NatWest T20 Blast August 23, 2014

Pietersen flops on first big day of summer

On his first big day of the summer, Kevin Pietersen's failure was greeted with glee by the fans who once cherished him

The announcer reads out the list of Surrey players. One name gets booed. He has played over 100 Tests. Won four Ashes. A World T20. Scored match-winning hundreds around the world. But if Surrey were going to have a player booed, it wasn't going to be Gary Wilson, was it?

It's KP's first big day of the summer. He's been floating around The Oval. He turned up at the IPL. And even made his way off to the CPL. That is 25 matches. Spread around England, St Kitts, Cardiff, Dubai and India. And one fifty.

A 58. In a losing cause. 14 innings ago. This from Mr Box Office. The man for the big stage. The man who saves his best work for when people are watching.

The only thing more horrible than KP's treatment by the ECB has been his form.

So there he was on his first major stage of the UK summer. The ECB's premier domestic cricket day. The cameras are here. The crowd is here. The press are here. And KP walks out on a pitch that Jason Roy has just used to hit Rikki Clarke into small pieces. The chase is big. A place in the final is there for Surrey. The whole thing might have scripted by his PR crew. Piers Morgan probably had his hands on his smart phone waiting to tweet "told ya so".

KP makes 13. Off 16 balls.

He hits one six. It should have been caught. He doesn't look in form. He doesn't look in charge. He doesn't really look that KP.

A full straight ball from Boyd Rankin is squeezed through his legs. His head is not balanced, he's not immediately sure where it has gone. Boyd Rankin appeals like he hasn't hit it. A couple of balls later he's smashed on the pads as well. It's not out, but he's not near it. His loft towards long-on looks forced. He watches the ball the whole way, and then nervously smiles and fist bumps Steve Davies as William Porterfield drops it just over the rope.

That drop is almost half his score.

There has clearly been some kind of conspiracy. The old, great, wonderful KP has been nobbled. He's been slipped some ketamine. He's been handcuffed by invisible chains. The ECB have put a curse on him. Where is Big Time Kev. Where is the arrogance? Where is the swagger? Where are the runs?

He looks old, he looks tired, and he doesn't look like he's anywhere near the T20 batsman Jason Roy is.

While KP faces Jeetan Patel, Jimmy Anderson walks around the ground. The crowd rise for him. They cheer his name. They sing the "Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Anderson chant" as KP blocks the ball and gets no run. The crowd doesn't chant for KP. He gives them no reason to.

Ateeq Javid takes KP caught and bowled. The crowd cheer, almost as loud as Javid screams. The mid-innings spoiler has defeated the international star. KP leaves the crease. He doesn't speak to the incoming batsman. He doesn't talk to anyone in the dug out. He sits down quietly on the front bench. Then he gets up and moves to the back corner. A long way from a starring role.

Jarrod Kimber was 50% of the Two Chucks, and is the mind responsible for

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  • GeoffreysMother on August 24, 2014, 21:10 GMT

    'The only thing more horrible than KP's treatment by the ECB' Clearly the fans who actually went to the match and, as you say, booed him - tend to disagree. There is a difference between the people who watch cricket in England (and note Cook's standing applause at Southampton) and Kevin's multinational collection of online supporters.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2014, 5:51 GMT

    What ever people says he is a great player he will come to form and smash every ball out of the ground and also the ECB . We always have had respect to you Mr.Awesome we are with you dont worry

  • John on August 24, 2014, 4:06 GMT

    KP was a brilliant player and exciting to watch. He did contribute to many England wins (though not as many as people like to make out- for example, this article says he 'won 4 Ashes', but he was hurt in the 2nd test in 2009 and took no further part in the series- England won without him). His numbers, impressive as they are, don't adequately reflect what his impact was on the game.

    However, he seemed to forget way too often that cricket is a team game. He put himself above the team and people find it hard to forgive that in England. The ECB knew the side had to be rebuilt and KP was a road block that had to be removed to make progress.

    England are on the way up and KP is on the way down. I regret that the parting was so acrimonious, but it was necessary. His day is done, but it was a glorious day while it lasted.

  • David on August 23, 2014, 21:31 GMT

    I'm always amazed by those who take pleasure from a great player's fall from grace. Whatever you think of KP's personality and his current form, he deserves a bit more respect. People now talk as if he was some kind of flighty slogger for England, despite (in less than 9 years) scoring more international runs for the country than anyone else in history. I still think the ECB's decision to sack him was shabby, and that a facile win against a very weak Indian team does not suddenly make Moores the real deal at international level. Having said that, it is also possible that KP is nearing the end of his own race. He should have played some FC cricket this summer, he needed calm time in the middle to rediscover his rhythm and timing. But even if he re-finds that, and Moores is sacked after we inevitably do badly in this winter's WC and next summer's Ashes, it looks doubtful that he'll ever bat for England again.

  • Cricinfouser on August 23, 2014, 21:24 GMT

    'The only thing more horrible than KP's treatment by the ECB has been his form'. The implication being that you can separate the two. I'd suggest not- his form surely vindicates the ECB's decision and makes it increasingly hard to see him as a victim. No doubt his memoirs will briefly revive the argument but the verdict will ultimately be that a glorious career ended at precisely the right time.

  • sunil kumar reddy on August 23, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    Feeling very sad about KP.He is one of the greats that England have ever produced,he's no way near to his usual game from last IPL onwards!! He is playing like a player who just started career in international! No confidence in his shots!Not able to clear the ropes! nothing is going in his way.eagerly waiting to see him at his best..may be in bigbash!! may be atleast by next IPL.He is a champion,surely he will be back soon!!

  • Etienne on August 23, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    Always amazing the number of absolute clueless comments about KP. On the flip side, good to see so many players that are so much better that they can actually pass judgement.

  • James on August 23, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    When, for crying out loud, will people realise that this guy is a long, long way past his best. He was never going to be the great player England hoped for him to be. THAT is the reason he was dropped, not all of this misbehavior nonsense.

  • Daniel on August 23, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    @Madan Shivakumar. The point is that KP didn't win any matches by himself for England. Quite often when England were on top KP came in and stuck the knife in, when England were down and needed someone to stand up it wasn't KP.

    The crowd booed because KP is all about the hype. Yes, he's a good batsman, and could have been a great but to do well in cricket you need to think about what can I do to help my team win? KP has always relied on instinct. All to often when the situation called for a calm head KP came in with all guns blazing and threw his wicket away. Great batsman learn and adapt as they age, look at Sachin Tendulkar as a classic example. And speaking of the great man look at how he conducted himself. No razzmatazz and bravado from him because there was no need.

  • Mark on August 23, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Cook needs to be dropped by lunchtime and Pietersen brought back in the England team. I love KP he is brilliant and should be captain of England. And I love Arsenal, I am their biggest fan and have been going home and away for 40 years - well I watch them on the TV sometimes. Piers Morgan

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