England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day August 4, 2012

Time to end Pietersen standoff

England can live without Pietersen, but there should be no doubt that they will be much diminished if they lose him
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If ever there was any doubt about the importance of Kevin Pietersen to the England side - and there really should not have been - it was surely dispelled by his remarkable Test century at Headingley.

Against a South Africa seam attack of the highest class, on a pitch showing signs of uneven bounce and with his side in some trouble, Pietersen produced one of the finest hundreds this historic ground can have witnessed.

While some might resist Pietersen's claim to greatness by fault of some soft dismissals and a certain inconsistency, it is doubtful any of those fortunate enough to be present on the third day of this game would agree. Instead they may well reflect for a lifetime on the day they witnessed greatness in action. They can be no doubt that Pietersen is, at his best, a magnificent player.

This was certainly Pietersen at his best. It was not so much the number of runs he scored - impressive though that was - as the manner in which he scored them. In circumstances where his colleagues had prodded and poked, Pietersen thrashed high-quality bowling around the ground as if practising against a village team. Even a bowler as skilled as Dale Steyn was pummelled and plundered. As Allan Donald, South Africa's bowling coach and one of Pietersen's childhood heroes, said afterwards: "It reminded me of when I ran into Brian Lara. It was in the category of a genius."

His batting in recent months - from the ODI centuries in the UAE, to the IPL century, the Colombo century, and a double-century at Guildford of almost dazzling class - has attained standards reached by few. The man who he most resembled in this innings, in terms of mastery, bravado, strength and stature, was Sir Viv Richards. And there really isn't any higher praise than that.

It is far from the first time that Pietersen has rescued England. Just as the 2005 Ashes might well have had a different ending but for Pietersen's swashbuckling century at The Oval, so they might well be still searching for their first global trophy had it not been for Pietersen's brilliance in the Caribbean World Twenty20 in 2010.

It is a shame for all cricket lovers - not just England supporters - that it seems he will miss this year's event. Players like this appear so rarely, and while Pietersen can be drafted into England's World Twenty20 squad until August 18 without complication, it seems unlikely either side will compromise in the standoff over scheduling, rest and other opportunities.

And there is the rub for England. It is just possible that Pietersen is playing his penultimate Test. It is just possible that Pietersen's request to play the entire IPL season could see him decline the offer of a central contract in September. It is also just possible that Pietersen's complaints about the international schedule while making arrangements to play more T20 cricket around the world will have so irritated the England management that he will not be offered one.

England can live without Pietersen. Great players have come and gone before; the sun still set and the tide still came in. But there should be no doubt that England will be much diminished if they lose him. It is hard to think of another man in English cricket who could have played this innings, and without it, they would surely be facing an awkward final two days in this game.

Perhaps the timing of this innings was no coincidence. Perhaps it was Pietersen's way of stating his worth. If so, he made his case eloquently. He transformed an attritional day of cricket, where his side faced the possibility of the follow-on, into a riveting event that all who witnessed it will talk of for years. Cricket does not have so many players who can do that.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the current issues between Pietersen and the ECB, both sides need to try again to resolve their problem. It is time for the coterie of managers who work at the ECB to earn their corn and find a solution. Pietersen wants to play for England and England want him to play for them. Both parties will be weakened by a parting of ways. More importantly, so will world cricket.

"I've never batted better in my life," Pietersen said afterwards as he reflected on his form of the last few months. "My last two Test centuries have been my best two - Colombo for heat reasons - and today against an unbelievable bowling attack that never stops running in. To get runs against that attack is something I'll always cherish.

"I had a big wake-up call against Pakistan last winter. I was a bit overweight and I wasn't physically in as good nick as I should have been in that series. I averaged twelve and a half in those three Tests, which really hurt me, as I set myself high standards. It wasn't good enough.

"But I took it on the chin and I went and spent hours and hours in the nets with Mushtaq Ahmed. I spent all of June doing that in order to get in good nick for this series. It's just hard work and figuring out my game. Hard work pays off."

There was a heartening debut from James Taylor, too. For a 22-year-old who has played all but this season in the bottom tier of the County Championship to come into a high-pressure situation in a Test and help Pietersen add 147 was testament not just to his pluck but to the worth of county cricket. It is lazily denigrated by many, but the fact is that Cook, Strauss, Trott and Prior all scored centuries on Test debut, while Bell and Pietersen scored half-centuries. If players can step up and perform so readily, it must be a decent breeding ground.

Perhaps it was appropriate that Pietersen's best batting came when he was in partnership with the diminutive Taylor. Just as Pietersen dwarfed Taylor in terms of height, so he dwarfed his colleagues in terms of contribution and class.

While his excellence should not mask the flaws in England's batting - Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell were both out to hideous strokes - it has given them a chance to claw their way back into the game. There is still a great deal of work ahead - they trail by 68 - but if Pietersen and Co can build a substantial lead on day four, South Africa might yet face an uncomfortable final day on a wearing pitch.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RandyOZ on August 7, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    @popcorn - true, but the problem is England have no depth and hence no one to replace him. If you think they are bad now imagine how bad they would be without him!

  • A_Vacant_Slip on August 7, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    @maddy20 on (August 05 2012, 19:54 PM GMT) You are so funny India comedy boy! You talk of a "comfortable perch in the middle of the table". This is eye-watering funny since India is currently finding it sooo comfortabe there in middle of table already! Then you talk of "bunnies"! With Eng 4 Ind 0 AND Aus 4 Ind 0 it is very clear who is "bunny"!? @Haleos - you have no clue either, check your fact and see that England thrashed India in T20 IN India last year... maybe you were asleep through it? Maybe even though only game of cricket that count is one played in India - maybe sometime even these game don't count, eh? Maybe it is the case that ANY India defeat does not count? With so many India defeat impossible now to take you guy seriously.... Why do you even bother to come here to England thread?

