Rob Steen
Rob Steen Rob SteenRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
Sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

KP's story: the next chapter

How Pietersen turned his career around after the fall of summer 2012: a view from the future

Rob Steen

August 22, 2012

Comments: 8 | Text size: A | A

An ecstatic Kevin Pietersen celebrates his century, Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, P Sara Oval, 3rd day, April 5, 2012
KP without a country is like Cinderella without the glass slipper. The slipper needs KP. It doesn't fit anyone else © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links
Players/Officials: Kevin Pietersen
Teams: England

As the theme music pipes up, a cavernous TV studio erupts in cheers, jeers, foot-stamping, whistling and, from someone dressed as a flamingo, a heartfelt roar: "KP for UN secretary-general". One banner reads "Nuts about KP", another "Nuts to KP".

Interviewer: For tonight's edition of Meet The Gods, we are honoured to welcome one of the greatest sportspeople ever to represent this proud united nation of ours, whose services to social media, human interaction and freedom of expression have served as such an example to us all, a man without whom our lives would be a great deal duller… the one, the only… KP.

As KP bounds on from behind a small curtain, wearing a cloak and a highwayman's hat, the cheers and jeers resume. "Oy, KP," shouts the flamingo. "When are you coming back to Trent Bridge?!" KP stops in his tracks, turns and addresses the flamingo.

KP: Oy, Mr Flamingo. Take some flying lessons.

Interviewer: Very droll, KP, very droll. Or it would have been, if he'd been dressed up as a penguin. Flamingos fly at night.

The rapturous greeting drowns out the correction as KP takes his designated seat and neatly folds a strip of biltong into his mouth.

Interviewer: Still like a good meaty chew, do you?

KP: Sure, beats that peppermint stuff, though KP wishes the Yanks hadn't persuaded the World Anti-Doping Agency to restrict the use of performance-enhancing chewing tobacco to baseballers. Forget the 30 million they paid me: that's the reason KP spent a season with the Yankees. That's the secret of his longev… durabi… um… success.

Interviewer: So, how does it feel to be the man who saved cricket?

KP: Fairly bloody good, to be honest. KP doesn't like blowing wind up his own bum - and the bloke who'd like to be known as "JA" copied KP on that, not vice-versa - but there are times when a man has to stand up and count himself. There, another gem. But yes, I must admit, frankly, that you're absolutely right. If it wasn't for KP, Test cricket would have died after that 2012 India-England series.

Interviewer: I should remind the audience that that was the Test series that plunged to such depths of incompetence that not one batsman on either side scored at 60 runs per 100 balls, not one. Not even the 2013 Ashes, only the second ever to see a side fight back from 2-0 down to take the rubber could make amends. And now, ten years later, with 53 Test hundreds and 200 caps to his name, KP can take a bow for remedying matters.

KP: Well, it was KP's duty. KP didn't get where KP is today by neglecting the greater good. Ever since KP's parents asked KP whether he minded if they named him Kevin Peter Pietersen from Pietermaritzburg and he said he should but didn't, KP has been dutiful above and beyond, and even through, the call of duty.

Interviewer: Okay, let's rewind to Lord's 2012, the lowest moment of your career: dropped from the Test side for the first time, missing out on the biggest match of the decade, and having completely distracted attention from Andrew Strauss' 100th Test? How did you feel on that second afternoon, while the batting was collapsing?

KP: Sad for the guys, obviously, but pretty bloody good. I'd started a rumour about flying off somewhere but I was in Cornwall, where phone signals can be dodgy. They don't have a first-class side there but they do have the thuggiest rugger buggers this side of Natal seconds. Mrs KP had KP's undivided attention for a couple of consecutive minutes, and KP bonded with KP Junior over an Olympic-sized table tennis table - you shoulda seen KP's topspin backhand. Best of all, KP's soul buddy Chris Gayle was so eager to know whether the selectors had had a last-minute change of heart, he got up at 4.30am on day one - his time, in Jamaica, near Barbados. Did you know they were seven hours behind us? Makes you think.

Interviewer: Didn't Alice Cooper say something that turned your career around?

KP: What a fabulously wonderful memory you have. KP had got some tickets for Alice, because he always loved "Won't Get Fooled Again", and he'd heard about how he'd carried on doing his thing even after he chopped that plastic baby's head off on stage. But yes, you're absolutely completely right - to hear him call KP "a real rocker" on TMS was something KP cherishes to this day. It was all the affirmation he needed, even if Alice's mother did give him an extremely silly name.

Interviewer: Actually, his mother called him Vincent and The Who did "Won't Get Fooled Again", but we'll let that pass. Didn't the interviewer make a snide comment?

KP: KP will never be judged by people, especially people with only four Test wickets at 148.66. How could Jonathan Agnew possibly know what it was like being KP? You might as well ask Mel Gibson what it feels like to be a rabbi.

Interviewer: Before we go on, in fairness to Mr Agnew, Steve, our researcher, has just informed me that his Test average was actually 93.25.

 
 
"Ever since KP's parents asked KP whether he minded if they named him Kevin Peter Pietersen from Pietermaritzburg and he said he should but didn't, KP has been dutiful above and beyond and even through the call of duty"
 

KP grins

KP: Right, sorry Aggers. I still say you could blindfold Sir Boycott's great-grandmother and she'd hook you for six, and she's dead.

Interviewer: But surely you were asking for trouble at the end of the previous Test, saying it was difficult being KP.

KP: Look man, KP was just being KP, telling it like it is. Or was. What-evah. There were guys who had it in for KP - jealous guys, envious guys. The team had started to slip and every time I bailed them out, they got jealouser, enviouser.

Interviewer: But don't you think you were a bit insensitive? It is a team game, after all.

