Kevin Pietersen and the lonely ends of the spectra

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'I'll come out of first and just ease it into fifth...'

The Kevin Pietersen saga is often described as a soap opera. This is quite accurate because the defining feature of a soap opera is that IT NEVER ENDS. Okay, Crossroads and Eldorado did, but you get what we’re saying. For the most part they just rumble on, day after day, setting up contrived storylines and having them play out.

Kevin Pietersen’s triple hundred today was neither proof nor irrelevant. It was an impassioned and noteworthy innings against the worst first-class county. He can’t help who he plays. All he can do is score a few runs. Today he did that in about as convincing a manner as possible. The second-highest score in the innings was Kumar Sangakkara’s 36.

More is needed, but on this evidence more is highly likely to arrive. What strikes us most is that Pietersen was at his most exciting early on in his career when he had it all to prove. Back then, there was real steel underpinning the carnage. If his sense of being wronged has brought that back and precipitated some sort of driven final fling, then excellent.

Very few batsmen possess the qualities required to make you think you might be about to see something you’ve never seen before. Very few batsmen play the kinds of innings you feel compelled to send text messages about. It’s not about playing outlandish shots or scoring heavily, it’s a combination of brutality and endurance, a way of manhandling a match and pointing it in a new direction.

Brian Lara explored new territory, so when he got going you couldn’t really feel confident about where things were going to end. There is something of that in Pietersen. Today a hundred wasn’t enough; and a double hundred wasn’t enough; and his highest first-class score wasn’t enough. Plenty of players have hunger, plenty of players have ability. Very few sit at the farthest extremes of the spectrum on both counts.


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  1. There’s lots of Australians (two of whom are pretending to be British) on Leics’ staff.


  2. Good start to Strauss’ reign. Sack the coach via the media before you’re confirmed in the job, then summon a guy that was fired a year ago on the day he scores a triple century just to let him know he’s still fired.

    Nicely done. When does Strauss get fired?

    1. Strauss looking like a bit of a d*** right now. One might even say a c***, if one were sure that one isn’t still on air.

    2. Strauss: ‘The first thing to say is now the time for some honest open conversation about Kevin Pietersen.’ They didn’t say ‘about Andrew Strauss.’ You could have an honest open conversation about Andrew Strauss, but to be clear it would just count as distracting from calling Kevin Pietersen a c***.

  3. Boycott England this summer! (Watch from home/the pub.) And hope we lose both series. That might wake the ECB up.

    1. A lot of people are saying they’ll support New Zealand and Australia. Whatever we think about the ECB, we’ll still support England.

      The ECB aren’t England, despite the fact that people often use their Twitter handle when talking about the team. This whole thing is nothing to do with Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler or Adam Lyth and even if the team would be more representative if everyone were considered for selection (even if Pietersen weren’t then picked) it’s still an England team and we’ll always support England unless we emigrate for some reason.

    2. But we have no way of influencing the ECB except through the England team. When you are trying to influence the boss of a New York crime family, you don’t attack him directly. He’s too well protected, and besides, there are rules about that sort of thing. Instead you kidnap and murder his innocent and extremely pretty daughter. It’s a tried and tested technique. You come up with a nonsensical metaphor for what happened to her (She bought a new wooden dress that she’ll be wearing to all the best parties in the cemetery), have a tense but ultimately convivial meeting with her dad, agree it was all for the best, and get on with business.

      I know it might seem hyperbolic to compare the ECB to the mafia, but the mafia can be quite bad sometimes.

  4. Should Surrey choose to bat on in the morning, KP is in real danger of making 10 times the second highest score in the innings, which – Leicestershire or otherwise – would be a very impressive achievement.

    1. 10 times better than Sangakkara, and he still can’t get in the England team. We must be really good.

    2. That would surely smash all sorts of records.

      This guy will play for England some day, mark my words.

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