England cricket February 6, 2014

A player who commanded the imagination

Writing in his blog, The Old Batsman, Jon Hotten looks back on what Kevin Pietersen meant to him, on what his batting and personality brought to English cricket, and compares him to the writer Jonathan Rendall, who died last year.

It's fair to say he was part of the reason for starting this blog. Once he had commanded the imagination, it was hard to resist writing about him, because in working out what he was doing, I was often working out what I felt I knew about cricket, or what it meant to me.

When a player like Pietersen or a writer like Jonathan Rendall comes along, it's easy to develop a relationship with their work that leads you to think that you know more about them than you do. All you really know is that their talent speaks to you in some way.

Twelve Grand seems like an effortless book, and yet Rendall worked so hard on it he was briefly hospitalised. As Kevin Mitchell wrote about him, his love affair with writing 'ebbed away' after that. Pietersen trained and practiced harder than anyone: the imagination demanded it. Nothing good can be effortless at that level.

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