Jan 10, 2009

Sport - Cricket;Warne warns opponents to be wary of dangerous backlash from wounded Pietersen

Melbourne, Jan 9 (ANI): Kevin Pietersen's good friend and former Hampshire teammate Shane Warne has warned that Pietersen would be an even more dangerous and committed player now that he has relinquished the England captaincy.

Pietersen resigned from his leadership duties on Wednesday after a bitter feud with coach Peter Moores, who was sacked soon after Pietersen quit.

As Pietersen prepares to head to the West Indies as a rank-and-file player under new skipper Andrew Strauss, Warne said his controversial mate would become an even more threatening cricket animal.

"Kevin is a guy who likes the limelight, he likes to be the man. He's obviously got a pretty big ego as well, so that will be dented a bit. But he's also got the ability, no matter what's going on, to perform," Warne said.

"One thing is for sure. England needs Kevin Pietersen. He's their best player and one of the best players in the world and England needs him to perform.

"This situation will stir his emotions. He'll be bitterly disappointed at the lack of support from the England Cricket Board and I'm sure this will drive him to become an even stronger player. Come the Ashes, beware of Kevin Pietersen because he could lift his game to another level," he said.

Warne said that on a personal note he wished the situation had never occurred.

"As a friend of Kevin, I'm disappointed he's no longer captain of England. The thing with him he was only going to improve as he went, like every captain does." (ANI)

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