Sydney: Former Australia batsman Merv Hughes reckons that England batsman Kevin Pietersen is the weak link in the visitors batting line-up for the upcoming Ashes series.
The South African born batsman has averaged just 36.90 since the start of the 2009 Ashes series and has not made a Test hundred since March last year.
“I think Pietersen will be fair game for the Aussie attack. He’s clearly not the same guy who was hitting all those runs when he first broke into international cricket. He was one of the best batsmen in the world at that stage. But over the last year or two he’s had a pretty miserable time with injury, bad form and so on,” the Daily Star quoted Hughes, as saying.
“He has obviously had a few personal things to sort out with losing the captaincy, then not having a county. He has struggled to find time at the crease and, for someone desperately needing some runs, it’s not the best preparation for a very fiercely and closely- contested Ashes.”
“I can certainly see the Aussie fast bowlers licking their lips and relishing the chance to give him more grief,” he added.
The former batsman also believes that sledging is going to make the games interesting on the grounds.
“Sledging has always been part of the game. It may not be as spicy as it used to be – but it’s still there. And it can still have a psychological affect if done properly. I expect the Aussies to let Pietersen and the rest of the England batsmen know they are there and get in their faces,” Hughes said.
“Getting Pietersen out early will be a key. He’s still potentially a dangerous guy if you give him the chance. But I’d back the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger to serve it right up to his ears and get him out,” he added.