LITESPORT 42 Wednesday, 22 July 2009 London Lite Watson:Wevegonedownhillwithoutsledging SHANE WATSON fears Australias competitive edge has been blunted since they were told to stop sledging. Cricket Australia reminded captain Ricky Pontings squad of their responsibility as role models before the Ashes began and the worlds top Test nation now find themselves 1-0 down in the series before next Thursdays third Test at Edgbaston. Watson said: One thing Cricket Australia have said to us is to make sure we know where the line is. It is a sticky one because of course the general public in Australia want us to be perfect role models and the hardest thing when you play is to be extremely competitive and not cross the line, in terms of the things the general public dont want us to do like spitting and swearing. As a group we dont want to lose the edge. That is the reason we have been so good in the past because of how competitive we are -- we dont take a backward step. We have got to make sure we do everything we can to win, in the end, because that is what Cricket Australia and the Australian public do want. I play hard and I play fair. I dont want to cross the line in any way but I find that is when I am at my best. That is how I love playing cricket, being very competitive. Watson is set to play for Australia against Northamptonshire in a three-day tour match, starting on Friday, as the tourists assess their options for Edgbaston with Brett Lee still suffering from a rib injury and Mitchell Johnson struggling for form. Watson said: They havent named the team yet but I am fit to play and raring to go. I am very excited. BY NEAL COLLINS Losing the edge: Aussie Shane Watson Teed off: Ponting golfing yesterday 2 Englands best batsman told he has to undergo op on his injured Achilles EXCLUSIVE BY NEAL COLLINS Kevin and hell: Pietersen suffering with his Achilles tendon during the Lords Test PIETERSENS OUT ENGLAND were today stunned by the news that Kevin Pietersen, one of the heroes of the epic 2005 triumph over Australia, is out for the rest of the Ashes series. Pietersen, 29, has been ruled out of action for six weeks after deciding to have surgery on his troublesome Achilles tendon today. After being assessed by a leading specialist earlier this morning, it was decided that surgery was the best option. Pietersen said: As an England cricketer the Ashes are the pinnacle of the game so Im absolutely devastated to be missing the rest of this series. Up until now the Achilles injury has been manageable but it recently reached the point where we needed to look at other options in terms of treatment. I hate missing matches for England and especially during an Ashes summer but now that the decision has been made to undergo surgery Im confident I can return to the England team injury-free following a course of rehabilitation. Pietersen first incurred the discomfort earlier this summer and sat out the one-day series against the West Indies to recuperate. He was also forced to miss the upset defeat against Holland during the World Twenty20 tournament but appeared to have recovered sufficiently for the Ashes series. Butthecombinationof restandpainkilling injections could not get him through English crickets biggest showdown. Following a consultation, involving scans andtesting,withtheworldsleadingAchilles specialist, Kevin Pietersen today underwent surgery on his right Achilles tendon, con- firmed England and Wales Cricket Board chief medical officer Nick Peirce. The operation involved a small incision andtrimmingof thebloodvesselsandnerves around the inflamed tendon and appears, at this early stage, to have been routine. Kevinwilllooktoundertakeacomprehen- sive rehabilitation programme to ensure there is no risk of recurrence. This is expected to be approximately six weeks but will be taken at an appropriate pace following constant review. Although Pietersen played in the 115-run victory over Australia at Lords which fin- ished with such drama on Monday, he spent lengthy spells off the field and was clearly in pain when running. I was pleased with the previous course of treatmentasitallowedmetotakepartinthis Ashes series but unfortunately the injury has recently deteriorated, said Pietersen. To leave a winning dressing room at this time is heartbreaking but it wouldnt be fair to the team or myself to continue given the severity of the injury. Ill be supporting the team closely and wish them the best of luck as they look to build on the brilliant win at Lords and reclaim the Ashes. Pietersens place in the team is likely to be taken by Ian Bell (above), the Warwickshire batsman, who would be playing on his home ground. Bell would probably bat at three -- though he was out for just seven against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl this morning. Ravi Bopara wouldthenbatinPietersenspositionatfour. 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