  • sk12 on August 6, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    Awesome innings from a batsman I love to hate. Peterson and Cook are THE batsman to watch out for wen they arrive here in Nov. Here's hoping he hasnt improved much against left arm spin yet, els its gonna be a(nother) long winter for India.

  • letsgoproteas on August 6, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    This guy single handedly made england look decent in this test. Good luck without him...

  • warneneverchuck on August 6, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    Eng can't win even against BD or Zim without imported players. India wil easily win against them this year

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    @Haleos on (August 06 2012, 08:38 AM GMT) Time will tell. I'm just saying where we are now. I seem to remember plenty of comms saying that India were going to thrash Australia and look what happened there.Eng have actually done quite well in ODIs/T20s since we lost 5-0 in India , but you're right in that it could well fall apart which is why - apart from being classless - I don't go on threads giving it the big one about we will do this , you will get thrashed etc.

  • Chris_P on August 6, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    @maddy20. Still bitter from last year I see. Get over it & move on. Anyone with any semblance of cricketing knowledge will agree England have been the form team the past 3 years & deserved their #1 spot. If we Aussies can see that, is it asking too much for you guys too as well? And about Pieterson, he CHOSE to play for England, he wasn't poached. You think your mob or our side wouldn't have taken him in a heartbeat? Move on, man.

  • atin45 on August 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    I am not really able to figure out that why Kevin has taken such a decision , even when he is playing such good cricket in all forms of the game. The board members of England Cricket should have a chat with Kevin concerning this matter and to clear things. Kevin is such a big asset to the team that England can't afford to lose him at this point of time when he is in sublime form.

  • popcorn on August 6, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    See how much the ECB is being asked to STOOP to accomodate Kevin Pietersen, an out and out mercenary? Will that create discord in amongst the players who think he is being given preferential treatment? Damn the players,you say? Kevin Pietersen is our Star. For how long? And what are he long term ramifications? What message, what precedent are you setting? At least in Australia,we took action against Andrew Symonds for his wayward ways. No one is indispenaible. o cricketer is bigger than the game, you shout from the other rooftop,where you can't hear what you are saying in this column. Rules are meant to be bent??

  • saravanan666 on August 6, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    For a cricketer like Kevin Pieterson to miss this years T20 is loss not only to English cricket, but also to the world cricket. ECB should have lured Kevin with all the things in world to play for England in T20. But they least bothered about it. This incident only highlights how least ECB and English fans care about T20. Its true test crickets No1 status is important, but you guys should also show some interest in short & shortest forms of the game. Guys if you forget, here is a reminder he was the MAN OF THE TOURNAMENT in last edition

  • RandyOZ on August 7, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    @popcorn - true, but the problem is England have no depth and hence no one to replace him. If you think they are bad now imagine how bad they would be without him!

  • A_Vacant_Slip on August 7, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    @maddy20 on (August 05 2012, 19:54 PM GMT) You are so funny India comedy boy! You talk of a "comfortable perch in the middle of the table". This is eye-watering funny since India is currently finding it sooo comfortabe there in middle of table already! Then you talk of "bunnies"! With Eng 4 Ind 0 AND Aus 4 Ind 0 it is very clear who is "bunny"!? @Haleos - you have no clue either, check your fact and see that England thrashed India in T20 IN India last year... maybe you were asleep through it? Maybe even though only game of cricket that count is one played in India - maybe sometime even these game don't count, eh? Maybe it is the case that ANY India defeat does not count? With so many India defeat impossible now to take you guy seriously.... Why do you even bother to come here to England thread?

  • sk12 on August 6, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    Awesome innings from a batsman I love to hate. Peterson and Cook are THE batsman to watch out for wen they arrive here in Nov. Here's hoping he hasnt improved much against left arm spin yet, els its gonna be a(nother) long winter for India.

  • letsgoproteas on August 6, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    This guy single handedly made england look decent in this test. Good luck without him...

  • warneneverchuck on August 6, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    Eng can't win even against BD or Zim without imported players. India wil easily win against them this year

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    @Haleos on (August 06 2012, 08:38 AM GMT) Time will tell. I'm just saying where we are now. I seem to remember plenty of comms saying that India were going to thrash Australia and look what happened there.Eng have actually done quite well in ODIs/T20s since we lost 5-0 in India , but you're right in that it could well fall apart which is why - apart from being classless - I don't go on threads giving it the big one about we will do this , you will get thrashed etc.

  • Chris_P on August 6, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    @maddy20. Still bitter from last year I see. Get over it & move on. Anyone with any semblance of cricketing knowledge will agree England have been the form team the past 3 years & deserved their #1 spot. If we Aussies can see that, is it asking too much for you guys too as well? And about Pieterson, he CHOSE to play for England, he wasn't poached. You think your mob or our side wouldn't have taken him in a heartbeat? Move on, man.

  • atin45 on August 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    I am not really able to figure out that why Kevin has taken such a decision , even when he is playing such good cricket in all forms of the game. The board members of England Cricket should have a chat with Kevin concerning this matter and to clear things. Kevin is such a big asset to the team that England can't afford to lose him at this point of time when he is in sublime form.

