June 30, 2008

English cricket

A blessing in disguise

A word in your ear: Kevin Pietersen chats with Stuart Broad, England v New Zealand, 5th ODI, Lord's, June 28, 2008
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Derek Pringle, in the Telegraph, says Kevin Pietersen's losing start as England's ODI captain may be good for him in the long-term.

Kevin Pietersen will probably not agree, but both he and England cricket could benefit from losing his first game as England captain. Players possessed of great natural gifts need to be reminded occasionally that the world does not always march to their beat, and losing to New Zealand on Saturday should prove a powerful mnemonic.

One game is not enough to judge a man's leadership qualities, but there were revealing moments to his captaincy at Lord's. Like Michael Vaughan, whom he described beforehand as an "absolute legend", Pietersen cuts a commanding figure in the field. This is partly due to his height (he is 6ft 4in), but there was also a briskness and authority to his decisions and field settings you simply don't notice with Paul Collingwood.

However, the Guardian's Kevin Mitchell is impressed with Pietersen's captaincy.

Cynics might have imagined that England's stand-in captain, Kevin Pietersen, who struggles to convince people he really is a team man, would be a dodgy conciliator. As it happens, there were no incidents to test his mettle the way Paul Collingwood had his equilibrium disturbed at the Oval. The job seemed to fit him like a glove. He was less showy than normal, thoroughly engaged and marshalled his side with military correctness from mid-off. He made some thoughtful field changes and hurried his men to their places between overs (his careless push to gully for six after 23 balls wasn't so clever).

Ashok Ganguly is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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