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KP makes headlines again

Jonathan Agnew | 23:57 UK time, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

No question what the talking point is at the end of the first day of the series - it's KP again!

No doubt there will be the same split in opinion we witnessed when he tried to hit Paul Harris for six at Edgbaston to reach his hundred, and hit a catch down long-on's throat. On that occasion former players were fiercely critical while a healthy number of cricket fans were happy to rejoice in his innings.

Well, it has happened again and although Pietersen tried to shrug it off by saying that it is the way he plays, the thunderous look on his face as he stormed off the field before the catch had even been taken said it all.

The fact is that he has now missed out on two Test centuries which, with just a little circumspection, he would have achieved and that must hurt.

The "that's the way I play" line didn't really hold water in this case either because until that over, he had been the model of circumspection and discipline. Even the great Viv Richards - as aggressive a batsman as there ever has been - was lost for words.

If that shot lacked tactical nous, Chris Gayle's performance in the field in the final session was utterly bizarre.

Kevin-Pietersen-hits-out-du.jpg

Having dominated much of the day with Benn, the left-arm spinner, bowling 33 overs on the trot, he then set no fewer than three men on the hook for Andrew Flintoff, and two short mid-wickets!

It really was impossible to work out what the West Indian captain was thinking, and rather than battling under pressure, Flintoff - who had also been the model of patience - and Prior were able to negotiate the final half an hour with ease.

The first instance of a player referral in a match involving England occurred during the afternoon when Gayle asked for an lbw decision against Paul Collingwood to be looked at by the third umpire.

The whole process took two-and-a-half minutes when, in fact, it should have taken a lot less.

The first replay down the pitch showed us that the ball had struck Collingwood outside the off-stump - although not by much - but for some reason Darryl Harper took a long time relaying the information to Rudi Koertzen in the middle. Hopefully more practice will speed everything up a bit.

It is difficult to gauge what a good score is on this pitch.

Very slow, the amount of early spin has taken everyone by surprise to the extent that both teams might regret not playing a second spinner.

Certainly a large first innings would give England a huge advantage, and they would consider 350 to be a good start.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    97 valuable runs from Pietersen, I'd certainly take that over getting just 7.

  • Comment number 2.

    Disappointing from most of the top order, really would have liked to have seen Shah given a chance, possibly instead of Collingwood but probably Bell. What a marvellous innings from Pietersen though.

    If, and it's a fairly big 'if', Prior can stick around and pick up a half century and Flintoff can continue with the same discipline then we could still be looking at 350-400 which after the first hour you would have bitten your own arm off for. Here's hoping...

  • Comment number 3.

    If KP keeps hitting our only big score, he can claim he got out for a laugh for all I care.
    Why oh why oh why does Bell contiue to be played ahead of Shah?
    English cricket is a mess.

  • Comment number 4.

    really interested with this new player referall system, should give the players an extra edge.

    on the other hand bad game for england, strauss and cook look a bit lost,
    bell looked ok but i'd still like to give shah a go at least once more.
    pieterson, good as always, shame he did'nt get a hundred.
    colly, well he's colly.
    freddie, calm and clear headed, which is a good sign and helped steer the innings in the right direction with prior.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm sure everyone will be in floods of tears about KP's shot, but to do so casts him as the villain in a side in which his was the only score of note.

    Yeah, he didn't make the landmark, but in the same over in which he lost his wicket - IN THAT SINGLE OVER - he scored more in 3 balls than the openers' entire innings combined.

    If a few more of the top order got anywhere near the 90s, maybe we'd have something to judge him against. Until they do, we should give the bloke a pat on the back, say "well played" and get on with it.

    Oh, and drop Ian Bell.

  • Comment number 6.

    My comment is simply arithmetical. Today KP scored 97 - if everyone who batted today had scored 97, England would be 679 for 5. I feel KP does not have to make any more points. I will see you playing at Lords on 16/7/2009. Well done KP! Most English cricket players/fans are "over the moon" that you elected to be English and most of us will cheer you whether you score 10 or 100.

    I do not understand how anyone criticises KP - this includes Jonathan Agnew. All I can say is, as an ex skipper, just play your game KP and keep batting the way you do. Most of us wish we had your talent and all of us enjoy the way you bat.

    BLittletax from Ireland

  • Comment number 7.

    I do not think anything I said could offend anyone - it was merely an appreciation of KP's talent. No swear words!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    If "that is the way KP plays" then he needs to play better.
    Just because you play a brilliant innings before a silly shot doesn't stop it from being a silly shot.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think it would help if KP tried to ignore the milestone of getting to 100. It seems to be such a big thing in his head, when in reality it means nothing. I'm sure that if he continues batting this way he'll have a whole heap of scores between 90 and 110! (Still better than the rest of England though)

  • Comment number 10.

    Although every team would want to win every test and continuity is important, surely giving Shah two tests, one at the expense of Bell and one at the expense of Collingwood would not be a huge risk?

    Scores of 28 and 16 would suggest we would not be much worse off and we would have a better insite in to the test mentality of somebody who has been waiting a long time for a breakthrough...

  • Comment number 11.

    Well, I am not sure what the media want from the English cricket team - to highlight and appreciate their positives, or to keep complaining about the negatives? And also do not go overboard praising the team as they need to show some consistency before they are bestowed "greatness" upon.