  • popcorn on August 6, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    See how much the ECB is being asked to STOOP to accomodate Kevin Pietersen, an out and out mercenary? Will that create discord in amongst the players who think he is being given preferential treatment? Damn the players,you say? Kevin Pietersen is our Star. For how long? And what are he long term ramifications? What message, what precedent are you setting? At least in Australia,we took action against Andrew Symonds for his wayward ways. No one is indispenaible. o cricketer is bigger than the game, you shout from the other rooftop,where you can't hear what you are saying in this column. Rules are meant to be bent??

  • saravanan666 on August 6, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    For a cricketer like Kevin Pieterson to miss this years T20 is loss not only to English cricket, but also to the world cricket. ECB should have lured Kevin with all the things in world to play for England in T20. But they least bothered about it. This incident only highlights how least ECB and English fans care about T20. Its true test crickets No1 status is important, but you guys should also show some interest in short & shortest forms of the game. Guys if you forget, here is a reminder he was the MAN OF THE TOURNAMENT in last edition

  • Haleos on August 6, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    @ JG2704 - wait for the world T20. England will slip down those ranking. In limited overs England is lousy at the least. In tests, we will soon know who holds the upper hand in bilateral when England visit India. Barring SA, no one comes close to beating India in India. so dont blow your horns too loudly.

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @maddy20 on (August 05 2012, 19:54 PM GMT) - re "why not?" probably because your beloved Indian side have just lost 2 away series in a row 4-0 and one of those series was against the team which you have ceaselessly sniped at ever since. If a won,lost record in our last 2 away series of Played 5 Won1 Lost 4 is poor then what does that make Played 8 Won 0 Lost 8make India? You might very well beat us in India and we might very well slide down the table but right now your beloved side are way below England in 2 of the 3 formats and were even below Eng in ODIs although that may have changed since the SL series

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 on (August 06 2012, 06:46 AM GMT) And you occasionally post something worth reading too

  • on August 6, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    @Mahjut - England had won 3 out of 9 tests in 2012. The one outside England came due to a brilliant knock of KP. And now headingley test has become wide open due to his innings (Although the rain ruined the chance of a result). So, he definitely deserves his place in thee team.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 6, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    @JG2704 . I OCCASIONLY LIKE COOK . I LIKED HIS BATTING ONLY AFTER THE AUS ODI SERIES . OTHERWISE HE IS BORING TO WATCH .

  • Haleos on August 6, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    well Geroge. Whose decision was it to retire? Retirement should not be a joke. Some countries have already made it a joke with players retiring and unretirng at will. There will always be new talent available.

  • VivtheGreatest on August 6, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    Pietersen is a class act no doubt but that doesnt entitle him to a separate set of rules. I think the ECB got this decision spot on but having said that the World 20-20 is gonna be a lot poorer without him

  • ifrakurshid on August 6, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    KP KP KP THE SLECTOR"S WORRY ABOUT THE OTHER PLAYERS TO FALLOW SUIT LIKE KP IS A WRONG APPROACH TO HANDLE PLAYER LIKE KP HE ONLY ON THIS COUNT WHAT HE HAS DONE ENGLAND THE BOARD GIVE HIM A FREE HAND TO PLAY FORMS OF CRICKET HE LIKE HIS ABSENCE WILL GIVE BOOST TO OTHER TEAMS AND ADD DEPRESSION TO ENGLISH CRICKETER AND FANS THE EAILIER HIS FINAL DECESION TAKEN WILL BE BETTER FOR KP CRICKET AND LOVERS OF THE GAME WHO WANTS TO WATCH GOOD CRICKET. ITS NOT ONLY SA OTHERS TEAM SUCH AS INDIA,UP COMMING WEST INDIES AUS AND MAY BE PAK AND SRILANKA WHO WILL BENIFIT SPECIALLY THE WORLD CUP NOT FAR AWAY.

  • basophil on August 6, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    kp is one of those rare few batsmen who can play on any pitch aggressively and in style - a bit like AB de Villiers (the rest of the english batsmen can only slug it out, they have neither style nor aggression). if the ecb fails to recognize this, england is not gonna have any chance in world T20, the tour to india, future subcontinental tours, and 2015 world cup.

  • Alexk400 on August 6, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    There is something called leadership. I really think each team need 2 captains pick for any series., That way even pieterson is not 30 probables he can get in. Just like ryder cup in USA. That way rules headache won't hurt real talent. We all know pieterson is kinda brash show off , i think he can do it as long as he produces. He was awsome in IPL t20..once he left delhi lost air from baloon. That said KP is not Viv Richards , he is more of Impact player and englands only impact player , only fools does leave him based on rules for everyone crap..etc. I always see there is always exception if you deliver at crunch situation. Some player play well in big occasion. Pieterson is one of those. He , sehwag , gayle are same type , you have to keep them in high spirits , they posess natural talent , if their mind is free , it will be big show.

  • on August 6, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    KP is over-rated. The English media is to be blamed for all the hype especially when he makes a big score. All top order batters at some point in their careers will produce one or two brilliant innings, but the great players will reproduce great innings time after time. KP is not great...he needs to realize that he is not bigger than the game and concentrate more on not getting out so easily. Great players don't give their wicket away! They make you fight for their wicket.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 5, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    If we are talking of the importance of players in the side then it is wrong to say that one individual is the most important player if there are several in that side who are. KP is a singular talent, but so is Swann for instance. Both are a rarity in my view, but the importance does not end there. Strauss is the great captain, Cook the great opener,Anderson the spearhead, Trott the impenetrable etc. But take KP out of the side and you remove the most attacking batsman since Richards was the Master Blaster. But that did not diminish the importance of the others such as Greenidge, Lloyd, Holding, Roberts etc.

  • on August 5, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    I don't really blame him for expressing his frustration because there have been a lot of meaningless Cricket series recently and it just leaves a toll on many players. KP loves playing Cricket but just doesn't like to play in series which has no importance and simply too much.

