Pietersen flops on first big day of summer
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.