Why We Should Never Have Doubted Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen has just hit an impressive 103 off 64 balls to claim victory for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, here's a piece from last summer about a similarly successful knock against India...
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Kevin Pietersen has just hit an impressive 103 off 64 balls to claim victory for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, here's a piece from last summer about a similarly successful knock against India...

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Kevin Pietersen has just hit an impressive 103 off 64 balls to claim victory for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, here's a piece from last summer about a similarly successful knock against India...

Before a ball was bowled in the test series between England and India, both knives and kid gloves were out for Kevin Pietersen. On one hand the sensationalist drivel trumpeted that he was in that mythical last chance saloon, a bar so packed that you'd be lucky to get the sniff of a beer let alone a seat. On the other hand the ex-players, notably Michael Vaughan and Ian Botham, were staunch in their defence of KP. He's got the X-Factor, they said, he will step up and score big runs against the best team in the world. How right they were.

The 202 KP scored today for England against India was probably not his most important innings, that surely was the 158 against the Aussies in 2005, nor his most fluent, which was probably also that controlled show of brutality at the Oval. It was, though, his most curmudgeonly. One that looked his detractors in the eye and, quite rightly, asked 'who are you to judge me, a player who averages near 50 in Test Cricket.'

What we should all hope for now is that KPs confidence levels return to the sky-high levels from when he first arrived on the scene and he sets himself a target of playing for another seven, eight or even ten years and  a goal of 35+ Test hundreds

Cook and Bell are very good batsmen, one a grafting opener who makes up for his technical deficiencies with patience and the other a technically perfect guy who has worked hard on his concentration. But for England to beat India and get to the top of Test cricket and stay there, they need Pietersen. He scores his runs quickly, he frightens the opposition and he does it all in his own inimitable style.

Pietersen's technique is so far from the textbook that it doesn't even scratch the binding. Flamingo shots, dragging balls from third slip to the leg side boundary, reverse sweeps, left-handed sixes and walking forward defensives that invariably end up at the boundary. But that is him, and we should cherish the individuality. The protracted hangover from his England sacking and the achilles injury that robbed him of a year have undoubtedly affected his form, but he is one of the hardest workers in the team, a team man down to his bootstraps and, quite simply, the one batsmen of ours who would, even on 20 Tests without a century, walk into a World Xl.

What we should all hope for now is that KPs confidence levels return to the sky-high levels from when he first arrived on the scene and he sets himself a target of playing for another seven, eight or even ten years and  a goal of 35+ Test hundreds. If that happens, and England continue to grow under Andy Flower and bring through young talent we could, with India’s old guard not too far from retirement, be the top team in World cricket for the next decade.

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