ICC Combined XI v England XI, Dubai, 3rd day

Pietersen's jinx revived?

It was just Pietersen's luck that George Dockrell wasn't even meant to be bowling having only replaced the injured Hamid Hassan

George Dobell

January 9, 2012

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen fell for 1 in the second innings, ICC Combined XI v England XI, 3rd day, Dubai, January 9, 2012
Kevin Pietersen didn't spend much time in the middle against the ICC XI © Getty Images
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England may have bigger concerns at present, but it will not have gone unnoticed that Kevin Pietersen has succumbed to a left-arm spinner once again. As Oscar Wilde so nearly said: to be dismissed once by left-arm spinners might be considered unfortunate, to be dismissed habitually by them suggests a more fundamental problem.

Or does it? Pietersen has actually been dismissed by left-arm bowlers 32 times in his 133 Test innings. Twenty of those dismissals have come against left-arm spinners. That means that he's been dismissed by right-arm bowlers on 90 occasions. Yet few suggest he has a problem against right-arm bowlers. So are Pietersen's perceived problems against left-arm spin more of a media-peddled myth than a genuine problem?

It would be easy to deride his latest dismissal. After all, the bowler was a 19-year-old who has played just a handful of games. And it was just Pietersen's luck that George Dockrell wasn't even meant to be bowling having only replaced the injured Hamid Hassan.

But while it would be easy, it wouldn't be entirely honest. Dockrell, the Ireland left-arm spinner, might be young, but he is already a fine bowler who will surely go on to enjoy a good career in the game. It would be wrong to deny him credit for the wicket.

There can be little doubt that Pietersen plays spin in general very well. He has a fine record against Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne, the best spinners of the era, and for all the talk of his supposed weakness, Pietersen made a double-century in Adelaide against an Australia side containing Xavier Doherty. He's also made Test centuries against attacks including Daniel Vettori, Paul Harris and a 99 against a Bangladesh side that included Shakib-al-Hasan. As if to muddy the waters, another left-arm spinner, Abdur Razzak denied Pietersen his century.

Pietersen would claim, with some justification, that he is a player for the big occasion. But while the Tests in the UAE are undeniably those such occasions they may well lack the atmosphere in which Pietersen seems to thrive. It is anticipated that attendances will be modest. Eoin Morgan, who has scored just three County Championship centuries but two Test hundreds, could make a similar claim.

Perhaps the answer is that this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more the media highlight the issue, the more Pietersen is determined to prove them wrong. And, as a consequence, the less relaxed he is when facing left-arm spin.

Either way, Pietersen will have another opportunity to prove himself shortly. The PCB XI, England's opposition for the final warm-up game before the Test series, contains a decent young left-arm spinner in Raza Hasan. Abdur Rehman awaits in the Test series.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 5wombats on (January 11, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

No RandyOZ. Pietersen will be forever remembered for his Innings of 158 at the Oval 2005, which secured The Ashes for England - as @JG2704 rightly points out. I suspect you know this. It is written into any book you might care to find on the history of The Ashes. It was quite simply - breathtaking. Not a bad time or place to score your maiden Test century - and against some of the best bowlers ever to have graced the game. Now - how about you pipe down - eh?

Posted by Yevghenny on (January 11, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

In fact it was Collingwood who scored a double hundred then === Oh yeah, Pietersen only managed a measley 158 and the only batsman to emerge from this series with reputation still intact.

Posted by JG2704 on (January 11, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

@RandyOZ on (January 10 2012, 22:18 PM GMT) - I was about to congratulate you on posting something that was 100% accurate , but if you actually read jmcilhinney's comms he clearly say's that it was the match where England won by an innings meaning the match which happened in the last Ashes series which finished a year ago , unlike the match you're revisiting which happened 5 years ago and at no point does he say/suggest Warne played in that match. There was also the final test in 2005 where Warne did play and KP saved the game which won the Ashes for the 1st time in 2005. Obviously people like you will remember a failure more than a success but I think most Englishmen would have that inns as a lasting KP memory. You have basically twisted things in a straw clutching manner in a cheap attempt to try and make one of the best postees on these boards look bad and yet again failed miserably.

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 10, 2012, 22:18 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - oh boy mate, you've really really exposed your lack of cricketing knowledge here. Warne didn't play in the last Ashes series here, that was the one before where Australia won on the final day rolling England and chasnig the runs. The series where we whitewashed you for only the second time in history, 5-0. In fact it was Collingwood who scored a double hundred then. Looks like indeed it is the English who don't like to look beyond the last series. Oh boy that lack of knowledge really shows you up! Plz publish!

Posted by Yevghenny on (January 10, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

Well for someone who has two double centuries and a 175 in his last 10 tests, I'm willing to accept this as one of those things

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (January 10, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

@Aspraso, I think you need to look up Rankin, hes a full time professional at warwickshire, which is far from being a 'casual' player. Hes also taken 140+ FC wickets at a shade under 28. Dockerill is a good prospect for Ireland, and is currently being polished by Somersett, as i said KP just came in and tried to hit out, without getting set, but thats the way he plays.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

"Pietersen has actually been dismissed by left-arm bowlers 32 times in his 133 Test innings. Twenty of those dismissals have come against left-arm spinners. That means that he's been dismissed by right-arm bowlers on 90 occasions. Yet few suggest he has a problem against right-arm bowlers."

That little statistical comparison would be a lot more effective if there was a 50/50 split between right and left arm bowlers. I'm no maths whizz, but I believe it has been proven that KP gets out to left arm spinners a disproportionate amount of times.

Context, as always with stats, is vital, and the fact is he was just trying to up the run-rate and over-egged the pudding a little. Nobody cares until the Tests start.

"People can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forfty percent of all people know that."...Homer Simpson

Posted by JG2704 on (January 10, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

@Prash Ganen - ctd - Who would you actually replace KP with? England don't have the depth in batting which they do in bowling

Posted by JG2704 on (January 10, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

@Meety on (January 10 2012, 01:53 AM GMT) - Talentwise I'd say KP is our best player but I'm not sure he'll be our highest run scorer in this series. My tip would be Trott , a guy who is unfazed by pressure and won't worry about being bogged down by tight bowling

Posted by JG2704 on (January 10, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

@Prash Ganen on (January 09 2012, 21:34 PM GMT) - England won the ashes for the 1st time in 18 years in 2005 and in the final test KP saw England to safety with a superb knock of 158. For England fans this was possibly the most important series win of the last 20 years and it was against a decent Australian side which included Mcgrath and Warne in their bowling attack. And saying the guy is devoid of talent has to be one of the silliest comments I've ever read on these boards and believe me I've read some VERY silly comments

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