    KP's knock was superb, but why the fuss about missing a hundred? And the reminder that he missed another (thanks for reminding that Paul Harris was the bowler, apologize that I forgot). If that is the way he plays and he doesn't care, so be it. Sehwag never changes his style in the 90's, even Gambhir recently got to a hundred against the Aussies by hitting a six. I am not sure the player would be worrying as much about it as the media planting questions in the spectators and the selectors mind on why he didn't get a hundred. Thankfully, not everyone plays for a personal milestone. I can understand if the argument was based on the fact that the job was not yet done and as a senior player he needed to play another couple of sessions, score a big hundred in the process and get his team close to 400.

    Gayle and the West Indies performed quite well given the circumstances. Of course, they were aided by some poor batting by the English top order, but on a pitch where it was very quickly evident that the quicks would not be very effective (or at least the WI quicks weren't), he and Benn managed to put quite a bit of pressure on England. It required some gritty batting by KP and Freddie to get them out of a hole that they've been digging themselves in. You cannot get a couple of wickets every session - I am sure this same ploy would have been praised and considered a stroke of genius if the Windies had gotten a wicket or two in the final sessions.

    Overall, an absorbing day of test match cricket, with honors even between two sides who look to be evenly matched would be a good way to sum this up.

  • Comment number 12.

    Pietersen got himself out going for 3 figures and Cook got himself out going for 2 figures...

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm sorry aggers, but KP is our best player by an absolute country mile. he gets us out of trouble more times than i can remember! I cannot and will not criticise someone that gives so much to the England squad unlike a certain someone ahem (collingwood) who is constantly praised for giving 'his all' and '110 percent'...well, i could do that, doesn't mean i should be picked for England!

    And Bell! It's unbelievable how many lives this bloke has!?! What has Owais Shah actually got to do to get a chance? When has Bell proved himself??? The only suitable situation for Bell is number 6 with a healthy score, any other circumstances and he bottles it.

    Please aggers, get your priorities right

  • Comment number 15.

    I chime with the above comments about Kebin Pietersen.

    I think it would be worse for Cricket (particularly English Cricket) if KP spent spent four days trying to get 197 (a la Chris Tavare), rather than 97 in half a day.

    This is becoming a very old story: Criticize KP for not getting a huge score, when so many others on the team struggle to get a decent one.

    One of the best things the (until recently) great Australian team did was up the tempo of the scoring rate in test Cricket.
    This allowed them to win matches that previously would have been drawn. (Yes, and they had bowlers who could take wickets.)

    When I try to explain the game to American friends, they are amazed that we have a game that goes on for five days (I have no objection).
    But they are astounded when I can tell them after about one day that "it will probably be a draw"

  • Comment number 16.

    Very disciplined and "team first" innings from KP - and from Fred as well for that matter. But Kevin really should have taken a deep breath on 97 (after 4,4,6 !). Not only would he have got his hundred if he had but England would have been in a much stronger position at close of play.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'd said all along England should have played two spinners. I'd much rather have Swann playing in this match than Harmison.

  • Comment number 18.

    Quality innnings from Pietersen. The only people who find fault with it are the miserable "journalists".

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi KP and his fans: My lines are not original but they are very relevent. They go like this..."neighbour's envy, owner's pride"

  • Comment number 21.

    What i find so amazing is that Pietersen is criticised for scoring 97 while the other four batsman in England's top 5 managed to score 55 runs in total. Pietersen is the only class batsman England have and his average of 51 is some ten runs higher than his fellow batsman. Apart from Strauss he is the only batsman likely to score a hundred. As long as England insist on playing Bell and Collingwood in the same team then the batting will continue to misfire as it has done for the past three years. If Bell and Collingwood are both still in the Test Team when the Aussies arrive England could be in trouble. There must be some other batsmen in the country worth picking instead.

  • Comment number 22.

    Why is Collingwood so continuously underrated? In last 4 test, he has hit two centuries and an average close to 60; Bell no centuries and an average close to 20. Yet many of the comments above seem to suggest they are interchangeable in lack of form. Also, Collingwood has scored centuries when the going was hard. Their England career stats are very similar, but recent form suggests a big difference.

    Regarding KP, I was furious that on the TMS podcast the interviewer, without even congratulating him on another great innings, asked the first half dozen+ questions about his dismissal. I wouldnt wonder if KP thinks he should've stayed in South Africa and avoided having to put up with this nonsense.

  • Comment number 23.

    Top innings from Kevin Pietersen. I've read that he is a huge fan of records and statistics and based on that, guess he wlll be kicking himself for missing two additional test hundreds by just a handful of runs. I would liked to have seen him get there yesterday just to watch what would have probably been an interesting pre-planned celebration given all that has gone on.

    Worried about Cook who I like but is going through a bad trot, a la Strauss, who could do no wrong for his early England career and then lost it before coming back. He needs a 100 and soon.

    Personally, I would keep Ian Bell and dispense with Collingwood for Shah. I thought the way he let the two spinners dictate just after tea showed a lack of real intention and idea and as was said on Sky, difficult to believe players like Clarke and Ponting would have let that situation carry on.

    Think England will win, the track looks nothing like the Sabina Park of old (discounting the 1998 debacle).

  • Comment number 24.

