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Former Australia batsman Damien Martyn believes that tourist’s biggest fear leading in to Ashes is trying to deal with Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen made his return to cricket against Yorkshire at Headingley last month after spending a sustained period on the sidelines nursing a knee injury picked up in England’s second Test against New Zealand in Wellington in March.
The Surrey man needed no time to settle back in on his return and hit a century to send out a message to England selectors and the Baggy Greens ahead of the series.
England go into the opening Test on July 10 at Trent Bridge as favourites but Martyn insists confidence has improved within the Aussie squad after Mickey Arthur was sacked as coach just 16 days before the opener and subsequently replaced by Darren Lehman.
An incident in which David Warner threw a punch at England batsman Joe Root had also caused some unrest but Martyn believes that they have moved on and pulled together.
When quizzed on who in the England side the Australian side fear most, Martyn was in no doubt.
“Pietersen’s got that X-factor. He hasn’t played much cricket but he’s like Shane Warne – he loves the big moments and Ashes series,” he said.
“There’s only certain players that you can fear and they’re the Pietersens, the (Brian) Laras and (Sir) Viv Richards.
“In Pietersen you can sense he can win a game in a session – he’s dangerous.”