  • on August 5, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    i think pieterson iz class apart..ECB must treat him better for betterment of english cricket.

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    @clarke501 -apart from the India match (below post - which my gut reminded me of) i checked another five others (it's pretty tedious) of those wins/draws you talk of and in only one of the 5 were KPs contributions the deciding factor ... someone either scored more than him in the first innings or they scored THE significant runs in the second (the one was the 202* vs india in the first innings in Eng recently). obviously there's the 2005 ashes win on which the reputation has been built ... you are entilted to believe he is something of an axle to the english whee l- but to me he is just a spoke (and the 'facts' back up my opinion - facts have that tendancy [...of confirming the opinion of whoever is researching the facts]).

  • CricketPissek on August 5, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    if he was a humble, quiet, reserved man, then the nay sayers would say he's an amazing batsman. but because he's quite brash, extroverted, and shows his emotions all the time, ppl say he's overrated. how odd. just rate him on his performances and not on how your own prejudices! He's done the job for England many many many times and deserves respect. He's not asking to be your friend

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    well, i am not particularly concerned about facts as simple facts because they all have context...i'm afraid i did look a bit further and yes, KP added an important drawing knock in india and a reasonaly telling one in a draw vs WI but the 'zero' 100s in his team's second innings in a win is also a fact - and the context is given. my gut dictates my investigations - not my opinions. fact is, he doesn't perfrom in really trying circumstances. 100s are not genius, Kumble and Gillespie have scored test 100s ... KP has had sporadic moments of genius along with regular examples of his obvious talent but not so many examples of fighting contributions in trying circumstances.

  • shillingsworth on August 5, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    @mahjut - When KP scored a test 100, England have lost only once. In the remaining 19 completed tests, his was the telling contribution all but a couple of times. To me this is not a example of 'sporadic moments of genius'. You are perfectly entitled to disagree but I'd prefer facts to 'gut feelings'.

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    @clarke501 last comment(s) for now ... i was careful to say ""his individual influence" is way overrated"" not that he didn't contirbute to their wins (in any way) ... but usually when he does it's also an innnings where collingwood scores a century or Bell or someone else. i speak from memory and without love. I will say it again though - he played exceptionally well on friday and when he does come off he's one of the more spectacular (possibly most spectacular) test player about - it's just that he really can be relied on to throw it away when it really matters. even in this test ... good rate but a bit of watchfulness (and no rain) and he could have put SA under real pressure, but...

  • maddy20 on August 5, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    @JG2704 Why not? We are not the No.1 team that was everyone's bunny(barring WI). With this test being a confirmed draw, its down to the last test which England must win to keep their No.1 status, which they won't. After India tour, they will be comfortably perched at the middle of the ratings table!

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    @clarke501 ... so, i didn't spend too long checking stats but let me explain a bit more ... i'm not particularly interested (right now) about his 'centuries in draws' because i'm going to make a (slightly dismissive) assumption that a good few of those were wickets 'full of runs' and he didn't play a 'unique' part in it ... but in the 10 'centuries in wins' i did filter it down to 'in the 3rd or 4th innings' and unsurprisingly the 10 you mention is reduced to "0". i am aware of my bias (never liked him since his comments on quotas) but - until very recently - Smith's flaws were highlighted while KP 'genius' exalted...all while Smith opens, has a similar average and scores when it's hard, ie in the final innings - and his influence on his team's wins is inarguable ... yet, somehow KP is a modern great ... not imo!! though i will accept when he is good he is very very good but not a huge contributor to fighting wins! he was awesome on Friday as Donald says; "sometimes it comes off"

  • wrenx on August 5, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    Hyperbole much? Honestly, doesn't take much to impress an England fan

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    clarke501 ... i will check those stats - not that i doubt them but the devil's in the details ... my gut tells me those were games where more than KP scored big making his contributions less than vital but not unimportant. i have no doubt about his talent so 21 centuries is understandable but the context is important ... as i said, i'll check the stats ...

  • vrn59 on August 5, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Wow, what a player! He is sure to go down as one of the greats! If only he could continue playing limited-overs cricket ...

  • on August 5, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    if india can rely on sachin for the decades than y should we discuss this topic that can england live without pieterson

  • ooper_cut on August 5, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    I am not a sachin/dravid crazy idiot, but they have played so many such wonderful innings in the past when India were down and out even on pitches abroad.

    Pietersen deserves better from ECB, but it was him that chose England against his own country, go fetch that one. The Brits are so tied up, they will not recognise him even if he bails them out year after year, series after series. Wonder why the same treatment is not meted out to Morgan, Strauss, Kieswetter etc. Maybe they stood up before the queen and pledged themselves that they will spill blood if they have to, for England. LOL.

  • on August 5, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    Did ECB not know this. I will say it then. KP is the best batsman they have got. Period. He does not have skill or natural talent, but he compensates that with power and great thinking.

  • shillingsworth on August 5, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    @mahjut - anyone with 21 test centuries can hardly be said to have had 'sporadic moments of genius'. England's record when KP scored a hundred (excluding the current test) is won 10, drawn 9, lost one. Your statement that he rarely contributes to an England win or to them drawing a test is hard to understand.

  • Munkeymomo on August 5, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    @maddy20 Prior got 50 didn't he?

  • Munkeymomo on August 5, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    @Samir Kumar: KP didn't quialify to play for England through the kolpak ruling, but due to British heritage.

    Brutal innings though, Steyn is mortal after all.

