Kevin Pietersen turns 37: How controversy’s favourite child lost his way in English cricket

first_imgOn June 27, 1980, one of the most flamboyant cricketers of the generation was born — Kevin Pietersen. The South Africa-born former England captain turns 37 today.The England run-machine turned up for the Three-Lions after failing to break into his country’s national teams due to political reasons. Coming to England after signing a Kolpak, Pietersen took the cricket world by storm since his debut for England back in November 28, 2004 against Zimbabwe at Harare.With 8,181 runs from 104 Test matches at an average of 47.28, he is fifth in the list of all-time run-getters in Tests for England. He is also fifth in the list of most run-getters in ODI — slamming 4,422 runs from 134 ODIs. Pietersen is third highest run-scorer in T20Is for England behind Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales, with 1176 runs from 37 T20Is.In 2013, he became England’s all-time highest run-scorer across all formats and was all set to reach greater heights but his off-field antics somehow overshadowed his on-field abilities. His splendor and influence on the pitch was more often than not overshadowed by his colourful nature off it. And after nine years of sheer entertainment, including a sensational comeback after being dropped in 2012, his England career came to a premature in 2014. He last represented England in the Ashes of 2014 in Sydney.Since then he has committed himself to T20 cricket and has been playing franchise based leagues around the world.So, what led to the sad ending to one of England’s finest batsman?OUTSPOKEN NATUREPietersen has always been attention seeking and vocal. He has never been friends with the English media and the right-hander never held back from taking jibes or speaking his mind. Back in 2008, he was appointed as the captain of the national team but that lasted only five months. His relationship with a the coach — Peter Moores was not good and after the reports of the rift becoming public during the India tour back in 2008, he was trading on troubled waters. He was forced to resign after the turn of the year and Moores soon followed suit.advertisementHis relationship with the ECB didn’t get better after that.But his abilities couldn’t be questioned. He was still the best player in the team and he played a pivotal role in England’s Ashes victory in Australia after 24 years in 2010-11. Following that, he scored 533 runs from four matches as England whitewashed India in the four-match series back home.Reuters PhotoHe suffered from injuries in the middle and also couldn’t play the World Cup in 2011 due to hernia. He was becoming more of a superstar in the team than a reliable player.PROBLEM WITH STRAUSSBut, another dispute came up in May 2012. He wanted to play in the Indian Premier League for a while longer but he was denied that chance by the ECB. He announced his retirement from the shorter formats of the game.In the summer, he played a key role in the Test series against South Africa. He hit a century in the first Test against the Proteas but said that the third Test in the series might be his last for England. He also talked openly about issues in the dressing room.In the coming days, allegations were made against him that he sent defamatory text messages to members of the South African dressing room. Names of Strauss and Flower were also mentioned in the messages. He had talks with the ECB and he committed his future to all formats of the game but was dropped for the third Test.Later in the year, he starred with the bat for the visitors against India, scoring 338 runs from four matches as they beat India 2-1.He was now well on the way to achieving greatness.RETURN TO TEST CRICKETHe had a decent outing in the Test series against New Zealand next but an injury forced him to miss the return leg of the series.He made a comeback in 2013 against New Zealand. However, a knee injury forced him to miss the return series in May. After that Pietersen had a good outing in the Ashes against Australia at home but in the return leg in Australia he put up a bad show and England were whitewashed. He finished with 294 runs but he again fell out with the coach and team management and was dropped again.Reuters PhotoSince then KP has not represented England in any of the formats.EXPLSOIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHYHe took jibes at everyone in the line of his sight there and it was most probably the end of his international career. He went to say that Andy Flower was ‘sour’ and ‘horrendous’ to work with. He also expressed his disappointment with Alastair Cook in the way he handled Pietersen’s exit. KP also called England wicket-keeper a ‘bad influence’ and exposed England’s bad dressing room culture.advertisementWhile all this finished the chances of him representing England again, he kept saying that he wants to play for them again. Most recently when Cook announced his decision to step down as the captain after England’s horrendous India tour, he tweeted jokingly — one would say — ‘#BringBackKP’. This shows his love for the game and his desire he has to represent the Three Lions again.#BringBackKP- KP (@KP24) February 6, 2017His attitude and larger than life attitude might have had a negative influence in the English cricket but one has to believe that he was one of the most stylish and influencing cricketers of his times.last_img

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