    Piety makes 20 iffy shots that fetch him runs, no one moves. He follows his instincts and makes the 21st and gets out, every one sees the stupidity that prompted the shot. Media corps' hackles go aquiver as though they are the ones who missed an easy century, not Piety. This vicarious sense of injustice smacks of loads of hypocrisy.

    Aggers' has a deadline to meet. The typewriter goes fairly awhizz while his brain is immovably jammed on the one thought 'KP should not have played the 21st shot.' So, many senior oldies' expert opinion is recalled, the great Viv Richards is lost for words; though it may be much easier to assume he did not intend to use any; his delight at the dimissal should take some tact to hide.

    I am glad there are quite a few posts that lambast Aggers opportunism. Clarity of thought and logic has not completely deserted the users of this forum. NightRider (No. 11 above) is very persuasively cogent, in addition to some others.

    If at all, it is comparatively much more excusable for England supporters to feel agrieved by KP's pursuit of his instincts in the context of the team situation rather than that of his century.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good post sevenseaman, spot on.

    If you look at KP bat, sometimes it is just surpising at how he manages to score against quality opposition bowling. I mean, look at the technicalities. His stance, feet movement, backlift, shuffle across either to the off side or leg side. To put it bluntly, he is not a copybook batsman or technically a pleasure to watch or young kids to emulate. But guys, he is darn well effective. Same goes with Sehwag, where pundits can point out ad nauseam about his lack of feet movement or shoulders not aligned with the ball or whatever it is, but he goes and gets double and triple hundreds. Both these batsmen will end their careers with the credit of being one of the most effective and destructive international Test match batsmen.

    Point being: any of the several shots that KP played in his innings could have gotten him out, so do not be too hard on him for getting out on that one shot. If you enjoy his batting and the 90-odd runs that he added to the team total, be prepared to accept his natural style and please please do not do any back seat driving and let the man play his natural game.

    As for Bell, that man is an enigma. I'm see the value in people asking for both Bell and Colly's head, but in summary I can see Colly being an asset to the team with his ability to graft and scratch together an innings. It is not pretty to watch, but it can be damn well effective in Test cricket. And he has proved on more than one occasion that he has the shots for ODI or T20 cricket. I did not see any contribution from Bell on the tour to India except a couple of instances of some very good fielding.

    A few people on this team have been given opportunities over and over again, but didn't even manage to cement their place in the side. The problem is, who do you replace them with? The pipeline does not seem too promising.

  • Comment number 26.

    Its all very well focusing on the man who steadied the ship while it was floundering! But what about the ones who came before him and did very little? I'm not a massive KP fan but give the man a break - or will it always be his fault if the top order fails? Andrew Strauss said that the team couldn't rely on Kp to pull them out of the mire but once again he has had to and is being blamed for not doing it in the right way - crazy!

  • Comment number 27.

    KP saves us AGAIN (he should be the captain) once again the top 3 failed how long are the selectors going to pick Bell he has done NOTHING...also Panesar?!? instead of Swan....me and my friends had selected the team before it was announced as england always pick the same tired team.....come on you selectors pick some young up and coming players cricket is in a total mess

  • Comment number 28.

    Not sure if I want to thank KP for his innings or give him a bit of shake! Arghh, I watched last night and have to admit I thought not again. But the bigger picture is that he has outscored everyone else.
    Time to look at those safe places, Bell and Colly need to watch their step.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mr Agnew you could give KP a bit more credit for saving England again. The rest of our batting is limited and without him we would be hopeless. Yes he got out but how many other players could have turned the situation around like he did. Criticising for not getting his century is a bit rich. KP has one of the best 50-100 conversion rates in world cricket.

  • Comment number 30.

    I would just like to say well done to all the positive KP comments on here.

    People who are being negative about him need to take the three lions off their shirt.

    He got us out of the mire and held the ship straight and gave a nice platform that hopefully Freddy and Matt can build on.

    I love watching KP play and thoroughly enjoyed watching him yesterday. Well done King Kev.

    I bet there are more than a few batsmen who would like to score 97 runs in an innings.........

  • Comment number 31.

    why do England persist with Bell and Collingwood? Play new blood. They have been given their chance and when they are about to be chopped they score a hundred.

    It's now too little too late. To complain about KP is an absolute shocker. He's one of the few players in the team that aren't looking over their shoulder saying 'I could be out of here soon.'

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    KP needs to take a look at himself, in my opinion. I'm not going to argue that he isn't the best basman in the team, nor that he was the only one who found the skill and application to score runs, nor that he should be dropped/disciplined or any of thos ethings. He's a great cricketer and possibly the best batsman in the world.

    However, the one weakness in his game is this selfishness. He got out at 180-5, hardly an imposing position from which to make big shots. He was in and well set and would probablyhave closed out the day. Had he remained patient for another over the 100 would have come, and England could be 250-4 overnight. With his dismissal comes a fresh batsman and extra impetus for the bowling side. Prior was one good ball (or one poorly judged shot early in his innings) from gettng out and then we could have ended 210-6 or 7 overnight.

    Do you see Ricky Ponting putting personal glory above the team? No. Tendulkar? No. Smith? No. Until KP learns, he will remain a great batsman, but never a great cricketer.

  • Comment number 34.

