James Anderson: Kevin Pietersen "vital" to England

Anderson: Pietersen
© PA Photos
England's James Anderson speaks of his delight at Kevin Pietersen's return to the Test side from injury.

James Anderson has hailed Kevin Pietersen as "vital" to England's chances of retaining The Ashes over the next six weeks.

The number four batsman missed the recent Test series against New Zealand with a knee injury and has only recently returned to action for both county and country.

"We're definitely a better team for Kevin's inclusion," said the bowler. "He's just an extraordinary player. There's not really any down side at the minute.

"We saw it this week in the match at Chelmsford. I know he only got 49, but it just seemed far too easy for him.

"He seemed in great form. An in-form Kevin Pietersen is vital to our team going forward."

The first of five Tests between England and Australia will start on Wednesday morning at Trent Bridge.

A general view of Lord's.
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