  • getsetgopk on August 5, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Oh save it George, he's a good player or an average player are secondary issues, he must have undoubted commitment to the cause to begin with, if there is no commitment the talk should end right there, he has stated plenty a times where his loyalties lie, with the highest bidder not with English cricket, was a hired gun and he's continuing down the same path, I dont see anything new here, its useless clutching straws with these sorts of articles, I'd be surprised if KP plays another Test for England.

  • on August 5, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    I think the ECB is sitting on its high horse. I think wanting to play in two formats of the game only is a sensible move. How can they club both the 50 0vr format and the t20 format together. One is on its last legs whatever boards may publicly say and the other is the format of the future and thankfully KP wants to play test cricket also.Pietersen has aura, none of the other english batsmen have that even if they make runs. He can change the fortunes of a game in an hour as he demonstrated yesterday. Just because England is one of the top teams in the world should not make them behave in a high handed manner. They are missing a trick by leaving him out of T20 and the teams that are happiest will be the opposition. Talk to him someone and if he still behaves dumbly drop him and make the rest of the world happy. In any case I am happy as soon england will no longer be no 1 in any of the three formats most certainly if they ignore Pietersen, Ramanujam Sridhar

  • NaniIndCri on August 5, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    I think KP is the most unappreciated player in England team (everyone knows why), he won many things for England from Ashes, World T20, and recently Pakistan and SL series. Without KP England will be utterly humiliated in sub-continent. At home they may not need him unless they play a better opposition like in the current series and when their so called heroes fail.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    @@rahulcricket007 on (August 05 2012, 08:21 AM GMT) PS - A few months ago you were saying what a decent player Cook was so is that Cook and Pietersen or have you changed your mind about Cook now - as you seem to do so often?

  • Zahidsaltin on August 5, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    The problem is a very simple one. Cricket is a profession for these players and their playing time is limited. They want to and should make the maximum earnings possible to safeguard their future. Now that they can see indians and others making big bucks and at the same time some one knowing his worth, would like to have a mix of both possibilities; to play for the country and to play for the franchises. Cricket boards should respect it and should accomodate these players according to their availability. It is a time where all boards must have a pool of 22 players and start accomodating those who can earn by playing in IPL and other domestics in outer world. Gayle, Malinga are in the similar situation as KP. They all have a high value tag on them.

  • shafiqsarfaraz on August 5, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    i just hate him v much..and hope SA wins this series 3-0...

  • on August 5, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    One of the best innings of KP.... many more to come... English board are you listening????

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    for KP to dent my skepticism he'd have to play a role in the second innnings if required ... else it's just another good show (not the best score by a Peterson in the test but good nonetheless) by him without really being any more than that.

  • mahjut on August 5, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    KP really does not have much to fall back on but a few sporadic moments of genius ... his average at 5 is not exceptional in this era (not when you consider the likes of Chanders even (who's no genius but simply a special test player). He's not won england many games and only helped them to an honourable draw on very few occasions ... his individual influence is way overrated but watching a good knock is always enjoyable as a punter so let's keep him around - i don't think he does any more harm than good so why not!

  • salmonsaz on August 5, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    KP is a good player but no way he can be compared to Viv Rich. Also he is selfish, greedy and arrogant man with bad influence on other players. He is not above the rules and England team will be better off without him.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 on (August 05 2012, 08:21 AM GMT) re "KP IS THE ONLY PLAYER WHICH I LIKE IN THIS OVERRATED ENGLISH SIDE" - Can't imagine any of our other players will be too upset not to get your seal of approval

  • Sword_of_Honour on August 5, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    No man is greater than the team - ever. He cannot be allowed to hold the ECB to ransom. Let him go.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @Mervo on (August 05 2012, 05:24 AM GMT) He was never with them was he?

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    @maddy20 on (August 04 2012, 22:43 PM GMT) Probably not the the best person to talk about fight/heart in players

  • Meety on August 5, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    @ JG2704 - whilst I think Cook is a supremely talented batsmen & that Trott is the "new Wall", KP is without doubt the best batsmen in the England line up. Even with the 10/11 Ashes in mind, KP would be one of few batsmen in the world that is fear inducing. The funny thing is, despite being so magnificent, he is really fallible too, which is I suppose why he doesn't get the full credit he deserves maybe?

  • 200ondebut on August 5, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    The trouble with the ECB is that they need their pathetic little rules to mask their own incompetence. KP is clearly the best player England has at the moment and if they can't manage him properly change the management not the player.

  • on August 5, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar was selected in both "Bradman's Best" XI and Richie Benaud's all time world XI. Richards and Lara failed to achieve that. Benaud put Tendulkar second only to Bradman.

  • on August 5, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Why are the ECB surprised or upset with KP ? , he left south africa to play top cricket for england , and as a professional he is entitled to play for the IPL . In this I find the ECB a bit two faced , while they are happy to steal overseas players through the Kolpak route.. they get very moralistic when a player from the ECB wants to play for someone else . two faced

  • funkyandy on August 5, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    Not a great way to get out this morning! Personally I've now had my fill of Pietersen, let him go re-qualify to play for SA and then he can play as much pointless 20/20 cricket as he wants. Yes it was a great knock yesterday, but don't compare him to Sir IVA Richards in any way - Viv turned down all that money to go to apartheid South Africa in the 80s. Pietersen just wants to line his huge wallet at every given opportunity.

  • peter56 on August 5, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    in 55 years of playing and watching test cricket Geoff Boycott says he has only seen 3 'Genius' batsmen Sobers,Viv richards and Brian Lara Ian Chappel Again picks Sobers as the greatest batsman he has ever seen and lara as the greatest of the last 25 years (fractionally shading Sachin) so the hype is already as usual going way over the top perhaps we can put it in some perspective this 149* is a great innings but its not even the greatest 149* at headingly that honour belongs to Ian Botham of course ( I am backing him for 200 tomorrow though

  • on August 5, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Oh boy!Talk about making someone 'invaluable'.George has been completely mesmerised by KP.Frankly,am not too sure why.