    Steveseaman and others

    "Piety makes 20 iffy shots that fetch him runs, no one moves. He follows his instincts and makes the 21st and gets out, every one sees the stupidity that prompted the shot. "

    The shot that got him out wasn't iffy. It was irresponsible. Its a five day test match. There is no need to throw your wicket away in that manner. A football goalkeeper can drop 10 crosses and on the 11th concede a goal. Do people concentrate on the 11th? No they look at the performance as a whole and say - he made 11 poor errors of judgement. That Pieterson got away with 20 injudicious shots before getting out is no defence really, is it?

  • Comment number 35.

    KP played well so there is no need to blame but what about Cook, Bell and others???


    Also I will just ask one simple question as to why was Anderson dropped though he picked 47 wickets lat year at 29. He was England's best bowler against Saff and though a bit disappointing in India he still outbowled both Harmless- one and Broad but gets dropped why?He also has developed as a bowler as he is more consistent now, has that nip backer to add to that fine outswinger, can bowl with clever changes off pace which has troubled lefthanders and West Indies have a certain Chanderpaul who is a left hander.

    So should performances in 08 be considered or should we consider as to what Harmless-one did in 04? will we be saying say in 2012 that once upon a time a guy called Harmless one took 7 for 12 so he should be there!

  • Comment number 36.

    RE post #33

    First papargraph should read "he's a good cricketer"

  • Comment number 37.

    What more KP has to do? 11 of his 15 hundreds have come when England were in trouble. Few of them are just not satisfied.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Re: Rich_Owl post 33 & 34. I cant say I agree entirely. You could argue that his previous 3 shots were irresponsible, but he got away with them. I doubt that he was trying for personal glory, but was trying to dominate Benn (who had been dangerous and had bowled unchanged for ages). Maybe he was trying to hit him out of the attack, which would have given Gayle some problems and given us the initiative.

    Furthermore, if Pietersen's shot was irresponsible, what was Cook's? Irresponsible and rubbish!

    Yes you can say that he should have played more patiently, but I still say give him credit for playing without fear and saving us again

  • Comment number 40.

    I would be more than happy if KP keeps playing the way he does if it means he keeps getting big scores. So he didn't convert this one to a ton. So what? He's got more than the top three combined, and they're the ones who should be looking at themselves and wondering why they can't play with the freedom and ease that KP does.

    Whilst cricket may be a serious sport to some, it's a method of entertainment for most who watch it, and what could be more entertaining than KP in full swing? Even KP getting out is more entertaining than a Collingwood innings! He's kept us in this test and hopefully we'll see him do the same in the second innings. I wouldn't change him for the world.

  • Comment number 41.

    The point about KP is that he clearly got carried away with adrenaline and played a stupid shot to get out. Clearly he needs to just rein it in at certain points if he wants to maximise the runs he makes, but frankly he should be above criticism after (as usual) rescuing England's feeble batting effort.

    Bell is a worry - seems to start so fluently these days and then get bogged down as if he's overly worried about turning a start into a good score.

    But I have no idea why the focus is on these 2 - if Shah is to come in, surely it is for Collingwood, whose gutsy last chance saloon hundreds should no longer make up for the fact that in 9 innings out of 10 he looks utterly out of his depth.

    As for the captain - an astonishing effort to make this pudding of a pitch seem like Sabina Park in '98! Like Colly another one who spends more innings than not these days looking hopelessly out of form. He has to pull through though, as we're seriously low on captaincy options.

  • Comment number 42.

    Alec Stewart in his autobography points out that (daa, da-da, daaaaa) - batsmen usually get out.

    his philospohy was to get out on HIS terms playing attacking strokes, not nerdling away for hours with a chance of being dismissed anyway.

    i think that's why i enjoy watching Kevin Pietersen so much. he plays his game his way i.e. predominantly in attacking mode. and, it has to be said, it mostly comes off.

    so leave the man alone.

    also this ridiculous stat-lead "missed his century" thing. 3 more runs is unlikely to change the course of a test match. the most important thing is the team's overall peformance.

    English cricket without Pietersen would be dire. he is a bright star that must be allowed to shine.

  • Comment number 43.

    I was watchin the game for most of pietersens innings and i have to say that i dont think its that big a deal the way he got out. yes it was an awful shot but the same could be said for cook, the simple truth was he had just hit benn for 14 in 3 balls so he was right to back himself to hit another boundary to get his 100, and like he said thats the way he plays.
    personally i think we may be ok if we get near 300 which looks likely as flintoff and prior look good.
    roll on the second day.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think that people are a little bit frustrated at the KP dismissel because for 80 runs we saw a very patient and mature innings from KP and we all thought the he would go on to make a big ton.

    Having said that i am glad that he at least hot to 80 odd before trying to hit out, very valuable runs indeed. I would much prefer a batsman have a hit and get out on 97 than for under 30.

    I cant understand why people are also calling for Colly to be dropped, he consistently averages of 40 in resr series.
    Bell must be the one to come under serious scrutiny.

  • Comment number 45.

    The only thing I find frustrating is Aggers making a big deal out of the fact he was on the verge of his hundred. As if we'd be saying any different if he'd played the same shot on 84 or 103.

    Its a team game, he played a great innings and played a silly shot when he looked like he could score 150+ and put the side in a commanding position. The fact he was one shot away from a century is irrelevant. Or if it isn't , it should be. Shouldn't it?

