Ashes 2013: Kevin Pietersen's third Test chances 'pretty good'
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
England batsman Kevin Pietersen's chances of being fit to play in the third Ashes Test are "pretty good", according to captain Alastair Cook.
Pietersen has been a doubt for the Old Trafford match, which starts on Thursday, after suffering a calf strain in the second Test victory 10 days ago.
He was unable to field in Australia's second innings as England won at Lord's to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Cook said they would decide on Thursday morning whether Pietersen plays.
"He has come through training the last two days," said Cook. "He has worked incredibly hard with the medical team so fingers crossed."
But he added: "If it flares up during a match, then it leaves you disadvantaged. You're either injured or you are not.
"It is a difficult game to go into if you are not 100% fit."
James Taylor is in the squad as cover but the Nottinghamshire batsman may not be required as Pietersen trained on Wednesday with little indication his injured calf was hampering him.
Pietersen batted for 15 minutes as England's preparations mostly took place indoors because of the wet weather in Manchester.
The 33-year-old did venture outdoors briefly, for three 30-yard shuttle runs on a damp outfield, but quickly went back inside.
Pietersen returned to the England fold for the Ashes after a knee injury in the second Test against New Zealand in March ruled him out of action for three months.
Cook gave no indication as to whether 6ft 7in pace bowler Chris Tremlett would return to the team for the first time since England lost to Pakistan in Dubai in January 2012 following his call-up to the squad at the expense of Steve Finn.
"It's great for us as a squad that he is back," Cook added. "He has been unlucky with injuries since his last Test match.
"He has been working hard. It is great for competition for places."
England can retain the Ashes if they avoid defeat at Old Trafford, but Cook is refusing to get swept along with talk that a whitewash could be on the cards.
He said: "It's dangerous to start thinking of a 5-0. We are a very good side but we take games one step at a time."
The third Test will see Ashes cricket return to Old Trafford for the first time in eight years, with the redeveloped ground now holding 25,750 - second only to Lord's (30,000) in capacity among England's Test grounds.
"It's a good cricket wicket," Cook added. "Since the remodelling of the pitch [the square has been rotated through 90 degrees] it might have lost a little bit of that Old Trafford pace that used to be here.
"But it is a great place and with the new development it is looking very nice. We usually get the break of the ball here and hopefully that can help us again this week."
At the end of the day the current Eng team is successful and has been for several years now - this is a result of the Eng selectors and management making the right decisions. We are all experts of course, but my faith is in the people that really know!
KP easily England's most talented batsman. No doubt there.
However, in comparison to a 70% fit KP, an in-form Taylor deserves a call-up; he's earned it.
btw taylor will score many test runs for england!
He just scored 121* against an attack compromising of 2 possibly 3 bowlers that will play in the next test for Australia. He didn't score enough against SA the best bowling attack in world cricket. But in terms of run scoring you can only play what's in front of you.He's averaging over 100 in YB40 and has scored 800+ runs in FC cricket. Technique hasn't changed much he's just improved!
For those of us (older than about five!!) who remember us getting stuffed in most matches you have to wonder what these kids are on...
if we look at the percentage of total test innings where they have failed to score 40+
so how can he fail too often when he reaches at least 40 more often than either trott or cook ?
amazing how dislike can cause selective amnesia in so many people
So experience is still a factor in choosing between KP & Taylor, presuming both fit.
Can't underestimate its value. KP has done it all before, he may be going through a lean spell but the more he plays the more the likelihood of a big innings.
No half tons after the next 2 tests and if the series is won, then rethink.
He's no more or less out of form than Cook or Trott.
Getting Tremlett back in the side (probably not at Old Trafford) is key. I haven't seen a spell of sustained accurate line-and-length bowling like he came up with in Australia for absolutely years.