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Pietersen can fill Botham's role: Gatting

LONDON: Former England captain Mike Gatting has backed Kevin Pietersen to be the current side's batting equivalent of Ian Botham when the South Africa-born shot-maker opens at the World Cup.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior, having won back his place in the squad from rival gloveman Steven Davies, had been a candidate to open although his previous stints at the top of the order had met with mixed success.

And there were suggestions that either one of Ian Bell or Jonathan Trott should partner England captain Andrew Strauss for the first wicket.

Surprise elevation

But England surprised most people outside its camp by promoting Pietersen, normally a No. 4, to the top of the order in a warm-up match against Canada and then announcing it intended to stick with him in his new role for the World Cup. — AFP

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