    In Pakistan (this is from memory but I think its right) he was on 94 and hit a six to go to 100, then tried the same next ball and got out! This was certainly a bigger mistake as it was just after the new ball had been taken and exposed an out-of-form Freddie to Shoaib. But its all part of the man, and if the downside of having such a talented, exciting player is that he occasionally does something stupid when he's on 90+, it seems churlish to complain.

    Especially when we should be discussing the failures of Bell and Collingwood and the mystifying exclusion of Mr Shah...

  • Comment number 46.

    Sloping-shoulders journalists and media people talk about Petersen in these terms but the public love him. He gets slated for getting 97. How about more focus on Strauss, and especially Bell and Collingwood, all of whom regularly get 7.

  • Comment number 47.

    The problem most people seem to have with KP is that he has gotten out that way in the 90's.

    He does not seem to mind missing out on personal milestones to better the team's position, so why should the public??

    Gayle challenged him to do it again by not putting the men back in the deep, KP is not likely to back down from a challenge, but Gayle won.

    In his test carreer, KP has won (and will continue to win) far more challenges than he loses.

    Would he be the player we all know and love if he had just ducked all those bouncers from Brett Lee at the Oval in 2005 ??

    I am guessing KP was more annoyed that his mate out-thought him, and that he did not deposit the ball onto the neighbouring island, more than missing out on a hundred....

  • Comment number 48.

    Jonathan says 'that shot lacked tactical nous'. I've read the column numerous occasions now and still don't see Alastair Cook's name being mentioned. Lay off Pietersen.

    There are far too many players in this England team being picked on past reputations. The selectors need to more ruthless come the summer. Bell and Harmison are not doing it. Collingwood has been 'out of touch' for a year. Monty needs to show he is the best spinner and fulfil 'potential' and I think if Cook doesn't get a big one on this tour and Vaughan starts the Summer on fire he too should come under scrutiny.

    The selectors showed last year with Pattison that they would adopt a 'horses for courses' selection policy. Why not Trescothick for the Summer? 20/20 world cup, opening batsman for the Ashes. If he's not up for touring then fine but surely winning the Ashes with the best XI is first priority.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Why the focus on KP? What about the sublime incompetence of the top 3? Surely this is more of a concern than KP getting himself out on 97 playing a rash shot??!!

    Well batted KP.

    IPL must seem like a good option, I'm sure he'll be appreciated there.

  • Comment number 51.

    Good old KP, what a ledge! Yeah, he'll regret it but hey, that's cricket. That's the model of the man. He averages over 50 in Tests and that'll do for me.

    And I must also apologise to England fans, I confidently predicted Strauss and COok would plunder hundreds of runs between them this series... me and my big mouth! (May still happen though...!)

    Hopefully Fred will continue on and is supported well by Prior, Broad and the tail. Maybe a bit of a dis-service to Prior actually who seemed to be batting very nicely indeed. Touch wood...!

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh yeah, and will somebody please pick Owais Shah?!?!?!

  • Comment number 53.

    The England batting was another re run of the good (KP) the bad (Ian Bell) and the ugly (Colly).
    These moments of madness are what keeps KP good rather than great. Is that all he wants? I thought he was a player of ambition.
    If he is only good, what does that say about the rest?
    I'm not complaining about KPs dismissal. I read a quote from Strauss recently that England should stop relying on KP but that is exactly what happened yesterday. Without him we would look a shambles.
    There is hope with Fred and Prior looking good. Let's see what today brings.

  • Comment number 54.

    We should be thanking KP not focusing on his last shot!

  • Comment number 55.

    KP's innings was a model of aptitude and patience until he got into the nineties, then the selfish KP came forward. If he had played sensibly he would have got his hundred and still been there at the close of play.

    It's no wonder he lost the captaincy, he's to selfish for his own good. Cricket is a team game and when playing at this level you play for the team and country, not yourself.

  • Comment number 56.

    Come on Mr Agnew, don't fall into the negative, knocking mode of your colleagues - you're normally better than that! This is the usual reaction from most of the press and former players who further feather their nests by knocking the current players. KP held the innings together yesterday, played the right innings in the conditions, and yet the headlines all seem to be about one error.

  • Comment number 57.

    Jonathan, Jonathan... i appreciate that you, and many others close to the English team, find KP to be a flawed human being, but you do yourself no credit by carping about the shot that led to his dismissal yesterday. Take a step back, look at the scorecard. Without him England would be - again - in an indefensible position in this game. It borders on malice, in my opinion. (And i dont think that is your natural sensibility.) Embrace the KP spirit and celebrate another fabulous innings.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    Firstly, I think any criticism of KP is always made with the understanding that he is a great batsman, certainly England's best.

    I feel in this situation he can be criticised if the shot he played to get out wasn't one he'd have played if he was on any other score, i.e. he played a different shot just to get to a century. This is not wise and doesn't help the team. Having said that, if he fancied hitting the ball for 4 and would have done the same at any other stage of his inning, then that is the man and you can't knock him for it.

  • Comment number 60.

    "It' the way I play"

    What? Hitting the ball up in the air for fielders to have catching practice? A little more responsibiity would go a long way.

  • Comment number 61.

    Interesting referral to the moderators!

    Is it too close to the mark?

    As I have said: A fine Captain's innings by Kevin Pietersen!

  • Comment number 62.

