game for cricket, not for any other sort of agenda, so anything that doesn't involve me directly or the actual cricket I play I'm not interested. I think (Kevin is) a fantastic player, and it's great to have him back playing and committed to playing cricket for England again - it's a big thing."

Meanwhile, Graeme Swann rejoined his England team-mates early on Monday morning, after his 8,000-mile return trip home while his baby daughter was unwell. Swann arrived in Ahmedabad at around 6am, having spent a handful of days at home after his flight to the UK in the middle of last week.

Assistant coach Richard Halsall said: "It's great his little one's okay. I wouldn't have thought he'd have been thinking about staying in the Indian time zone back home. He's a fantastic Test cricketer. He's got three days now to get himself ready - and with someone of Graeme's experience, he'll be fine for 930 on Thursday."

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