England one-day captain Alastair Cook has said his team is ready to win the ODI series against South Africa even without Kevin Pietersen, who is out of the team following the text message scandal that threatens to end his international career.
Pietersen will be absent again throughout the five-match one-day series, which starts in Cardiff on Friday.
The 32-year-old has been cast into exile after angering England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower by sending texts to South African players that allegedly contained criticism of the duo.
Cook has led England to the top of the 50-over rankings on the back of 10 wins in 2012 and, and believes that Pietersen's absence won't damage their hopes.
He said: "There's not really that much change here. He (Pietersen) hasn't been around the one-day squad for a year or so now. It's given other people an opportunity - obviously Ian Bell at the top of the order and Ravi has come into the middle order and played well. That is always encouraging when people step up to the plate like that.
"We are going to need more of that in these five games - that players at certain times in this series step up and be counted and put in a match-winning performance."
Pietersen is expected to meet Strauss and Flower later this week in a bid to take the first steps in resolving their differences, Sport24 reports.
Cook admits positive talks between the various parties are essential if Pietersen is to be welcomed back into the England dressing room.
England must win the ODI series to ensure they remain at the top of the International Cricket Council's world one-day rankings.