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January 28, 2005
Kevin Pietersen has said that he fully expects to be verbally abused throughout the one-day series in South Africa, but that the prospect doesn't bother him at all.
Pietersen, who was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1980, but moved to England to further his cricket career, smacked 97 in England's six-wicket win over South Africa A at Kimberley to get his tour off to a flying start.
"I knew I was going to cop a lot of stick but it will be like water off a duck's back," Pietersen told reporters ahead of Sunday's opening one-dayer. "I expected stick at the start of the innings, and I'm sure it will carry on through the whole series. But I just sat back and laughed at the opposition, with their swearing and 'traitor' remarks ... some of them can hardly speak English."
Those comments were hardly aimed at calming local hostility, and he went on to explain that he was becoming more English all the time. "I've been in England for four years and I've copped it for being South African - but my affiliation is definitely with England. In fact, I'm starting to speak too much like Darren Gough."
Although his move to England might not have gone down well in South African cricket circles, Pietersen said that his family supported his decision. "My family are thrilled to bits and back me 100%," he explained. "They back me and they back England. My mum, being English, has always supported England and I view myself as English.
"In fact, on the last day of this tour I'm going to get one of Gough's tattoos with three lions and my number underneath it. That's not a Christmas present - it's with you for the rest of your life, so no-one can take it away from me and say I'm not English."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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