    Again too much criticism of KP.To those who think that he does not play for the team should have a look at these scores and talk

    He came in at 10 for 3 and singlehandedly helped England to win

    Scored more than half of the runs at Edgbaston in a low scoring game against Lanka to help the team win

    Scored 100 and 42 to help England draw a game against Pak

    Helped England to draw the match at Oval against Aus and India

    Came good when England were in trouble against SA last year at Oval

    Scored a hundred and singlehandedly helped England win the match against NZ at TB last year

    Came in at 1 for 2 against India at Mohali and scored 144

    HE scored a fine hundred at Lords against India when England were in trouble and many many more, enough said!

  • Comment number 63.

    Jonathan Agnew must know that players like Pietersen can make Test Match cricket exciting.

    He is worth the admission fee alone, because he plays big shots and attacks (rather than poke around for 15 off 90 balls)

    If you start making him take these shots out of his game, he is half the player and England are in trouble.

    Sometimes it goes wrong, but not often, as 16 test centuries proves. He is a wonderful, exciting player and long may he continue entertaining

  • Comment number 64.

    It will hurt KP inside that he hasn't got to 100 but when you hit 4,4,6 to get to 97 you'd want to carry on hitting boundaries.
    Either way, no one should be complaining because if everyone else in the top 4 could even get to 97, we'd be looking at 400.

    We should be grateful to have KP and that he consistently entertains as well as scoring runs the others don't seem to do

  • Comment number 65.

    England have big problems, I fear. Big big problems.

    Strauss has always looked suspect driving, and despite a FANTASTIC tour of India, his performances over the last three years have been very very poor.

    Bell and Collingwood simply aren't up to it. An average of 40 might have been good in the 80s, but now the mark of a class batsman is closer to 50.

    Cook worries me the most though. A supreme talent. What sort of a shot was that? He's regressing at a tremendous rate.

    I hope I'm wrong, but it looks like those 4 could really struggle for runs this series.

  • Comment number 66.

    Re: KP - he always looks to get off zero and through the nervous 90's as quickly as he can - he always has and probably always will. Whilst risky this does get him past two of the most mentally challenging stages of an innings. I don't think its just bravado - rather a considered risk to minimise those tricky moments. Would you rather he nibbled about for an hour edging from 90 to get out on 97, or went for it? Looks like a lot will be riding on Monty this week - wish I had just a little more cause to be optimistic....

  • Comment number 67.

    I'm sure it hurts, but on the other side of the same coin, I'd hate for him to change the way he plays. 'Live by the sword, die by the sword'...it's shots like these that have made him one of the best batsmen in the world and England's rescuer on a number of occasions.

  • Comment number 68.

    When it gets right down to it, that there's practically a public enquiry every time Pietersen dares to lose his wicket, it really smacks of a lack of faith in the media in the rest of the England batting line-up.

    In somes cases, too many cases, that's justified. So they should be the ones getting the flak for tactical errors and foolish shots.

  • Comment number 69.

    BLOODY HELL, DROP IAN BELL!!!!!!

    IT EVEN RHYMES!!!!!!!!

    What does it need to take?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • Comment number 70.

    For someone with such a big ego, it seems to me KP was happy to try and hit a ball, which he thought deserved to go, for six rather than get to his hundred. I think it is overlooked that scoring runs for the team in the way that he does was more important than pushing singles to get to a personal milestone. It is nice to see an england player playing his natural game whether it be when he is on 97 or 0.

  • Comment number 71.

    I am absolutely amazed at the slagging of KP for the shot he played.
    He is positive with his cricket - got to 97 by playing positively and if the ball had gone out of the ground - comments such as "only Pietersen could do that, no fear in the nineties, he just played the ball on its merits". Maybe, just maybe, the ball held, turned, straightened a little more than he expected and therefore credit to the bowler.
    If the top 5 had all scored 97, with a few extras thrown in, I am sure that the pundits would be deighted - or would they be slagging off the players because none of them reached a century - sure 485 - 3/4 at the close of play is a real bad place to be in!!
    Come on guys - celebrate 97, or we will end up with a team of Chris Tavare's.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well done KP.

    With others I am more focussed on why Cook still seems assured of his place, and why Bell, Collingwood and Panesar are in the team at all.

    Is this the world of cosy 'club England'? Looks like it.

    Which is why KP is such a valuable player. It really does matter to him.

  • Comment number 73.

    Seems to me that England supporters have taken Pietersen to their hearts and love the fact that he is an entertainer as well as a match winner. He has the three lions tattoed onto his arms and loves winning matches for England!

    In contrast there seems to be a fair bit of jealousy from former players & journalists who have had their feathers ruffled by the fact that he is from SA, he has tattoos, he doesn't have a text book technique, he has had some 'individual' fashion ideas and he has a celebrity wife.....hardly fits into the MCC, Lords, old school tie time warp they still live in!

    Keep it up KP, almost the only reason to watch England play Test cricket at the moment!

  • Comment number 74.

    3. At 01:08am on 05 Feb 2009, TheamazingMrWhite wrote:

    If KP keeps hitting our only big score, he can claim he got out for a laugh for all I care.
    --------------

    exactly so MrWhite.

    Your Shah comment is bang on too.

    Chancing my arm, but I've got a good feeling about Harmy in this match...

  • Comment number 75.

