England can cope without Pietersen, says Swann


England off-spinner Graeme Swann has insisted the side will not be weaker for the absence of Kevin Pietersen for this week’s third Test against South Africa at Lord’s. Even though star batsman Pietersen scored a superb 149 in the second Test at Headingley, he was dropped after failing to reveal the contents of text messages allegedly sent to South African players during that match. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) told Pietersen his selection was contingent upon him either confirming publicly no derogatory texts about his team-mates had been sent to South African players or, if they had, to apologise for them. Pietersen has yet to respond to the ECB’s request, amidst allegations the texts contained disparaging remarks about England captain Andrew Strauss. But Swann was adamant the furore would have no impact upon a Test starting Thursday that England must win to retain their world number one ranking in the five-day game.