  • on August 5, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    from a south african living in the uk and watching south africa vs south africa yesterday it was truely great to see......i do enjoy watch KP bat and certainly enjoy the IPL influence in test cricket....I mean when would you have seen in the past..the fastest bowler in the world getting hit straight over his head for six....brilliance. Naturally I want SA to win the series so a draw in this game would be nice specially with SA potentially opening with AB and JR. All we need is KP early today and SA still have a chance of putting England under pressure....BUT thats all we need! Cricket is a great game and Test cricket is still the best part of it!

  • on August 5, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    that was an inning resembling one IVA would have been proud of....breathtaking stuff

  • A_Vacant_Slip on August 5, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Very good article by Dobell. Outstanding knock by Pietersen. Yes - there is stand off btween ECB & KP.... Surely way must be found to allow KP to do what he is good at - and let face it - he IS GOOD!!! But will ECB allow themself to be seen to climb down??

  • Baundele on August 5, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    It will take only one failed innings by KP and one Press Conference by Andy Flower until KP becomes useless in the England team. There might be theories that KP's presence in the team is bad enough not to let others scoring double centuries.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    Obviously these sort of performances are few and far between but I do kind of agree with a poster on another thread. One who I often disagree with. KP is the only player who could realistically change a game so much that from it being a huge chance of SA winning with a lesser chance of a draw and a minute chance of an Eng win to a position where Eng have a realistic chance of winning the game.The draw is the most likely result still but KP has made an Eng win possible from here. He'll prob get out now and Eng will collapse and be back behind the game after I've said all that

  • rahulcricket007 on August 5, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    KP IS THE ONLY PLAYER WHICH I LIKE IN THIS OVERRATED ENGLISH SIDE . GO KP . MAKE A DOUBLE TON . AND YES THERE WAS SIGNS OF RICHARDS IN HIS BATTING . HITTING STEYN OVER HIS HEAD . PULLING THE SHORT BALL FROM MORKEL FOR SUCCESIVE 4s EVEN WHEN THERE ARE FIELDERS IN CATCHING POSITION FOR THIS SHOT . ONLY SOME LEGENDS CAN DO THIS .

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    I'm wondering if KP can be compared to Carlos Tevez at all , where you'd always want him in your side but he can also be impossible at times to deal with. Personally I wouldn't mind him having time off from the NZ series to play IPL but it sets a dangerous precedent. I think the thing that irks many is that he blamed international cricket schedule for his decision and then it seems he wants to prioritise IPL and possibly other T20 tourns. I'd also still like to see him play in the T20WC and it also seems so do most neutrals. I feel that Eng could be a little flexible here as KP seems to be showing no lack of desire in what could well be his penultimate test and I don't see how playing him in this WC would hurt Eng's long term plans at all. So basically the T20WC would be a fitting way for him to leave the international scene. I'd obviously love KP to still be playing for Eng in all 3 formats but it seems there's no way back.

  • on August 5, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE BY KP ,

  • pvwadekar on August 5, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Typical article from a representative of English Media ..Mr Dobell would you have said the same thing if KP had got out on zero ? Would you have still suggested that the standoff should be resolved. As i recall, George and his cohorts were very upset when KP 'retired' from ODI and T20. ECB and And Flower with its typical high handed attitude, refused to discuss terms with KP. There were calls to put KP in his place. Imagine what would happen in the future, if England gets (a hypothetical situation of course) a few more talented players and they all insist that they want to play IPL or other T20 leagues. Why do u guys fluctuate so much, just make a decision to stick with it.

  • on August 5, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    form is temporary but Class is permanent. Hats off for KP

  • on August 5, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    good work(writer)...................................

  • on August 5, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    The key sentence is, "Pietersen is, at his best, a magnificent player". Totally agree. But normally...when it comes to batting, he is the Chris Gayle of England -- with similar brilliance ans similar inconsistency. When it comes to attitude /moods/ (a little hesitant to use the word tantrums -- though may be appropriate), he is the Shahid Afridi of England. History might say he is the re-imported version of Tony Grieg! Take your pick.

  • Samar_Singh on August 5, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    What a player .. A genus at his best ..

  • Nadeem1976 on August 5, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    KP was playing like Viv today. This is test cricket best fast bowlers against best batsman and then test cricket becomes thrilling and joy to watch.

    What a match and series in the making. It's really fun to watch KP and it will be huge loss to Cricket if it's his second last test match. Very sad.

  • on August 5, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    True that Pietersen played a brilliant innings yesterday and he should be allowed to play only T20 internationals if he wants to. But, if he is asking for permission to play the entire IPL season by not being available for the English Test Team, he should go. There cannot be a compromise on that.

  • Porky_PigTheToon on August 5, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    SA have always produced World Class players, so is KP. I just love him !

  • on August 5, 2012, 5:32 GMT

    If all good players start thinking like KP there will be on good teams left! KP is KP because of England not IPL, where thousands would die for the opportunity to play for the country, KP has decided he is too busy to coup with the ODIs, as if others who play full time dont have families and other issues. Rules shouldnt be bent for one person alone, if KP wants to represent his team in T20 WC then the onus is on him to come out of his retirement not the board to accommodate what pleases him!

  • Mervo on August 5, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    He is certainly the best South African recruit that England has made. Imagine how good the Saffers No 1 team would be if he was still with them!

