Oct 30 2012
Kevin Pietersen's return to England colours amounted to mere "business as usual" for his team-mates, on a day when Steven Finn's thigh injury proved a much graver concern.
Pietersen achieved a notable step towards completing his 'reintegration' after his summer of discontent, taking the field for his adopted country for the first time since being dropped for the final Test at Lord's more than two months ago.
Reflecting on a taxing day one of three in the tour opener, which India A finished on 369 for nine at the Brabourne Stadium, his England team-mate Tim Bresnan said: "It's pretty much business as usual. I don't suppose you'd be able to see from the outside looking in ... that it's anything than normal."
He added: "I'm pretty sure most of the lads in the dressing room were expecting it to be like that - and that's what it was like. For the lads, it's nothing different to having [any] player come back into the squad who's been missing for a while."
The South Africa-born batsman's route back to favour has been a tortuous process, involving face-to-face talks with management and senior players and a public show of contrition for his controversial behaviour.
But if there was any lingering resentment following the breakdown in relations over contract wrangles, "provocative" text messages and that spoof Twitter account, it was not in evidence - from a distance at least - as England and Pietersen reacquainted themselves on the field at the start of what is sure to prove a tough Test series against India.
Number six Manoj Tiwary top-scored with 93, after Yuvraj Singh and Abhinav Mukund had both also hit half-centuries, as the hosts flourished despite three hard-earned wickets each for seamer Bresnan and off-spinner Graeme Swann.
It is already well documented that Pietersen's return has been achieved only after a series of meetings with new Test captain Alastair Cook and other players.
"Everyone in the know has sat down and spoken about it," added Bresnan. "But apart from that, for the rest of the boys, I guess it's just like having someone who's been injured coming back into the side.
"There's nothing exceptionally different. He's the same old Kev - energy in the field that he showed today, all day. He's just Kev. It's been good."