London:Former captain David Gower is impressed by the persuasion skills of England captain Kevin Pietersen, who convinced his scared teammates to land in Abu Dhabi for the preparation of the Test series against India.
Gower said Pietersen was smart enough to convince even reluctant duo of Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison as their absence would have made England very vulnerable.
"I have no idea what was said in those phone calls or how Pietersen made his pitch but I can imagine that the way to sell the training camp in Abu Dhabi was relatively simple," Gower wrote in his column for 'The Times'.
"It would have been easy enough to tout the Three Musketeers' "All for one and one for all" line, with the attached assurance that going to the Middle East did not necessarily mean everybody had signed up for the next, potentially more dangerous step," he said.
The former skipper said by convincing his teammates to be ready to travel to Abu Dhabi en route to India, Pietersen has had done immense good to his image as India's friend.
"It works on all levels. Pietersen is shown to be a true leader. The team show willing and, as the captain said, can be seen to be ready to stand 'shoulder to shoulder' with the Indians in their time of crisis," he said.
Gower also felt that the gesture of accepting to travel to India, provided security arrangements allow, would help England players market themselves well for the second edition of the Indian Premier League.
"There is a bonus for the players - not that it is the main focus of their thinking at the moment - that they can be seen as supporters of India and available should they be in the running for a spot in the Indian Premier League.
"Well, it can't do any harm, can it? On that point, not that I am for a moment suggesting it would be at the top of the agenda for Pietersen himself, even he would have to admit it paints him as a friend of India and thus makes him yet more marketable there," he said.
"He is savvy enough to know that (and, if questioned, savvy enough to deny it is in any way part of his thinking). Anyway, he has emerged so far in this tale with a lot of deserved credit, so let me not deny him that," added Gower.
He, however, was waiting to see how Pietersen or the English board deals with players who refuse to tour even after getting the security expert's go-ahead.
"If Reg Dickason's report suggests the journey is safe, there is still a chance that one or more players who would have to get on that next plane might demur, in which case we would see whether the captain and Hugh Morris, who has also played a fine knock over the past few days as the ECB's main man, can be forceful rather than purely persuasive," he said.