Ashes 2023: Kevin Pietersen Suggests Change In England’s Playing XI Ahead Of Second Ashes Test

After England’s narrow two-wicket defeat to Australia in the first Test at Edgbaston, former England captain Kevin Pietersen has suggested a change in England’s playing XI for the upcoming second Test at Lord’s, Pietersen believes that including Ben Foakes and reshuffling the batting order could strengthen England’s chances of bouncing back in the Ashes series.

Cricket pundits have criticized England’s missed catches and a crucial stumping chance in the first Test, attributing them as contributing factors to England’s loss. The hosts paid a heavy price with six catches going down and a missed stumping by Jonny Bairstow.

Pietersen recommends bringing in wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes, replacing Ben Duckett in the playing XI. Pietersen further proposes that Foakes should take over the wicketkeeping duties from Bairstow.

Pietersen believes Foakes’ inclusion would bolster England’s batting lineup, particularly on flat wickets. He suggests slotting Bairstow as an opener or shifting the entire batting order by one spot to accommodate Foakes as the designated wicketkeeper.

“I don’t think the England team is going to change, that’s not what McCullum and Stokes do, but I would get Foakes in if they’re going to play on flat wickets. I would get him in as quickly as possible. Bairstow has to bat, of course, but I’d drop Duckett and have Bairstow at the top of the order or just move everybody up one spot and play Foakes as the keeper. That’s what I would do,” Pietersen suggested.

Despite the defeat, Pietersen acknowledges that England will likely stick with the same side for the second Test. He appreciates England’s approach of backing their players and disregarding external media opinions. The team’s faith in their squad members is a quality Pietersen admires and believes can foster a positive environment for player performance.

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“I don’t think anything changes, though. They back their players, and I actually like the fact that they back the players that much and don’t worry about what we in the media say,” said Pietersen.

The second Ashes Test will be held at Lord’s from June 28 to July 2, followed by the third at Headingley from July 6 to 10. The series will conclude with the fourth Test in Manchester from July 19 to 23 and the fifth Test at The Oval from July 27 to 31.

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