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Swann: We might be better off without KP
Spinner Graeme Swann has insisted that England will be able to cope without ostracised batsman Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen has been dropped for the final Test match against South Africa at Lord's after failing to formally deny that he had sent derogatory messages about other England players to members of the Proteas setup - despite releasing a video on YouTube where he declared himself available and committed to England in all forms of the game.
Some pundits have worried how England will cope without arguably the most talented batsman they can call on - South Africa will rise to No. 1 in the Test rankings with another win - but Swann believes that is the wrong way to look at things, arguing that performances should now be better with everyone working towards the same common cause.
"We need to pull in the same direction, not 10 of us doing it and one of us not," Swann noted in his Sun column. "Just because you lose one player, it doesn't necessarily make you a weaker team.
"In fact, since Kevin retired from limited-overs cricket, we are unbeaten in all matches in the shorter formats."
However, he later noted: "The fact that he is abundantly talented has never escaped anybody."
Pietersen's volatile relationship with other members of the England dressing room has been discussed in increasing detail over the past few days, but Swann - who missed the last Test match at Headingley - denies there have been long-running difficulties between players.
"I was certainly shocked by those claims. I don't know if there were developments during the week at Headingley after I left, but it was news to me," Swann said. "And, speaking to a couple of the other lads, it was news to them as well.
"I'd just say that, if there were issues, we pride ourselves on having a very open dressing room and he certainly didn't mention any problems to anyone else."