Kevin Pietersen to open batting against Pakistan in ODI series

England’s Kevin Pietersen will open the batting against Pakistan in the one-day international series in in the United Arab Emirates from Monday.

Pietersen is likely to partner captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order during the four ODIs.

Pietersen opened the innings for England in the 2011 World Cup, playing four matches before being ruled out of the tournament by a hernia injury.

“He is going to be opening the batting for us in this series, and that should be really exciting to watch,” said the coach, Andy Flower.

“We started with him in that position in the World Cup, and unfortunately he got injured and had to go home early. But he showed glimpses of what he could do.”

Flower believes Pietersen could prove to be a match-winner at the top of the order.

“He’s a very, very fine cricketer – a very dangerous cricketer – and someone we’d like to give the option of facing as many balls as possible in the limited-overs game.

“If he stays in long enough, he will win games for us in that position.

“It hasn’t worked out well for him at number four recently, but Iā€™m really excited to see him embrace the challenge of opening.”

Ian Bell has been omitted from England’s one-day squad, but Andy Flower insists the batsman can get back into the side in the future.

“Ian Bell is a very fine player who has had a hard time in this Test series and hasn’t had that many chances recently in one-day cricket for us,” Flower added.

“I spoke to him yesterday about the one-day situation and he was very mature in his acceptance of it. What I did say to him was that this doesn’t mean that his one-day career is necessarily over.

“He’s not too old to fight his way back into the side and he’s a very fine international cricketer.

“It depends how this group of players plays, whether any gaps open up in the future. If he can fight his way back in, good on him.”

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