The Heavy Ball

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Dessie and the Major

Testing times for young Kevin

How our protagonists convinced a certain South African Englishman to do the right thing

As told to Alan Tyers

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Kevin Pietersen attempts to keep cool in the field, Sri Lanka Board XI v England, Tour Match, Colombo, March 15, 2012
Kevin Pietersen pays tribute to that other Test loyalist Douglas Jardine by wearing headgear not dissimilar to the Bodyline captain's Harlequin cap © Getty Images
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I switched off the television. I began a strongly worded letter urging Sky Sports News presenter Charlie Webster (a female) to change her name to something more feminine-sounding, like a Virginia, a Persephone or a Ravi. Since what their legal counsel described as "my relentless, unnecessarily cruel personal campaign" against so-called Sam Matterface, Sky refuse to take my phone calls or read out my "tweets" on air. Indeed, they insist my attempts to contact them are in contravention of the restraining order taken out by the coward Matterface. I said at the time I doubted that great British lions like the Duke of Wellington, Douglas Jardine or Annie Lennox would have allowed a squit like Matterface and his legal team to tell them to get their tanks off his lawn, and I shouldn't stand for it either.

However, I digress. Today I could not even work up the requisite righteous indignation to complete the letter. Sky Sports News, you see, had revealed a most splendid development, and my spirits were extremely high.

I turned to Dessie.

"I think this calls for a glass of something acceptable, Dessie old boy," I said. "Shall I crack open a bottle of the Chateau Gower? The '82?"

"Has it happened? Has our persistence paid off, Major?"

"It has indeed, Dessie," I said. "Kevin Pietersen has announced his retirement from both England limited-overs teams."

I poured a glass of the Gower; Dessie declined in favour of a Strongbow. He finds the Chateau Gower's ethereal top notes and nose with a hint of toffee cloying, or so he loftily claims these days. What rot. I once came back from a weekend visiting a maiden aunt in Eastbourne to find Dessie had drunk a case of it with Nick Knight, just the two of them sitting on the floor giggling like imbeciles and playing Pictionary. I had held Knight in low esteem since that day, and when I saw that young Pietersen had taken up the Twitter cudgels against the mopsy blond Chablis thief, the Pietermaritzburg man had my full support.

Kevin and I have had a complex relationship. Like myself, he is a man at once impervious and easily wounded. Some in the shires were uneasy about having a foreigner in the team. Not I. I have long felt that the failings of the England side have been a result of creeping leftism - allowing players to have families and namby-pambyism of all stripes. I was sure that introduction of a few South Africans, not normally fellows who are too concerned with the feelings of others, would be just the injection of steel we needed. And it was I who introduced Kevin to his wife, the delightful Jessica, although I must confess at the time I made the introduction I was labouring under the misapprehension that she was the provocative women's-lib newspaper columnist and parliamentarian Louise Mensch.

I had repeatedly urged Kevin to turn his back on this vile 20- and 50-over muckite. Leave it to the Indians, Dessie and I urged him, like computer technology, extravagant chest hair and those tremendously long films with the dancing. He was stubborn at first. To persuade him that Tests were the one true way, I obtained - by methods I will not detail here other than to say that a certain flame-haired media heavy-hitter always comes through on her promises - the head of a horse and arranged to have it put in his hotel room bed. Kevin, who receives a great many requests for autographs on promotional tat, simply scrawled "Good luck buddy" on it and mailed it back. However, a chance meeting with him as we were both upturning the bins in Nick Knight's front garden the other day allowed me to put the case firmly and personally and, with Dessie standing menacingly alongside, I was able to convince Kevin that focusing on Tests from now on was very much the way to go.

All that remains now is to get Ian Bell to retire from all forms of cricket to spend more time concentrating on his reading, writing and arithmetic, and this current England team may start to resemble a group of civilised human beings at last.

Yours etc,

- The Major

RSS FeedAlan Tyers is the author of WG Grace Ate My Pedalo
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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Posted by crawf2008 on (June 4, 2012, 23:51 GMT)

Pieterson the most overrated cricketer currently playing

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (June 4, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Anyone who complains of 'allowing players to have families' and like 'namby pambyism', and heralds the 'introduction of a few South Africans, not normally fellows who are too concerned with the feelings of others' into the England team, must have been rather disappointed that time KP took time off from the game because of the birth of his son Dylan.

Posted by TimelessTests on (June 4, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

First sensible article on Pieterson that I've seen. But I had no idea Peter Tinniswood was writing for Cricinfo.

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan TyersClose
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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