London: England batsman Kevin Pietersen can regain his form if he “clears his mind” before the Ashes series against an Australian side who is no longer the team to beat in Test cricket, feels India’s batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.
“If Kevin Pietersen is thinking right it will reflect in his game and the runs will come. All I would say to him is just be relaxed, be calm and watch the ball as closely as possible because that is what a batsman is meant to do,” Tendulkar told a newspaper.
Tendulkar spoke after receiving the “People’s Choice Award and the Outstanding Achievement in Sport Award,” at the Asian Awards at Grosvenor House last night.
“If Kevin clear his mind and perceives that Australia are no longer the team to beat, he will regain his form. The thought process has to be free flowing and that’s when you react and your body movement is not stiff and tight. If he can clear his mind I am sure his game will improve.”
The iconic batsman gave Australia a torrid time a fortnight ago with his mammoth first-innings score of 214, helping India to a comfortable win over the visitors in Bangalore.
In stark contrast to Tendulkar’s dominance, Pietersen has been struggling, with the last of his 16 Test centuries coming way back in March 2009.
However, with just four weeks to go before the first Ashes Test kicks off in Brisbane, Tendulkar sees a solution to the England batsman’s slump.
Tendulkar became the first cricketer to score 14,000 Test runs as India inflicted a 2-0 series defeat on Australia, a result that was notable for a couple of other reasons too.
Ricky Ponting’s side fell to fifth place in the ICC rankings and, crucially, below England, for the first time since the standings were launched in 2003. With the defeat to Pakistan in July, it was also the first time in 22 years Australia had lost three Tests in a row.
“The Australians competed very hard, which they always do, but India as a team showed tremendous character and a toughness and we were able to beat them quite convincingly by seven wickets in the second Test,” Tendulkar said.
“If we are talking about the side to beat in Test cricket right now, I would say South Africa in South Africa. They compete hard and use their conditions to their advantage.”
Tendulkar has been in blistering form this year and has surged to the top of the ICC Test rankings for batsmen for the first time since 2002.
“I am really enjoying my cricket right now. I don’t know how long I am going to continue playing for but as long as I enjoy myself and feel that I can contribute I will be playing. My age doesn’t worry me - age is in the mind,” the 37-year-old said.