Reintegration was the buzzword concerning Kevin Pietersen's return to the England team for their series against India but it seems nobody wanted too much modification from him - least of all his team-mates.
"We wouldn't want KP to change too much because it is how he is that makes him special as a player," Matt Prior said yesterday (Thursday) as Alastair Cook's team readied themselves for the first Test in Ahmedabad which starts early tomorrow morning British-time. "If Kev suddenly came as this shy, introverted character I would be more worried to be honest with you."
England's batting tactics for this series revolve around a stoic top three who will look to bat for long periods, followed by risk-takers like Pietersen and Prior, who will put the bowlers under pressure by attacking them. Ian Bell and Samit Patel will flit between the two roles depending on the situation.
"I want Kev to go out and express himself as he does," Prior said. "You only have to walk around India and see these guys who have watched him play in the Indian Premier League. They can't wait to watch him bat and we can't either. I'm glad he's come back the same KP as he was."
He and the rest of England's batsmen will probably have to be at the top of their games given that nobody is quite sure how the pitch here will play. After a reputation for producing bore draws it was relaid at the start of September with significantly less clay content than before - the intention being to allow the pitch to break up and turn. As only the under-15s have played on it since, the effects of a five-day Test are unknown.
Yesterday, the surface looked typical of a pitch in India, being largely bare with the odd crack beginning to open up. Although England are almost certain to leave Steven Finn out of their attack, after the fast bowler sat out most of yesterday's practice, the order from on high within the Board of Control for Cricket in India will have been to make it a slow turner.
England have not played the turning ball well over the past year, getting spun out by Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal in the Emirates last February and cleaned up by Harbhajan Singh in Colombo during the World Twenty20.
Harbhajan is in India's squad for this Test but is unlikely to play, Mahendra Singh Dhoni sticking with his recent spin pairing of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha with Zaheer Khan and young paceman Umesh Yadav to take the new ball.
"They are probably not as mystical as Pakistan's spinners because they don't have too many guys with these different deliveries," Prior said, perhaps oblivious to the mystery ball Ashwin was touting the other day.
"It doesn't make them lesser quality bowlers and we know their knowledge of the conditions will probably help. But we have given ourselves the best opportunity by having a very good and long preparation out here and we go into this Test match feeling fully prepared."
Finn, who looked sharp on Sunday when he sent down five overs in the nets with Stuart Broad, did not bowl at all in yesterday's practice, and cut a somewhat forlorn figure. Unless it is some elaborate mind game, after a team source had indicated that he had overtaken Broad in the race to be fit, England look as if they have settled on three pace bowlers in Broad, James Anderson and Tim Bresnan and one front-line spinner in Graeme Swann, with Patel's left-arm tweakers to fill in the gaps.
With Anderson and Co working hard to get the ball to reverse swing in the nets, and others doing it in the tour game the other day, it looks like being a battle of ideologies, with them trying to lay bare India's batting frailties against swing and Ashwin, Ojha and Yuvraj Singh looking to expose England's weaknesses against spin.
England's plan to Sachin Tendulkar, who has been bowled five times in his past 11 dismissals, was to bounce him and then fire in a straight one, but that may have to be tweaked slightly given Finn looks a non-starter. Tendulkar is 39 and while he had not begun his illustrious career when England last won a Test series in India in 1984-85, he has played against them on all their subsequent visits averaging 60 in 11 Tests and making three hundreds.
The short ball, provided there is enough pace in the pitch, has undone both Yuvraj and Virat Kohli in the past too, and will be tried again, at least before the reverse swing hopefully kicks in around the 30-over mark. Yuvraj's return completes a remarkable journey following his diagnosis with cancer this time last year, while Kohli has the class to become the next great batsmen, though you suspect, in his own mind at least, he is already there.
India's batting, despite having Dhoni at seven, has been vulnerable of late. Virender Sehwag, the scourge of England last time they toured India, has not made a hundred for two years (the last one was against New Zealand in Ahmedabad) while Gautam Gambhir has only passed 50 once in his past 12 Test innings. Cheteshwar Pujara, despite making 87 against England in the second warm-up game, has played five Tests.
If England can get the ball to swing and their batting can avoid collapse, India might not be the final frontier their predecessors have made it for the past 28 years.