London, May 24 (ANI): England captain Alastair Cook has said that star batsman Kevin Pietersen is 'progressing well' during his recovery from knee injury for returning to the team in time for the Ashes.
Although he admitted that the shadow of Pietersen's absence would hang heavily over England at Headingley during the second Test against New Zealand, however, Cook said that Pietersen's expected return for the Trent Bridge Ashes game would raise the stakes for Nick Compton and Jonny Bairstow, whose place he threatens, the Guardian reports.
Cook further said that although they can never be sure with injuries, he is confident that Pietersen is recovering fast, adding that the batting icon will come back more fitter and better than before, creating competition for places in the squad.
According to Cook, Pietersen's return will be fortunate as with the increased competition, the English players will become all the more determined to score as many runs as possible.
Praising his new opening partner Compton and upcoming batsman Joe Root, Cook said that both of them fully justified their selection, adding that Compton has shown the determination and the talent needed to be at the top of the order and the character necessary to fight there.
On Root, Cook said that the young batter has etched himself a place in the national squad with the amount of runs he scored while playing county games from his side Somerset, adding that he is sure that at some stage in the future, Root will be opening the batting. (ANI)