KP: You don't have to tell KP it's a team game. KP knows it's a team game. KP didn't get where KP is today not knowing it has always been a team game, even though KP's Single-Wicket Cup has been getting bigger crowds than the World Player League lately, as KP's sure you're all aware.

Interviewer: But wasn't it risky texting derogatory comments about your own team to the opposition?

KP: Look, we're all human. Even KP. KP felt alone. The team-mates who weren't ignoring KP were teasing him. Look, you've got a pretty big nose - remember being teased at school? Well, a cricket dressing room is like school but with even richer pupils who've passed their exams and are a bit older. Ask Shane Warne. Ask Shoaib Akhtar. Ask Don Bradman. Okay, ask Don Bradman when he was alive. He'll tell you. Or he would have. Or would. If he was alive.

Interviewer: Millions of us have long admired the way you've never hidden behind an agent.

KP: Why conceal who you are? They're going to find out anyway, especially if you're one of those people, like KP, who loves sharing, like KP. That's why KP was honest about Peter Moores. People said KP stabbed him in the back but KP stabbed him in the front as well, which seemed fair. Here's something you didn't know. KP had one session on a psychoterrorist's couch and that was enough. The bugger did wear a KP Foundation for Safe Passports tie but he had the nerve to tell KP he was lacking in moral fibre. KP has Fruit and Fibre every morning, with three cans of Red Bull - breakfast of champions.

Interviewer: How did you cope with being in exile? Sure, you made piles in all those T20 leagues and with the Yankees, but what was it like being KP the cricketer without a country?

KP: Look, some guys once dropped out of a Test in order to play in a Yorkshire-Middlesex match and that was more than a century ago, and they all played for England again. And KP certainly never went on strike for more money before an Ashes Test, as some Surrey guys did, and that was more than a century ago. KP did get some tips from Gayley and Symondsy, but luckily KP is someone people love watching whoever he plays for and whenever or whatever or however or whyever he plays. Well, it's not luck really, more genius, but sometimes it's better to be mediocre.

Interviewer: You mean modest…

KP: No, mediocre. Because if you're mediocre, nobody writes or tweets or sets up extremely amusing fake Facebook accounts about you. You have the odd good day, the occasional bad one, but it's mostly a lot of so-what. KP's greatest crime was to reject medioc… the ordinary. KP's sin was to be extraordinary. Which, when you think of it, is mediocre. If someone's extra-ordinary, doesn't that mean they're especially ordinary? That's why I kept going so long once I'd re-qualified for my country: South Africans have always coped so much better than the Brits with people who are different.

Interviewer: So there you have it, from the mouth of the man himself: KP is mediocre.

The cheers and jeers resume as lights dim and credits roll. KP bows, then opens his cloak to reveal a green shirt emblazoned with a leaping yellow protea and the words "KP - Kosher Prince". The cheers resound anew.

"Oy, KP," shouts Flamingo Man. "When are you coming back to Trent Bridge?"

KP: Next June. KP World Single-Wicket Cup. Shane Warne, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Lady Gaga and Oscar Pistorius are all lined up, so book early. And send my love to Brian Clough's family. Ol 'Bighead was KP's role model.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

RSS Feeds: Rob Steen

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by NaduLal on (August 23, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

Another cricket great became the IPL casualty. First Gayle lost international outings and now KP. When will ICC take some some tough decisions and do some house keeping.

Posted by chris54 on (August 23, 2012, 1:04 GMT)

I suppose if ST reads this he´ll decide to keep playing until he gets 54 centuries.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

Hilarious!

Posted by MSDonLSD on (August 22, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

lol

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

Very similar to the article in the heavy ball(page 2). Both are equally funny..

Posted by Joninnorwich on (August 22, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

Brilliant! You can almost hear KP saying the words.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 22, 2012, 7:05 GMT)

Nice work, Rob! If only KP was as art... artic... clever with words & texts as you've made him out to be! As an ex-teacher, I can't help seeing KP in the classroom; it's not difficult to imagine because his script is often very schoolboy-like. 'It's not easy being me!' That's straight out of the mouth of a Year 8 who's just been pulled away from a playground brawl!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 22, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

I really don't know what to say about this article. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I am dazed !!

Comments have now been closed for this article

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Rob SteenClose
Rob Steen Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton, whose books include biographies of Desmond Haynes and David Gower (Cricket Society Literary Award winner) and 500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81. His investigation for the Wisden Cricketer, "Whatever Happened to the Black Cricketer?", won the UK section of the 2005 EU Journalism Award "For diversity, against discrimination". His latest book, Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport, will be published in the summer of 2014

    Test cricket needs fewer teams, not more

Ian Chappell: It's clear that for the ICC votes mean more than results

    Lara's peaks

Tony Cozier: While the 375 had a sense of inevitability to it, the 400 came amid a backdrop of strikes and the threat of a whitewash

    The world record that nearly wasn't

Rewind: Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it

    An archaelogical probe into the state of the game

Review: Gideon Haigh comes out with another set of essays that sound uncannily prescient about the way the game is headed

From hockey sticks to whalebone

Nicholas Hogg: Bat-making as a craft has undergone revolutionary changes and then some since the days of Hambledon

News | Features Last 7 days

UAE all set to host lavish welcoming party

The controversy surrounding the IPL has done little to deter fans in UAE from flocking the stadiums, as they gear up to watch the Indian stars in action for the first time since 2006

Attention on Yuvraj, Gambhir in IPL 2014

ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance

The watch breaker, and Malinga specials

The Plays of the day from the match between Kolkata and Mumbai, in Abu Dhabi

India: cricket's Brazil

It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation

The captain's blunder

The Plays of the day from the match between Chennai and Punjab in Abu Dhabi

News | Features Last 7 days