“Generally, sporting legends end their careers on a tragic note. Tragedy is exactly what makes these legends even more iconic and memorable than they actually are. “
At present, these lines can be associated with veteran England batsman Kevin Pietersen. The 34 year old Pietersen had been under the scanner for quite a long time now.
It is extremely disheartening to see that a player of Kevin Pietersen’s stature has been struggling to get into the English side. Pietersen, England’s leading run scorer for England across all three formats has made it to the news yet again. The 6 and 1/2 feet tall southpaw from Hampshire has been thrown into the cold storage yet again by the ECB director and former England skipper Andrew Strauss despite scoring a career best 355 for Surrey against English county side Liecestershire. Strauss said trust issues forced the board to keep Pietersen out of their plans for the upcoming English cricketing season.
Recurring controversies have been ailing Pietersen’s career for quite a long time.When he took over the riegns from Michael Vaughan in 2007-08, he was widely regarded as English cricket’s trump card. In 2008, when Pietersen led England against India, his relationship had with England coach Moores had already began deteriorating. Soon after the incident, Moores was removed from and so was Pietersen. Andrew Strauss took over the captaincy from Pietersen and Andy Flower was assigned the coaching job. Pitersen silenced his critics in 2011 when the world champions India were whitewashed 4-0 in the test series in England. Pietersen was quite instrumental in England’s series victory against India as he had piled on 533 runs in a 4 match test series averaging 106.6 which meant that Pietersen’s reputation as one of England’s all time greats could no longer be denied.
The splendour however, was short-lived as a dip in form for Pietersen in 2012 was followed by more off-field drama. Pietersen’s relations with the ECB and the coach Andy Flower deteriorated. He further landed in a controversy after sending defamatory text messages regarding England skipper Andrew Strauss to the visiting South African players. What followed the incident was an apologetic interview given by Pietersen at a press conference. But sadly, Pietersen’s reputation kept on deteriorating . His dismal outing against the Aussies down under in 2013-14 where the Englishmen were whitewashed 5-0 in the winter ashes is believed to the prime reason behind the southpaw’s untimely retirement. Pietersen’s autobiography published later that year added salt to the wounds and was arguably the most outspoken autobiography in the history of the game. It launched an emorltional attack on those he felt had wronged him and had brought his England career to a standstill.
With more than 8,000 test runs under his belt from 104 test matches for the national side, Pietersen is undoubtedly one of the greatest and the most celebrated batting greats of the modern era. His record speaks louder than words. His absence from the team would mean that England’s already fragile batting order is bound to suffer in the upcoming home series against the kiwis and the all important summer Ashes against the Aussies. The only silver lining that can be seen here is that the 34 year old’s expulsion from the team has not at all hampered his domestic popularity. Twenty20 franchises all over the world want to rope in Kevin Pietersen into their respective sides primarily because of the southpaw’s hard-hitting ability and inventive strokeplay.
The Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad are eagerly waiting for Pietersen to join the side. He is expected to join the side on 15/5/15. Pietersen’s presence in the team would surely act as a big boost for the Sunrisers who are presently placed third in the league table with 14 points from 12 games courtesy of 7 wins and 5 losses.
Even if Kevin Pietersen’s late resurgence and bouncing back to form do not work out and he does not get back into the national side, he will end at atleast end his career knowing that he gave it another shot, and perhaps the best shot he could give in the circumstances .