  • on August 5, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    Kevin Pietersen- A cricketer to watch....ECB should brought him back to ODI & T20 format

  • CHETHUMYSORE on August 5, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    KP is the Best we have seen...He along with Sehwag and Hayden are the two who could change the complextion of the game if they stand for 15 overs......

  • Alexk400 on August 5, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    Pieterson is a X factor type of guy.Pieterson play well when he is challenged. England do not know his value. Seriously. Pieterson presence made everyteam focus on him , it makes others life easy. England should respect pieterson talent and if he wants to play T20 they should allow him. There are always exception to X-factor players. All rules and stuff is for Team not for X factor players. Exceptions for people with serious talent. It is practical and common sense. Engalnd management take off their ego and allow pieterson play T20. He bullied Steyn Today. Very rarely steyn gets bullied ..sehwag did in chennai flat pitch but steyn got him in swinging SA pitches...it was great.

  • raj60 on August 5, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Except for a die-hard cricket watcher I don't know how many watched this innings when the Olympics is also being hosted by the British. For the love of Mike i can't understand how this series was slotted in during the Olympics considering that London will host the Olympics was decided more than 7 years back while cricket schedule is not done so far back.

  • on August 5, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    If I was in the England Selection Commitee... I would have 100% picked Pietersen for T20 WC... England selectors doing disservice to the nation by not picking him

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 5, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    Dear George, weren't you questioning Kevin's loyalty a few days back with regards to his interest to play in the BBL ? Give me a break. The English public needs to understand the trend and go with it. Almost every cricketer wants to play T20 cricket at club level in competitions like the IPL and BBL. KP is a talented batsman who simply wants to make the most of his capability. I don't see any harm in that. The ECB should understand this and try to be on his good side. I think Kevin has earned that right. Unquestioned loyalty is a long gone tradition now. Modern cricket is all about convenience and comfort. I am sure KP still loves to play for England at every opportunity. This stand off was uncalled for in the first place.

  • RandyOZ on August 5, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    I would forget about England. Yeh he scored another ton but lets be honest he is simply playing for the money. He has absolutely no allegiance to England as many of us have noted before. I know the talent is ultra thin in England at the moment but surely you don't want this mercenary in the team.

  • peter56 on August 5, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    in 55 years of playing and watching test cricket Geoff Boycott says he has only seen 3 'Genius' batsmen Sobers,Viv richards and Brian Lara Ian Chappel Again picks Sobers as the greatest batsman he has ever seen and lara as the greatest of the last 25 years (fractionally shading Sachin) so the hype is already as usual going way over the top perhaps we can put it in some perspective this 149* is a great innings but its not even the greatest 149* at headingly that honour belongs to Ian Botham of course ( I am backing him for 200 tomorrow though

  • jmcilhinney on August 5, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    I doubt that Pietersen will ever be hailed as a genuine great of the game. Rightly or wrongly, he just brings too much baggage. There is no doubt that he is capable of playing great cricket though, and this was a great innings. It seemed to me that he made a decision when Amla dropped him that he was going to play aggressively and either live or die by the sword. In the end, it was SA's bowlers who were put to the sword. I think that it's his ability to pull off the front foot and from outside off stump that makes him so dangerous because it means that there's just no safe place to bowl to him. If you pitch it up and/or bowl it wide of off to prevent him pulling then he can drive and cut with the best of them but anything remotely short and straight is likely to disappear through, or over, mid on to midwicket. Hitting Steyn back over his head for 6 and almost through his head on one occasion is something that takes incredible nerve and ability, both of which KP has in abundance.

  • on August 5, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    yes Pietersen should be in world t20

  • VillageBlacksmith on August 5, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    KP will certainly be missed but I feel he needs to change his negotiating strategy (and stop bleating) to win back hearts and minds...''but if Pietersen and co. can build a substantial lead on day four, South Africa might yet face an uncomfortable final day on a wearing pitch''.... yep, with 4 left handers and without G Swann... a foolish knee jerk muddled (non) selection, reminiscent of the 90's & early 00's... Perhaps our Kev will get a double ton and a five-for!

  • peter56 on August 5, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    good and all as this KP innings was, it was as george dobell says, a resemblence of Viv richards but its only a passing resemblence at best. KP's never going to be in the absolute genius class of Viv and Lara the other all time great mentioned in the article

  • Ozzbozz on August 5, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Time to end Pietersen stand-off? Well until he apologises and basically accepts that he can't pick and choose when he plays and when he is given time off which he has been given in the past he should gratefully accept it. Then and only then should he be welcomed back into all forms of the game, either that or he gives up that lucrative central contract and be on a pay as you play contract, simple.

  • liaqathussain on August 4, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    well done kp,,, you stole the show today,,

    high quality

  • on August 4, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    Of course you fail to recognise that Pietersens' compromise for competing in both ODI and T20 was at the expense of test cricket for the IPL. Nobody doubts that he should be in the squad on his technical merits - but this England team does not bow to celebrity status or egotism.

  • MAK123 on August 4, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    I mean it would have been a joke to compare a great albeit arrogant stroke maker like KP to that indian (in india) century maker

  • MAK123 on August 4, 2012, 22:51 GMT

    "The man who he most resembled in this innings, in terms of mastery, bravado, strength and stature was..." as soon as I read this, I screamed out loud in agony: Noooo, not again, please don't you say now Sachin Tendulkar...thank God it was Sir Viv Richards for a change...hahahaha

  • maddy20 on August 4, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    So now you need Pietersen. Thats right you need him coz none of the Poms have the guts to put up a fight and a SA import has to do the job for them. I can't believe none of the batsmen have passed 50 and still these English fans call their side No.1 test side. England have now uncovered the secret to stay no.1 . More Saffas. As of now, this match will be a draw regardless of what the SA imports do!

