England cricket August 19, 2012

Compassionate KP

It's high time I attempted to bring Shot Selection right up to date. Some of the photographs that I've featured recently are over 15 years old so I thought I'd choose a shot from the last couple of weeks

© Philip Brown

It's high time I attempted to bring Shot Selection right up to date. Some of the photographs that I've featured recently are over 15 years old so I thought I'd choose a shot from the last couple of weeks.

The Headingley Test match in Leeds between England and South Africa finished in a draw and it proved to be an extremely interesting match. James Taylor played his first Test for England. However, the Test was overshadowed somewhat by an event 200 miles down the M1 called the Olympics.

By the way, if you're not familiar with the M1 it is one of Britain's most famous motorways. In fact it was the first inter-urban motorway to be completed in the United Kingdom and connects London to Leeds. If you ever find yourself on the M1 getting peckish I'd suggest Watford Gap as a good services to stop at. Leicester Forest isn't too bad either.

I had tickets for the Olympic beach volleyball event on the Monday evening, the last scheduled day of the Test match but I was fairly confident of getting to the event as I thought that the match might conclude early or the captains could shake hands and call it a draw before 6pm. Anyway, I could worry about that later.

On the Saturday of the Test Kevin Pietersen began his innings. Pietersen plays shots that often make great pictures and I was tempted to move round to the eastern side to get better photographs of his pull shots and drives. He was joined in the middle by the new boy James Taylor.

Taylor played well but was eventually bowled by South Africa's Morne Morkel for 34 runs very late in the day. The light was really nice and as Taylor walked towards the dressing room Pietersen patted him a couple of times on the shoulder.

There had been a lot of photographs published in newspapers and on websites that week showing Taylor standing next to team-mates such as Steven Finn to illustrate that Taylor is relatively short. I wasn't actually a huge fan of doing that just for its own sake.

As can be seen in my photograph, Pietersen is quite tall and Taylor appears short by comparison. When I first saw the photo I thought it signified a kind of changing of the guard and the controversial events in the last two weeks have possibly made that a fair assessment. Pietersen is not playing in this third test match against South Africa* but he is a joy to photograph whether it's during training, a match or in a studio. I for one hope he represents England again. Pietersen gets quite a bit of flack for not being a team man but the moment captured in the photograph shows a caring and compassionate side to him.

I missed the beach volleyball on the Monday but popped in a few days later as I was an accredited Olympic photographer and as well as the men's bronze medal match in Horse Guards Parade I also saw Bananarama perform. What a week!

(* I'm typing this between balls on the 4th day - South Africa currently 187 for 4)

Specifications: Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mm len, f4.5, 1/1600th, ISO 320

An Australian freelance cricket photographer based in England, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches around the world

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