    All this media knocking of KP over shot selection and selfish play reminds me of the way certain elements of the press kept having a go at Botham.
    Just like with Botham enjoy KP now as he's not around forever.

  • Comment number 76.

    Negativity is the very ugly side of this nation of ours - KP saves England from yet another embarrassing episode and the press can't help themselves but turn on the one that truly shines in this cesspool of a side. Where was the "Enlgand Captain defends spineless performance" headline?

  • Comment number 77.

    If Pietersen 'only' scoring 97 runs is our major problem then we are doing pretty well.

    Lets see if Bell can get 97 in the series eh.?

    Oh sorry , Belly wasn't born in South Africa was he Aggers.

  • Comment number 78.

    Too much emphasis is placed on personal milestones in cricket. It’s a team game.

    Pietersen is being criticised because he chose to play his normal game, irrespective of the number of runs he had to his name. Would there have been so much talk about his shot if he’d have been on 101 when he played it?

    I remember watching numerous England one day games where Nick Knight slowed down his scoring to ensure that he got to 100, which was to the detriment of the team.

    Pietersen is only concerned with the score that the team gets, not how many hundreds he has to his name…a very strange thing for him to be criticised for.

  • Comment number 79.

    KP consistently scores test match runs!
    Cook and Bell consistently do not score test match runs! End of chat.

  • Comment number 80.

    I can't believe Bell was selected again !!!! What has Owais Shah got to do to get his deserved chance

    Collingwood is not one of the most naturally gifted players like Pietersen or Bell but one of the most dogged in the side. The last few times people said he he should be dropped he answered with two centuries against SA and India

    As for KP forget he missed out on a century but he got England out of trouble again !!! Please let him just focus on his cricket now

  • Comment number 81.

    I don't want to knock KP too much, although at the time I wasn't too happy with the shot. Given the other 3 shots in the over were hit far straighter, why swipe across the line?

    That said, if it flies away for a boundary, everyone says great shot, so you can't have it both ways. Also, if he had been on 101, would he have received the same amount of criticism for the same shot? Maybe not.

    However, the one thing I believe KP (and the rest of the team) needs to consider is WINNING tests. Big scores win tests. The thing I notice about England is a lack of BIG centuries - far too often the century is the aim, where I think they should be looking to cash in an punish the bowlers even more.

    As a comparison:
    Tendulkar - averages 215 if he gets to 100.

    IVA Richards - averages 186 if he gets to 100.

    KP - averages 134. His average overall is >50, better than IVA and only a little behind Tendulkar. Imagine where he would be if he just had a touch more patience when he is in.

  • Comment number 82.

    Was it the right thing to do for a batsman on 97? Probably not. Will KP change in the future? Probably not. Should he change? Definitely not. KP puts on a show and that is one of the important part which will help keep Test cricket alive (in my opinion).

    Flintoff, Prior and the remaing players now have the oppurtunity to take the score up to 400. Then it is up to the bowlers.

  • Comment number 83.

    I`m sorry Aggers the constant carping on about KP getting out to poor shots is just jumping on the bandwaggon. Take a look at the scorecard and you'll see that again he is the top scorer and the only one of the top order to actually do their job. It must be getting heavy carrying all the top order...

  • Comment number 84.

    Am i reading this correctly. is KP really having to explain why he"önly"got 97.
    get an aussie passport KP!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Crikey, what's going on? Does every comment have to go through the mods these days? Is it a chnge of policy?

  • Comment number 86.

    KP's comments obviously hide the fact that he was disappointed. I'm not - he made 97 runs and got us out of a mess.

    High time to try Shah out for Bell.

  • Comment number 87.

    Normally agree with you Aggers, but I think you are a bit hard on KP here.

    As usual he is our top scorer, and this time, immediately after the disappointment of being dumped from the Captaincy.

    You say that 'former players were fiercely critical' when KP got out at Edgbaston against NZ. Well, Alec Stewart certainly was, but then most England fans don't take much notice of Stewart because he has previously 'bigged up' England players represented by his management company. And of course KP isn't.

    While you are criticising KP, Aggers, Messrs. Bell & Cook, two highly talented but continually underachieving batsmen, are having much deserved criticism deflected away from them.

    Give the guy a break, Jonathan

  • Comment number 88.

    Whilst KP did very well to get to 97 there is in my view an obligation to put a high value on your wicket especially on a pitch that seemed difficult to get in on.

    KP had played with great patience for two sessions to steady the ship then in one over tries to do something that he hadn't considered in the previous 170 balls faced.

    As a senior player and England's best batsmen he has to have the attitude that once his in he has to go on. How much stronger would the team look if KP was still there on 150 at 250 for 4. Instead we have to worry about losing another wicket and exposing the tale early in the first session.

    That is why ex-pros have a go a KP. It can be so difficult to get a start in test cricket that once you get one you have to cash in. Just ask Cook, he urgently needs to break his habit of getting out in the 60s.

  • Comment number 89.

    Lots of defence for KP, so I'm going to ask a question. Which would you prefer, watch a player flay the bowling for few, then get out to a rash shot. Or watch England win a test match. The two are, of course, not mutually exlusive, but I'd rather watch England and KP score at 3-an-over and win, than go at 4-an-over and lose.

    I have no problem with KP having a go at the bowling when its appropriate. I just think that at 180-4 on a decent batting track is not the best time to be doing it.

