Kevin Pietersen applies a good thick layer of Polyfilla to his insecurities

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This photo is DEFINITELY from the current match - you can't prove otherwise

Some innings are more important that the numbers might indicate, but we always feel thankful when Kevin Pietersen reaches three figures. The resultant fist-pumping’s cheering in a laughable kind of way, but more importantly it means that detractors have to revise the ‘hasn’t scored a hundred since [insert date]’ statement with which they routinely beat him.

The truth is, most people are rather fond of KP and love watching him play cricket. It’s just that those who don’t like him REALLY take against him and are more vocal about it. Compounding this is the fact that the story of polarised public perception is now entrenched. Every time it’s recycled, it’s also reinforced.

Pietersen has many failings, but most relate to his character, not his cricket. See him as cocky and it’s hard to warm to him. See his brash confidence as a thin skim of plaster concealing fundamental cracks of insecurity and you’ll probably rather warm to him, finding some of his excesses almost endearing.

Either way, what about the batting? It’s not the fours and sixes or the way he hits them, it’s how they relate to the context of the match. His match-saving, Ashes-securing 158 at The Oval in 2005 was a frenetic attempt to fight fire with a ruddy great inferno. He makes for compulsive viewing because of how few batsmen would take that approach in that situation.

Today’s 151 against Sri Lanka was cut from the same cloth. Obdurate batting had got England into a strong position and Pietersen’s Test form had been limp. So he thrashed Sri Lanka’s attack like they’d urinated in the water bottle during a desert hike.


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  1. I like your point about public opinion being entrenched reinforcing polarized views. I wonder if this applies to positive stereotypes as well. For instance, if Tendulkar were to start his career now, would people love him so much? Is all the adulation now because of all the previous adulati? (What do you mean that’s not a word?).

  2. Pietersen has grown on me in the exact opposite of the way I got sick of Flintoff’s posturing.

  3. I worship him, as the flawed pagan god that he is. Thor incanrnate. Apollo bestriding the earth. It doesn’t matter that Sam may be right.

  4. Yes he’s great. Yes he’s a twat. He also got warned today for time-wasting. So: a great time-wasting twat. But I do love him so.

  5. I said to someone earlier this morning that KP is at his best as a batsman when he’s being the biggest twat he can possibly be. Today he was a massive twat, so he produced a quite brilliant innings.

  6. I attended the Ashes leaving lunch at Lords in 2010, got incredibly drunk and paid £1000 to some ECB charity for a photo with the team before they embarked on their magnificent conquest of Oz. KP couldn’t be bothered to be in the photo which 9 other people had also paid the same amount for, and went home. I got a refund.

    Sums the man up for me, charity or not, its all about him. I am a true England supported but I smile every time he fails. Today hurt.

    1. Sounds to me like he saved you (and 9 other people) from wasting £1000 each on a drunken decision to purchase a photo. This is a bad thing?

    2. As someone who has spent all her post-accountancy firm career working as the top financial person in charities working with developmentally disabled individuals, all I can think of, especially in these less than robust economic times, is how much that money might have meant to a struggling charity. And how they didn’t get that money because of the actions of that selfish twat KayPee, who I’m sure didn’t volunteer to make up the money out of his own pocket.

      I loathe him even more now.

      Good on ya Ben, drunk or not. I’ve had no little experience with drunk folks not remembering credit card charges they made for auction and other items during charity events, and disputed the charges until their memories were refreshed.

      Those of you so inclined can have a peek here
      and here!/AcademyforAutism

      for a charity who would be thrilled with £1,000 but would be happy if you could spare £1. (Les, my friend who is the former leg spinner, and Chris Martinesque batsmen, sent in A$1 🙂 .)

  7. Ben’s story apart, i never quite understood the general dislike for KP. Sure, he used to keep talking himself up, but isn’t that entertaining? Beats Sachin and his ridiculous modesty any day.

  8. Twat or not, this was the ideal century for those of us at the sharp end of the autistic spectrum. Exactly 100 of his runs came from boundaries.

  9. What should their strategy be now Ian?

    Well, they gotto bat out their overs. They also need to get a competitive total.

    This just happened. IPL 2012.

    You’re welcome.

  10. Love him or hate him, we’ll all miss him when he’s gone.

    Cricket is all the better for unusual players who divide opinion.

  11. “polarised public perception” – love the alliteration. Quite like KP as well.

  12. For us older men, there’s only two classes of younger men that we should hold any opinion on – those who play for our favourite sport teams, and those who want to go out with our daughters. When assessing these people, it is crucial that we don’t confuse the two categories.

    I think KP is brilliant, love him to bits. But if he ever goes near one of my entirely hypothetical daughters, he’ll see the sharp end of my rapier, I can tell you.

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