England’s talismanic spinner, Graeme Swann, is sure that his side have what it takes to retain the World Twenty20 trophy regardless of the fact that their star batsmen, Kevin Pietersen, will not be taking part in the tournament.
Pietersen was left out of England’s Twenty20 squad following a row with the ECB over his contract and allegations about his conduct with the South African team during their recent test series in England.
Whilst recognising Pietersen’s immense talent, Swann is keen to point out that England are not just a one man team.
“Of course we can win it without any single player,” Swann said. “Obviously he [Pietersen] is a world-class player and was the player of the tournament in the West Indies [when England won the tournament in 2010].
"Ideally he would still be a part of the team but hopefully when we get out there the guys who fill that position will do it well.”
Pietersen, who has averaged 38 with the bat in his 36 T20 internationals for England, carries a great deal of experience and his absence has undoubtedly had an effect on their ranking in the T20 World cup betting .
However, Swann is confident that England have a number of younger players and relatively unknown cricket tips who can step up and do a good job for their country.
“Last time we played without him [Pietersen], Alex Hales got 99. The pressure comes from outside. If people focus on it, then it will build, but for the guys who come in they are getting an opportunity and there is always pressure to perform when that happens” Swann said.
England face South Africa in a three match T20 series before heading out to Sri Lanka for the tournament itself, where they face Afghanistan in their opening game on 21st September. Regardless of the young talent that England have coming through, Pietersen will certainly be a big miss for them and it seems doubtful that many fans will share Swann’s confidence.