Day Two: Irresistible KP Puts England In Charge

Posted: July 23, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011

 Goutham Chakravarthi

 23 July 2011


Kevin Pietersen is either a genius or he is not. I know not which one. He may have looked out of his depth as a captain when he came to India – both with England and as captain of Royal Challengers in the IPL. But he always seems to have a sense of big occasion whilst batting. He has made many left-arm spinners look like Bedi, but also has dominated the better bowling of his time like few others have.

It is difficult to pin his success to one thing. Most keen observers think it is his desire in wanting to be the best as the reason. Even as early as 2002, when he was still two years away from being eligible to represent England, he spent the winter in Sydney playing grade cricket. Why? Because he wanted to learn more about off-spin and Sydney University had Greg Mathews in its ranks. He has had this immense desire in wanting to associate himself with champions all through his career so that he could be one himself. Of him wanting to be the best, he has never doubted.

Kevin Pietersen was scintillating on day two of the Lord’s test

His early years are quite revealing. He went to Maritzburg College, and reckons he never missed school on Tuesdays as it was cricket day. Even more telling is the culture that was built there to win and KP can’t remember losing more than two games in six years of cricket for the school. Almost as a rule, Kevin could never settle for ordinary. His early years never had many people marking him out for outright greatness. If anything his off-spin got him into the Natal team only for him to lose it to a coloured spinner from Guateng as the quota went up to three from two. He picked a fight with Dr. Ali Bacher on this matter and then decided to consider a future elsewhere. Clive Rice from Trent Bridge offered him a future there, Bacher advised against it, but Peter Pollock told him to go for it. The rest is well documented.

Coming in to this test there was the story of Kevin Pietersen saying he was a “South African” and he only “worked in England”. Although Kevin Pietersen has publicly pledged his allegiance to his adopted country, it has been quite a debated topic. Kevin’s professionalism can never be in doubt as he never leaves anything to chance. His methods have never been the most traditional and his penchant to impose himself on the game and the opposition has often been his way. But he bided his time battling tough conditions and the swing of Zaheer and Praveen on Thursday and cashed in on the start all through Friday. His discipline to the innings showed his remarkable ability to seize the moment. Not having to face Zaheer would have been an obvious plus, but to have resisted going after the bowling knowing its limitations showed his match awareness. Strauss got out after doing the difficult bit; he wasn’t going to give away a good start.

He constantly shuffled across to the seamers and his battle with the cagey Praveen Kumar was worthy of a chess match with two Grand Masters plotting moves to check-mate the other. Praveen Kumar would perhaps have benefited had Ishant found his rhythm and gave him better support. Nonetheless, a swinger of gentle speed but with skills of a trapeze artist against the most gifted English batsman of his generation was engrossing. Praveen bent the ball both ways from over and around the sticks. Pietersen shuffled to the off-side, chipped down the wicket to upset the bowler. Praveen Kumar, every now-and-then tried bowling Pietersen around his legs and tried trapping him in front. Suffice to say it was the battle of the day and quite an enjoyable one between the two heroes of the day. Pietersen survived a few close calls, but emerged victorious in the end.

Kevin Pietersen’s last fifty was a breeze. He had spent enough time at the crease to do as he wished and Ishant looked short of ideas bowling to him. He composed an array of audacious flicks and drives and got to his double ton so quick he gave England a chance to bowl at the Indian openers for 30 minutes.

The wicket still has a lot on offer for good bowling and as Kevin Pietersen has shown, batting isn’t impossible either. India, hamstrung with Zaheer’s absence, will hope to bat long and well in the first Innings so as to take this test to safety from their view point. England will want to bowl out India cheaply and consider batting for a bit to tire the three-man bowling attack further with the second Test starting just three days post this test.

Lot to look forward to on day three. Day two belonged to Kevin Pietersen.

  1. Nice article, got opportunity to know about KP’s cricket life.
    It is very easy for KP to score runs against India as Dhoni will prefer to go for an non-attacking field arrangement through out the match. Once there is no pressure from the fielding team, you can play any kind of shot and score big hundreds like this.

    Even without Zaheer, I believe India is better side in terms of bowling. A basic needs to be fulfiled is set proper field arrangements for a bowler. For Harbhajan, always go with 3 fielder around the bat and Bhajji should bowl from around the wicket if the batsmen is a left hander otherwise an off spinner doesn’t need to go around the wicket.

    The spells of Bhajji & Ishant doesn’t look impressive and Bhajji especially not in a mood to pick wickets, Since an off spinner bowling on a test match 2nd day from around the wicket and he didnt tried pitching delivery on off stump and bring it on.

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