Sportsnight #38: 2005, The Genius of Kevin Pietersen, The Ashes, 5th Test, The Oval

by Charlie_East_West on October 15, 2014

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight. Tonight we feature a previously shown edition of our Sportsnight action, as we really need to talk about Kevin.

Tonight’s action therefore once again comes from The Oval Cricket Ground, on the final afternoon the fifth test of quite possibly the greatest ever five-match Ashes series. It was an afternoon where Kevin Pietersen fulfilled his potential with a series winning innings of 158.

Pietersen had performed respectably with the bat in the first four Ashes Tests, scoring 301 runs at an average of 43. But the manner of some of his dismissals raised question marks about whether he had the patience to thrive in the five-day game. Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper prior to the fifth test, former England opener Geoffrey Boycott said: “Pietersen’s hubris seems to be getting the better of him. He wants to be the superstar, he wants the acclaim and the adulation, but he has not yet put in the performances to back up that attitude.”

Fast forward 9 years and Pietersen has emphatically disproved Boycott’s earlier question marks on his performance. He has a back catalogue of batting displays that will place him firmly in the upper echelons of English cricket history. But, what we have sadly witnessed over the years is that Boycott’s claim of Pietersen’s “hubris” has repeatedly been proved correct.

What a cricketer. What an ego. The Australian players changed their nickname for Pietersen from The Ego to Figjam, an acronym standing for Fuck I’m Good Just Ask Me. For every great innings, there was yet another bust up with authorities, media and players. This eventually culminated in his public sacking after the debacle of the last Ashes tour to Australia.

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography has just been released. It is apparently a book laced with feuds, fall outs and bitter resentment. This is treasure trove material for the media to pour over, but it is tinged with a certain amount of regret. For someone so talented, there is a real danger that Pietersen’s legacy will focus towards his divisive personality, rather than his unbelievable ability when wielding a cricket bat.

Pietersen may be a cricketing genius, but his personality is totally unsuited for the conformity of team sports – especially for one as stuffy as English cricket. Rules are rules, old boy – and Pietersen never played by those rules. There is something admirable about an iconoclastic sporting maverick like Pietersen, but in the end, the old order establishment always wins. He would have been better suited playing an individual sport like tennis. Although, I am sure both Pietersen and the Lawn Tennis Association would have been a match made in hell.

So tonight we get back to where he once belonged. The man in the arena, doing what he did best – swatting Australian bowlers all over the cricket ground.

So for all the troubles with Kevin, let’s remember the good stuff. It was a bloody good innings while it lasted.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eddie Kaye October 16, 2014 at 10:05 am

Interesting Charlie, nice to have the events of my All That is Left debut revisitied with the high profile of the events of the past 12 months giving extra insight to the enigma that is KP.

Undoubtedly the man is a genius. Very much the crowing glory of the long awaited lift that 2005 brought to English cricket.

Little could I see a year ago that the tour down under would be the disaster it was, and that KP’s career would seem over. Complete with the obligatory book (I must admit, my aversion to sports autobiographies will probably preclude me from reading it), one thing was sure about KP, he was not going to go quietly.

My assessment of KP was always that he was central to our plans. If you want someone to dig in, they are ten a penny. He will attack, we know that. Sometimes he would get out daft, which is the price you pay for that level of individual flair and talent.

It may now be the time for new talents to emerge under a new regime to move England forward. I believe they will – although we do need to look for the next step after Jimmy Anderson finishes, and identifying a top draw spinner would be nice. However I am glad that in this little corner of the web the genius that is Kevin Pietersen is still honoured just as it was 12 months ago.

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