Let's enjoy Pietersen. We'll miss him when he's gone
23:27 GMT, 18 July 2012
If only he had just left it alone after providing his views fully and persuasively in his interview with Sportsmail.
Okay, I know I would say that, but
Kevin Pietersen had explained thoroughly his decision to retire from
limited-overs cricket, his reasons for embracing the Indian Premier
League and the outside chances of him reversing his controversial move
to opt out of the one-day game. Whether you agreed with him or not, at
least he had put his side of the story fully and in context.
Then he went and talked again on TV
after striking a majestic double century for Surrey against Lancashire
at Guildford and any semblance of sympathy from the cricket loving
public about the demands of the crippling international schedule had
been virtually thrown out of the window.
The entertainer: Kevin Pietersen is great value for money
Yes, the adrenalin was clearly
flowing after he had played such a brilliant innings, but there are
times when Pietersen, who as expected was left out of
England’s provisional squad for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in
September, cannot help himself in going just that little bit too far
when making what is invariably a very valid point. And he went too far
when he said that he had ‘never been looked after’ by England.
is palpably not true and one can only imagine what Andy Flower made of
that comment because the England team director keeps his thoughts close
to his chest and would never consider giving anything other than a
measured response in the fullness of time.
subsequent revelation that one of the proposals the KP camp put to
England’s Hugh Morris to facilitate his rapid one-day return was missing
the first Test against New Zealand next year to play the full IPL can
only add to the sense that the clock has started to run down towards the
end of Pietersen’s England career.
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He still maintains he is as committed
to Test cricket as ever. His explanation for this apparent contradiction
next year is that New Zealand’s top players have been given permission
already to miss that first Test because of the IPL so why shouldn’t he
But this forgets that England’s players are a lot better paid than New
Zealand’s and that the ECB will do everything in their power not to
undermine Test cricket.
would be a massive shame if Pietersen drifts further and further away
from the centre of the best England team in modern memory, not least
because he remains a special talent who should be playing on the biggest
stage for as long as possible.
question of whether the England players now view Pietersen as something
of an outsider, and have been frustrated by him again hogging the
headlines in this most important of weeks, is a valid one.
But cricketers are pragmatic souls and they would forgive just about anything as long as Pietersen continues to hit match-winning hundreds, as he did in Colombo with an innings of rare brilliance just a couple of months ago.
The one thing that Pietersen never lacks is his craving of attention, and thriving when it most matters, and the first Test at the Kia Oval really matters. It would be absolutely no surprise at all if he had something special up his sleeve in this match. Enjoy him because we will miss him when he’s gone.
Majestic: Pietersen in full flight in Colombo
Ten successive one-day international wins and England have the chance to equal their record of 11 set by the 1992 team when they next play.
And where will that historic record equalling opportunity come Edinburgh, that’s where, in an ‘official’ international against Scotland somehow sandwiched between the second and third Tests next month.
Don’t expect any of the Test players to be there. Imagine what would happen if one of them injured themselves before the possible Lord’s decider against South Africa.
And the next generation will not be there either because the Lions are busy playing Australia A then in a far more relevant contest. So just who will play for England in that spurious game
And how will Scotland react to having to play an England Third XI
The mind boggles, it really does…
Top form: England will look to match their record run of one-day wins
The winning combination
When asked to compile a composite XI from the England and South Africa teams off the top of my head by talkSport on Sunday I quickly came up with a side that included eight England players.
Now I have had more time to think about it my only real dilemma is whether I was right to prefer Andrew Strauss to Graeme Smith when the South African captain has such an outstanding record in this country.
But I will stick to my guns and propose this as the outstanding combined team ahead of this mouthwatering series.
Strauss (captain), Cook, Trott, Pietersen, DeVilliers, Kallis, Prior (keeper), Broad, Steyn, Swann, Anderson. It is some side, even without Smith, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.
If I am right then England should win comfortably!
Up for grabs: There is much at stake this summer
Bumble’s final word
The massive question to be asked here is can the England team put Kevin Pietersen’s issues to the back of their minds and concentrate fully on the first Test
I have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt when I was England coach and let me categorically tell you it is easier said than done.
Can they turn up to work with someone who wants to rewrite the rules
This is a Moody Blues moment and these are the questions! Not sure Andy Flower’s mood will be great at the moment…