Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 3rd day December 28, 2013

'Fragile' England hurt by schedule - Pietersen


Kevin Pietersen has blamed England's schedule for the side's disappointing performance in Australia.

As well as losing the first three Tests of the series, and with them the Ashes, England have seen two senior players, Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann, leave the tour. Pietersen, who has not made a century in the series, suggested the demands of back-to-back Ashes series had left England jaded and "a bit fragile".

"I think people shouldn't forget, and it's never been done before, that guys have got to go and endure 10 back-to-back Ashes Test matches," Pietersen told Sky Sports.

"I've been told that a number of Olympic athletes go into some sort of post-Olympic depression or a negative frame of mind - and I'm not saying we're in a depression or a negative frame of mind - but after you've competed at such a level, post that competition, mentally you're a bit fragile. To play an Ashes then another Ashes, and for us being away from home, it's a tough gig.

"It's been an incredibly pressurised situation. Playing back-to-back Ashes series and being away for the second leg, and not starting in the manner that we are accustomed to ... it's been incredibly difficult."

Pietersen also dismissed criticism he had received for the manner of his dismissals in the series. Pietersen has twice being caught pulling, twice flicking into a trap set for him at midwicket, once on the long-on boundary and, in the first innings in Melbourne, bowled attempting a slog across the line. Geoff Boycott, the former England opener whose Test run tally Pietersen has overtaken during this match, labelled him "a mug" and called for him to be dropped.

But Pietersen defended his dismissal in the first innings in Melbourne, insisting he was batting with the tail and perished in a desire to boost the "team cause".

"This game is a great leveller," Pietersen said. "If you start believing people when they say you're great it's going to hurt you. If you start believing people when they call you a mug that's also going to hurt you.

"I know it [his first-innings dismissal at the MCG] is a bit of a talking point. I don't know what the numbers are on our tail, but as soon as [Tim] Bresnan got out, I was under the impression that I had to do all the scoring and take all the strike.

"Look, I get out for nought, I get nailed. I get out for 70 ... I was playing for the team's cause to try and score as many runs as possible as quick as possible because I knew I was going to have to do it.

"Australia have bowled incredibly well with great plans and sometimes you've just got to say 'well done'. I was a bit fortunate on a couple of occasions, but that's what happens. I've been unfortunate on a couple of occasions on this trip as well. But I call it the cycle of life. These things happen. You win some and you lose some. If you take all the good days you've got to take the bad days with it as well.

"We just want to try and salvage some pride. We want to try and turn things around."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on December 30, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    Westmorlandia, Don't let the Facts get in the Way, 32 in 28 month by Australia Against 27 in 32 month by England.

  • Mark on December 30, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    Australia Are currently coming close to a end of there Busiest Test Match Schedule in Australian History Since Aug 2011 they Have Played 32 test Matches in (28 Months) With 4 to go in the next 2 Months, For a Record Of 15 Wins 10 Losses and 7 Draws. England Have Played 27 test since May 2011 (32 months) For 9 wins 9 losses 9 Draws. Kinda put the Augment to Pasture. (To Rest) Both Have Played the Same Teams, With Australia Playing all in Home and Away Conditions , Current in the same time frame SA are the only Team to Hold the Advantage over Aus by 1 Test. Australia are Tied with India 4 (all Home Ground Wins for Both Teams), NZ 1 all (But NZ win was In Australia). With Sri Lanka and West Indies Australia won both Home and Away.

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    not been funny but take a look at the future tours programme - the onlyt test cricket that takes place between june and sept is english ones - one day cricket doesnt count - people are regularly left out for it to rest

  • Balaji on December 29, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    Sorry KP, this won't wash. There are other teams which do play a lot more cricket. Australia played a 7 match ODI series in India. Before that they were involved in a 5 match ODI series in England, where England's top players were rested. If you get into the English team, your county commitments decrease. So what are you talking about?

    RyanHarrisGreatCricketer, the IPL involves a maximum of 17 matches of 20-20. Where is the physical strain. By the way KP is talking about how playing back to back Ashes has left England flat.

  • Jamie on December 29, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    I feel sorry for the poor exhausted Australians who had to play back-to-back Ashes series, don't you guys?

  • Aswin on December 29, 2013, 5:37 GMT

    Suggestion to KP: Stop playing in the IPL

  • Aamir on December 29, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    If these back-to-back Ashes series were played in England, would he still come out with the limp excuses he is throwing no?

    No one raised any issues of back-to-back Ashes series when English team departed from England. No worries were recorded when most of English batters scored heavily in the practice game before the first test match. Why now only? The margin of losses so far in the series are so huge there is noway the losses can be attributed to anything but lack of performance.

    I am hired to do work and the minimum requirement is to meet the expectations from management and shareholders. I work five months @ my hometown and five months offshore. Never complained about back-to-back assignments. Same applies to these players. They are hired to play cricket. They must meet the expectations from board and public. Their assignments can be at home and/or abroad.

    The English performance in this ongoing series can be described in two words. Recklessness and Over-confidence.

  • richard on December 29, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    I think I heard somewhere that the reason for back to back ashes is because the ashes where always being played in a world cup year, and both boards wanted that changed.... but then again I may have dreamt that.

  • Dummy4 on December 29, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    I have read KP's comments and wonder if he would have said that the English team is fragile if they were in the winning position here. The fragility of this man is when he doesn't get his own way. Also, if a batman is batting with the tail he is supposed to give the lower order confidence so that they will stay out there and make as many runs as possible re Brad Haddin. It is a sorrowful sight to read such dribble from a so called athlete who is supposed to be representing his country. Oh hang-on KP is South African so he isn't representing his country.

  • Aswin on December 29, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    Does KP know that most english players are rested from bilateral ODI series?

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