  • Nutcutlet on August 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    Fair summation of the KP dilemma, George. I too have contemplated the sobering and depressing thought that this might be KP's penultimate test, but I don't think it will be, because, if I have KP right, I believe that he has two driving forces:(1) to be very wealthy & (2) enduring cricketing fame. The tragedy is that they would appear to pull in opposite directions. His participation in the IPL next year may slake his thrist for the former (though he who has much always wants more) & this is likely to prevent him from representing England for a good part of 2013, but who would bet against his next move after the IPL being a contrite return to the England fold - the prodigal son, indeed. To do this, he would have to forsake the IPL in 2014. This may be a fanciful scenario, but it would be in keeping with the only consistency in KP's position - his total unpredicatability. He never stays out of the news for long, does he? Perhaps that is another aspect of his psychological make-up.

  • on August 4, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    However good KP is - and he is very good - he is essentially asking the ECB to apply one set of rules to him, and another for every other player. The rules are a bit inflexible, but if they are changed, the change should apply to everyone, not just someone whose talent allows him to hold his employers to ransom.

  • pommyadders on August 4, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Excellent piece George. I've long been a massive KP fan but have finally grown exasperated with him and his demands, to the point where I believed England need to move on and remove him from their plans going forward. Then you see an innings like this an the reality is confirmed....we'd be stuffed without him!!. No one player should be able to hold the ECB to ransom and I don't begin to know how the 2 parties can sort this out, but sort it out they must. I just hope that for the good of the game they can get around the table and find a solution, but it will require compromise from both quarters.......not sure either side is the type to budge though.

  • njr1330 on August 4, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    '...might have a difficult last day on a wearing pitch...' What...against our phalanx of spinners, would that be ?!! 'Surely some mistake' as Private Eye used to say.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 4, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    David Hopps, spot on! "KP. Don't worry. You got 0.2% of TV audience today. Plus a drunken full house at Headingley and half a page, a long way back, in the papers"...

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 4, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    Sorry to say it ,but it seems a bit tasteless to discuss KP's future in the wake of that innings. It has all the grace of a partystopper.

  • on August 4, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    A real beauty of a knock and a sterling article to come with it. KP is a real legend.

  • on August 4, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    Hahaha....George Dobell....its in your blood innit?? British Media !!!!!!!! Exaggeration at its best !!!!! LOL

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 4, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    Well, I said in another post I was looking forward to the outcry after Pietersen's performance today. I don't think anybody questions KP's talent/class. But when he abandons his team citing overwork and hideous scheduling, and wanting to spend more time with the family, but then turns around and says he's interested in IPL/BBL/£&£... What does he expect fans to think?

  • warneneverchuck on August 4, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    South Africans always produce best cricketers

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • warneneverchuck on August 4, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    South Africans always produce best cricketers

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 4, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    Well, I said in another post I was looking forward to the outcry after Pietersen's performance today. I don't think anybody questions KP's talent/class. But when he abandons his team citing overwork and hideous scheduling, and wanting to spend more time with the family, but then turns around and says he's interested in IPL/BBL/£&£... What does he expect fans to think?

  • on August 4, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    Hahaha....George Dobell....its in your blood innit?? British Media !!!!!!!! Exaggeration at its best !!!!! LOL

  • on August 4, 2012, 22:12 GMT

    A real beauty of a knock and a sterling article to come with it. KP is a real legend.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 4, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    Sorry to say it ,but it seems a bit tasteless to discuss KP's future in the wake of that innings. It has all the grace of a partystopper.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 4, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    David Hopps, spot on! "KP. Don't worry. You got 0.2% of TV audience today. Plus a drunken full house at Headingley and half a page, a long way back, in the papers"...

  • njr1330 on August 4, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    '...might have a difficult last day on a wearing pitch...' What...against our phalanx of spinners, would that be ?!! 'Surely some mistake' as Private Eye used to say.

  • pommyadders on August 4, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    Excellent piece George. I've long been a massive KP fan but have finally grown exasperated with him and his demands, to the point where I believed England need to move on and remove him from their plans going forward. Then you see an innings like this an the reality is confirmed....we'd be stuffed without him!!. No one player should be able to hold the ECB to ransom and I don't begin to know how the 2 parties can sort this out, but sort it out they must. I just hope that for the good of the game they can get around the table and find a solution, but it will require compromise from both quarters.......not sure either side is the type to budge though.

  • on August 4, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    However good KP is - and he is very good - he is essentially asking the ECB to apply one set of rules to him, and another for every other player. The rules are a bit inflexible, but if they are changed, the change should apply to everyone, not just someone whose talent allows him to hold his employers to ransom.

  • Nutcutlet on August 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    Fair summation of the KP dilemma, George. I too have contemplated the sobering and depressing thought that this might be KP's penultimate test, but I don't think it will be, because, if I have KP right, I believe that he has two driving forces:(1) to be very wealthy & (2) enduring cricketing fame. The tragedy is that they would appear to pull in opposite directions. His participation in the IPL next year may slake his thrist for the former (though he who has much always wants more) & this is likely to prevent him from representing England for a good part of 2013, but who would bet against his next move after the IPL being a contrite return to the England fold - the prodigal son, indeed. To do this, he would have to forsake the IPL in 2014. This may be a fanciful scenario, but it would be in keeping with the only consistency in KP's position - his total unpredicatability. He never stays out of the news for long, does he? Perhaps that is another aspect of his psychological make-up.