It is hard to imagine either Joe Root or Nick Compton hanging out the bunting and turning cartwheels of delight but strictly in cricketing terms the return of Kevin Pietersen to the England squad cannot be anything other than a good thing.
There is likely to be a sigh of relief, too, in the offices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, whose promotional campaign for the four-Test series can only benefit from the presence of one of the most marketable figures in the game. Whatever anyone feels about Pietersen, there is no denying that his charisma as a player sells tickets.
There are sure to be some very careful footsteps over the eggshells in the coming weeks, however. The supposed period of "reintegration", unless it is regarded as an ongoing process to be continued through the tour, as if he has just been released on probation, does rather seem to have consisted of little more than another face-to-face meeting between Pietersen and England management and some senior players, at which there cannot have been very much more to add to what has been said.
Words are easy in any case, and none of it will be worth anything until the proof is there. A sort of peace may have descended, and players in particular can be quick to forget animosity in pursuit of common purpose, but it will be an uneasy one for a while yet.
There is no question, though, that Pietersen's every move in the team dynamic will be under scrutiny from within and the periphery. As far as the media, in all its forms, is concerned, 'KP Watch' will dominate the warm-up matches and probably the first Test in Ahmedabad, to such an extent that Kate Humble should be drafted in to coordinate.
Would there be a great show of team unity should Pietersen make a hundred, or take some wickets as he did in his last Test? Is there jocularity rather than frostiness during practice sessions? The team director will more than earn his corn. Andy Flower has been remarkable in his unflappable patience not just in the past few months but in the three or more years that he has managed the egos not just of Pietersen, but of others in the team.
This whole business must have worn to a frazzle even as resilient an individual as Flower, who given that Pietersen was keen that he lost his job alongside his predecessor Peter Moores, might be forgiven had he harboured enmity but if he has, he has kept it hidden and handled himself with dignity. Now it is down to him and Alastair Cook, as an ambitious new captain, to ensure that a valuable asset is absorbed back into the team to the greatest effect and least distraction, while mindful that there can surely be no copper-bottomed guarantee that such a situation will not arise again.
There are those who would regard the return of Pietersen as no more than an expedient measure for England, a swallowing of pride with someone answering a call in their hour of need. They could not be more wrong. If there have been mistakes on both sides, as Flower has admitted – and it really should not have been allowed to drag on as long as it did, fuelled by the added distraction of the text message fiasco – then the root cause of the whole affair has lain with Pietersen. His contrition has been fundamental, an absolute basic, for Flower to contemplate having him back in the side.
Of course the team look stronger. Without him there was always going to be not just new faces, but juggling of the order. Now that he seems certain to be back in his position at No4 the permutations are several, the only direct replacement necessary being that for Andrew Strauss at the top of the order.
Until Pietersen's return there was no doubt that either Root or Compton would open and when Ian Bell returns home around the time of the second Test to attend the birth of his first child, perhaps both would have played. Now, should Jonathan Trott move up the order to open – not outside the realms of possibility – neither might appear in the first Test, with Eoin Morgan a possible No5 and Samit Patel, one of the better readers and players of spin in the team, at No6 irrespective of whether his left-arm spin is viewed as a valuable commodity.
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