  • Comment number 90.

    When you have as many failures in the top-order as we had yesterday its quite extraordinary that the one singled out for criticism is the one who top-scored. Actually extraordinary isn't the word, pathetic is. As others have said, i'd take him making 97 in every innings over Strauss' and Cook's failures yesterday.

    So what if he didn't make his century? 100s and 50s are personal milestones. Is it really much of a difference he made 97 instead of 100? The guy's been our best player for however long now and people are still trying to pick him out for criticism, its a joke. If other people were making runs in the team then I could understand it but they're not so lay off him, let him play his game. He's the best cricketer we've got and we're lucky to have him.

  • Comment number 91.

    I totally agree with those who argue that Pietersen is fine batsmen and that we should not try to change him. His knock undr immense pressure yesterday was top drawer. It is only a pity that it had to end at some point.

    But those same Pietersen fans (myself included) must also surely accept that he does have a mental weakness: whenever he gets close to the magic 100, as he does frequently, he tries to get there with a flourish so as not to linger in the nervous 90's for too long. He is not the only cricketer to be afflicted by those same unsettling thoughts.

    Gayle said he knew how to get Pietersen out and I think he wil consider that he succeeded in his plan yesterday.

    I am equally sure that had Pietersen reached his milestone (Yes, Aggers of course he was hugely disappointed not to get there) we would have seen him accumulate plenty more runs in a controlled and fluent manner, until perhaps a twitchy double hundred came near.

    Pietersen played to his normal game plan, which has made him a very successful and valuable cricketer. In this same way his own personal achievement - and the success of the team - is almost indivisible. He played in a positive manner which kept the scoreboard ticking, if only just above a trickle, before his final brief flurry. The Aussies play much the same way when in trouble and those runs will be vital come Day 5.

    So, I think, a bit of perspective is needed before we continue to berate the man for having this particular achilles. A Test average consistently above that of Ponting, Tendulkar and Graeme Smith since 2005 is a more telling statistic. We are watching one of the all time greats - So, let us please enjoy it whilst we still can.

    Finally, before we berate Aggers in a similar unthinking manner I think it is worth re-reading his comments. You may reflect (as I did) that his short piece is well balanced and his words carefully reflect the entrenched dichotomy of opinion which will always surround Pietersen.

  • Comment number 92.

    I have to say Aggers I normally enjoy your blogs but this one has been a real disappointment.

    As you can see from almost every post I think there are other aspects to the team that you could focus on rather than trying to point out the faults of England's best player on the first day.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hopefully, when the England selectors see even Chris Gayle getting more turn than Panesar, we will give Swann a chance. After all probably the two key Windies batsmen - Gayle and Chanderpaul - are lefties and much more likely to be bothered by an off-spinner than a slow left armer. Doesn't seem to be rocket science - most of the England fans agree on this.

  • Comment number 95.

    Fact is KP had his ambition spurned by the ECB, who didnt trust him after putting him in a position of trust!

    He should have someone in his ear telling him to make big big hundreds and become one fo the all time greats but he is surrounded by self protected, unambitious characters in a set up which has tried only to fail to get away from producing moderate performers.

    From the moment he left SA to now he has outgrown the ambition of everyone around him, lets keep giving him love and respect for being such an artisan.

  • Comment number 96.

    why focus on kp? did nobody see that andrew flintoff, a man who has been lately "struggling" with the bat, held firm through two 50 partnerships, whilst playing a very sensible innings. yet most of the mindless people on here complain kp didnt get to a hundred and played a silly shot. i'm sorry, i don't see the difference between 97 and 100, besides 3 runs. maybe if colly or bell went and got 97 runs, we wouldn't be in this position. well batted kp, fred, and prior.

  • Comment number 97.

    I agree with some of the other posters that there does appear to be a weakness of sorts when he gets to the 90s. But its a much better problem to have than if you've got a mental (and in some cases technical!) problem getting into double figures.

    Every player has areas of their game they could improve on. However the rest of the team's failings are surely much worse than the ones KP demonstrated yesterday.

  • Comment number 98.

    It's an absolute disgrace. KP ought to have learned something from his previous moment of madness with the 6-hitting attempt in the 90s during the summer. But perhaps he isn't quite bright enough to learn after only one lesson. Or is it going to reinforce his bloody-mindedness, so that every time he is in reach of a ton he will try to hit a six? In my eyes he would go up in my estimation if next time, (and it goes without saying that he will get into the 90s again and again), he shows restraint.
    I know I would....

  • Comment number 99.

    Why at the end of a first day test are we talking about KP (again)?
    The guy got 97 runs far more than other English batsman.

    We should be talking about England's problem position - Number 3?
    Bell gets a start again and then doesn't kick on to get a fifty - same old story there then. Ok so he didnt lay a Pieterson type shot but then he didnt score 97 runs.
    I have no idea why we persist with Bell as number 3, Shah has proved with his form in the warm-ups he deserves a chance in the test side.

    But i guess actually talking about improving the England team doesn't any controversy and the media would prefer to talk about KP!

  • Comment number 100.

    Aggers instead of highlighting Pietesens poultry 97 without which I add we would be in deep doodoo, why not have a look at the resrt of the batting line up.

    If they all hit between 50 and 90 every innings we would be number 1 in the world.

 

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