Cricket

Kevin Pietersen has some advice for England team going out to Australia

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Kevin Pietersen believes that England will be beaten before they begin if the team is not allowed the freedom to make mistakes.

Speaking to ESPN ahead of the Ashes tour, the former England batsman worries that the fallout from Ben Stokes' arrest and suspension risks leaving the players unable to relax properly.

"When we had the great tour Down Under in 2010-11, we had the most incredible couple of nights out at the start of that tour, which brought the team so close together," said Pietersen

"Before the 2013 trip, we were talking about having similar nights out to get the team bonded, but obviously it was too intense going into the 2013 series and those sort of opportunities didn't present themselves - or weren't allow them to present themselves - which caused issues."

The two tours of 2010-11 and 2013-14 couldn't have gone any more differently.

England took the former 3-1, but were utterly destroyed in the latter, losing 5-0 - a series that would prove to be Pietersen's last for England.

Having experienced both sides of touring, the South African-born former Test captain says that the potential of team bonding shouldn't be underestimated.

"I know that it sounds so stupid, but if you go and get hammered as a team on a night out - as senior and junior players - so long as you don't do something ridiculously stupid, the bonds you can create there are better than any ridiculous sessions you can do in the forest in Germany.

"Those are the little bits and pieces of cricketing nous and sense of understanding a team that were good on that tour but horrendous in 2013-14."

Pietersen also spoke at length about the idea of 'personal responsibility' in the wake of Ben Stokes' troubles, again believing that more trust needs to be put in players - but that they need to understand what that means.

"Personal responsibility has grown men in any industry, I think," he said. "It is key to your success and your development because I think you can develop more as a person if you do things yourself.

"I wanted to make mistakes to learn, but people always knew I was fully committed and that I trained my absolute backside off at the ground, and also away from the ground, and that's how I would definitely like a team that I was involved in to behave.

"It's your job and your career, and if you mess it up, there will be another one on the conveyor belt that's going to come in and take your place. So, if I was the leader of a group of players, I'd give them that rope and say if you're going to go hang yourself, you'll hang yourself.

"You can go out as long as you're sensible, it doesn't matter. You have to enjoy your career, you're away from home so much, you're not in your own bed. You cannot just be 'hotel, team coach, dressing room, practice, play, journalism, hotel, food' ... you just can't do it, it's just not in you. You've got to go out there and you've got to pick your moments, and when you pick them, you take that pink ticket and you have a good go.

"Do whatever you want, but don't get caught drinking at 2 o'clock on the morning before a game, don't get caught fighting in the streets, don't get caught doing things you shouldn't be doing before the games and, in particular, before training days, because those always stood me in good stead for when I went into battle.

"If you lost form and didn't play well then I would support you because none of us are going to get things right all the time. But if you go and damage the reputation of my side, then I'd have issues."

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Topics:
Cricket
The Ashes
Kevin Pietersen
Joe Root
Australia cricket
England cricket

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