|Kevin Pietersen's stupidity
||[Jul. 8th, 2009|05:53 pm]
Peter Bills' Wide World of Sport
Watching Kevin Pietersen bat brings to mind that old joke from Fawlty Towers: 'Who is using the family brain cell today, Sybil'?|
Pietersen is a death sentence waiting to happen in cricket. He's a self opinionated genius of a player who simply cannot play for or within the confines of a team. He has the ability to put any attack anywhere in world cricket to the sword. He also has the ability, and he proves it time and again, to commit hara-kiri with total disregard for the feelings of those around him.
Pietersen and Paul Collingwood had dug England out of a mess at Cardiff on the first day of the Ashes series. 90-3 became 220-3 and a thoroughly ordinary Australian attack was beginning to wilt. They desperately needed help from somewhere so, in time honoured fashion, England came to the rescue of their old adversaries.
First, Collingwood played a nothing sort of push at a ball he ought to have left alone. A highly valuable and increasingly dangerous partnership was over.
That alone called for prudence and caution on the part of Pietersen, the one genuine class batsman remaining. But the South African born player proved again he really is no genius because he has an intrinsic flaw in his make-up. He plays the most stupid, outrageous shots whatever the situation facing his side and invariably gets out.
Thus we saw this flaw demonstrated once again, this time in Cardiff. Pietersen's ludicrous stretch for a nothing ball from Nathan Hauritz outside off stump which he attempted to swing down the leg side, ended in a simple dolly catch to short leg.
What a sucker, what a mug. The Aussies were on the ropes and Pietersen just walked across the ring and hauled them back onto their feet. No wonder they laughed themselves silly at the guy.
Pietersen's selfish stupidity could well prove the single act that decides the Test. Had he stayed and gone on to make a big hundred, the Australians could have found themselves virtually batted out of the game even by the end of the first innings. For on a wicket expected to turn increasingly, especially on days four and five and with Australia having to bat last against two spinners in the opposition attack, England briefly held almost all the aces.
The way Pietersen in particular just chucked them away as though he couldn't care less was sickening. Team sport is about self sacrifice, about abandoning your own natural traits and personal wishes in favour of the collective. But this flawed genius apparently cannot do that. He plays to his own agenda, which is invariably a thoroughly irresponsible approach that frequently ends in self destruction.
England will go on picking him because they don't have anyone else capable of filling the No. 4 position. But they must know his presence will continue to produce groans of dismay, laments about opportunities lost and downright anger at the guy's stupidity and selfishness.
Until Kevin Pietersen learns that cricket is a team game and every participant has to temper his own excesses, his value to England will remain only minimal.