Andrew Strauss: Right time for Kevin Pietersen to return

Last Updated: 22/10/12 7:32pm

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Former captain Andrew Strauss says England's tour to India is the right time to reintegrate Kevin Pietersen to the Test squad.

Pietersen was banished from the squad after sending provocative text messages to members of the touring South African team in the summer.

Pietersen subsequently apologised and held talks with the ECB, England coach Andy Flower and Strauss' replacement as captain Alastair Cook.

Last week the Surrey batsman was added to the squad for the forthcoming tour.

"He's back in the side now. Now the players need to concentrate on making that decision the right one. And really a challenge like a tour to India is a good way of doing that."
Andrew Strauss on Kevin Pietersen

Strauss says it is now important that all parties work hard to make Pietersen's return to the team as quick and harmonious as possible.

"It's important for England cricket that you have one of your best batsmen in the side," he told Sky Sports News.

"It's important that the dressing room is harmonious and everyone is working towards the same goal.

"He's back in the side now. Now the players need to concentrate on making that decision the right one. And really a challenge like a tour to India is a good way of doing that.

"That forces you to rely on each other quite a lot. I'm sure that Kevin is doubly determined to come in and make an impact.

"It's up to the players and Andy and Alastair and Kevin himself to really make sure that everything is harmonious and that people individually and collectively move on from everything that has happened in the last few months."

Strauss, who was one of the subjects of Pietersen's texts, says the reintegration will be easier now that he has retired.

Strauss said: "A lot had happened and during that period we were quite estranged from each other.

"Maybe it actually makes it easier for the team that I'm not there because some of it was directed to me. It would have been harder if I'd stayed.

"Nine-tenths of my time as England captain I found him a good guy to have in my team. But Kevin has since come up to me and apologised for it and I respect that. He seemed contrite and I think he was sincere."

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