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Going into his 100th Test, Kevin Pietersen answers readers' questions on his plans for the future, the best bowling he has faced, and more
November 21, 2013
We were inundated with interesting and enthusiastic questions when we offered fans the chance to ask Kevin Pietersen a question to mark his 100th Test. We chose a shortlist and KP has provided the answers.
How can a young player like myself focus for long periods of time at the crease?
asked Liam Buttery
If you train and practise hard, that always helps you prepare for your innings in the middle. Simply put, the fitter you are, the easier it is to concentrate. Take plenty of fluids on board as well. I try and switch off in between balls and think of something else and then switch on when the bowler is at the start of his run-up.
Who is your nemesis bowler?
asked Sanjana Abeykoon
That would have to be my old mate, "pie chucker" Yuvraj Singh. Seriously, though, I don't think I have one, really. Warne and Murali were both truly great bowlers. I always like to go up against the best bowlers in the world and I'm very fortunate that I get to train with a few of them in the England team in the nets.
When batting against opposition who speak a language other than English, have you picked up key words so that you're aware of the tactics they're trying to deploy?
No, I tend to concentrate on what I am doing rather than trying to work out what the opposition are saying. Normally there are a few choice words that don't need any translation, but I have never bothered about sledging or how someone plans to bowl to me.
How did the idea of the switch hit come about?
asked Haresh Sukhraj
I had actually been working on it in the nets a long time before I played it in a game, so I was confident it would work. I am always looking for areas to score and the switch hit allowed me to open up the other side of the field when options on the leg side were tight.
What were your feelings when you played your first Test and what are you feelings now as you are about to play your 100th?
Before my first Test I was incredibly excited and very, very proud, and that feeling never really changes. But I admit it will be a particularly proud moment for me in Brisbane, reaching that landmark playing for England. It makes it even more special doing it in the first Test of an Ashes series with such a fantastic team.
KP, when you retire after your 200th Test where would you love it to be played?
asked Alex White
Two hundredth Test! Well, if my body is still going by then, I suspect they will have a few new Test venues as well, so let's hope they have one in Mauritius, near a beach!
How will you approach the 100th Test? Any nerves?
asked Ujwal Adiga
In preparation terms it will be no different to any other, but it will be a very proud moment for me, walking out in Brisbane. All of the lads are so excited now, and we just can't wait to get out there and start what is going to be a fantastic series.
|"I don't want to talk myself out of a James Bond or Gladiator role, but so far I haven't had that phone call"|
How important is game time in the middle as preparation for Test cricket versus practice in nets when you have had three months without a Test innings?
asked Alan Higham
Nets are very important to get in the groove or work on anything specific you've been thinking about or need adjusting, but time in the middle is vital, particularly if you have had a long time out. In terms of preparation, you can't put a price on it.
I am a huge fan and I would like to know will we ever get to see that dyed hairstyle of the 2005 Ashes series again? We all loved that flamboyant style.
asked Nishant Chaturvedi
I can safely say the only time you will see the skunk again is if you google "dodgy hairstyles". Whenever I see it I think: what was I doing? It was fun times, though!
You played county with Shane Warne before making a name in international cricket. How has it inspired and affected you?
asked Pratik Ranade
Warney was a great player obviously and so he taught me a lot about the game and how bowlers think, but I didn't take advice from him on his fitness and diet regime!
What is more important for you: winning the Ashes, being the No. 1 Test team or winning both World Cups? Please only choose one.
asked Aizad Warraich
Well, there is only one that I haven't achieved, so to win an ODI World Cup would be right up there. But all of those are fantastic feats and I'm so proud we as a team have managed to achieve them.
I am 14 years old. I struggle playing spin bowling and at times find it difficult to score runs. You have played world-class spinners like Shane Warne. Do you have a plan when facing spinners? If so, what is it, and what do you think are the most effective run-scoring shots against spinners?
asked Gazenfar Syed
Well, most coaches will tell you to hit with the spin, which is not a bad starting point, but there are times when you can't always do that if the field placings are defensive. That was really why I came up with the switch hit - to open up different scoring areas - but I wouldn't suggest you pull that shot out unless you have practised it! Believe me, I did. If you are going to hit a spinner down the ground you have to get as close to the pitch of the ball as possible, commit to the shot, and keep your head still.
Which innings you will never forget?
asked Khizer Hayat
There are a few but my innings at The Oval in 2005 was a special one for me as it was my first big score on that stage and it helped bring the Ashes home in what was my first Test series. A really special time of my life. I hit a decent ton in Mumbai and a double in Adelaide which are certainly up there as well. Big scores on the subcontinent are always tough because on top of everything else you are normally fighting high humidity, dehydration and a lot of sweat!
Playing South Africa for the first time, on your second tour as an English cricketer, must have been an emotional experience. Are you able to describe how you handled the pressure of that situation? Did some of the players, fans and media criticism get to you at all?
asked Jack Rhodes
I can't say that I wasn't aware of the noise when I went out to bat at the Wanderers, for example, but I remember Michael Vaughan coming up to me and saying, the only thing you need to worry about is small and white: see the ball and hit it. Everything else was irrelevant. I was pretty much in my own zone, trying to concentrate on what I was doing. I think because I was young, I didn't really feel the pressure. I just had to back my ability to connect with the ball and it seemed to work, thankfully!
Congratulations for such a wonderful journey and hope you keep playing more and more and delight billions of cricket fans worldwide. But why cricket? Why not movies like James Bond or Gladiator?
I don't want to talk myself out of a James Bond or Gladiator role, but so far I haven't had that phone call! I was asked to go to LA to screen-test for a film but it was in the middle of summer so it was a non-starter for obvious reasons. I loved playing all sports at school, so like most other kids growing up my dream was to be a professional sportsman and I'm so thankful that I've managed to live my childhood dream.
Did you enjoy your stint as an expert with ESPN-Star during the T20 World Cup after the fiasco during the SA series just before that? Fancy more of that after retirement? Your views are good to hear.
asked Siddarth Raghuveer
Yeah, I absolutely loved it. ESPN were great to work with and the other studio guests looked after me. It was a totally different experience for me. It's certainly a lot easier talking about the game than playing it. Post-retirement, who knows what I will do. Hopefully that is still a little while away yet.
Are you going to retire after your 100 Tests and just continue playing T20s?
No, I want to keep going for as long as my body will let me. I want to play one-day cricket through to the World Cup in 2015, and then, if the knees, eyes and hands still let me, continue with Test cricket.
How do you deal with being a celebrity, living in the public limelight, people knowing your business etc?
asked Farhan Hasan
It's not something that I ever thought I would have to handle but I suppose you just get used to it over time. There are occasions when you just want privacy and downtime and that's not always possible, but I wouldn't change anything. I am a professional sportsman playing for my country in a game I love, travelling the world. It doesn't get much better than that.
Have you ever had or seen a stranger dismissal than when your helmet hit the stumps against West Indies in 2007?
asked Richard Reardon
Not really! Certainly not in a way that I've lost my wicket!
In which Test match, have you faced the most exciting and competitive over, and from which bowler?
asked Marko Koning
Difficult question, Marko. Facing Murali and Warne was always a challenge because of the drift, turn and variation they could get. I think the spell that really stands out for me was Brett Lee at the Oval Test in 2005, when he was bowling at 90-plus mph and wasn't taking any prisoners. It was a tough spell just avoiding being hit before I thought about trying to score runs. If you are wondering what it's like, get a bowling machine and dial in the speed and go and stand in the other end of a net and watch. Take a helmet!
Thanks for your involvement and apologies both from ESPNcricinfo and Kevin if yours was not one of the questions answered.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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