In the England football team there is the problem left-sided position. In the England Test side, well, there is more than one problem but particularly frustrating of recent months is the troublesome No.3 position.

The fact that we can still harbour the romantic notion of Michael Vaughan re-emerging from a 2002-03 timewarp and flaying the Aussies just shows how troubled we are. So who should it be? Bell? Shah? Bopara? Key? Vaughan? Cook or Strauss?

The answer has been staring us in the face for ages. That’s right, Kev, it’s time. If you are as good as we think you are – and more to the point as you think you are – then what’s stopping you batting at three? Don’t fancy the new ball? Shaky starter? Who isn’t. Just look at Ricky Ponting. And while we’re on the subject of Punter, he bats at three. So did Viv Richards, in the prime of his career. So did Jacques Kallis. And, er, Don Bradman. Sachin Tendulkar isn’t at three but then he’s had Rahul Dravid to do that job for most of his career.

From what one can glean, KP’s place in the batting order has always been something of an issue. He didn’t want to move from five to four for ages, so we’re told. I can’t imagine he’d fancy batting three. But needs must. And Pietersen is England’s one world-class batsman. He told us after the captain-coach fall-out how he only had the best interests of the team at heart. So, show us how much you care, Kev, and step up.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer