If I failed I was ‘South African-born Kevin Pietersen’, but every time I played well I was English, says KP

Kevin Pietersen, ECB, England, South Africa
Image Credit - ECB
  • Kevin Pietersen recently announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket
  • The former England captain played over a 100 Tests for his country and scored over 13,000 international runs
  • Pietersen has revealed that he always felt like an outsider in the English dressing room during his playing days

Leaning back on a sofa in the drawing room of his home in Surrey (England), Kevin Pietersen shouldn’t have much to complain about. After all, the maverick former England captain has just called time on his professional career with the ECB and otherwise, and is now firmly looking forward to the next phase in his life. The South Africa-born right-hander announced his retirement like he played his cricket, in an unassuming and to-the-point twitter post which read: “BOOTS UP! Thank you!”

Sometimes, in cricket’s twisting kaleidoscope, it is better to be remembered as a player of truly great innings than simply as a great player. And when history judges Kevin Pietersen’s contribution to English cricket, he will be up there with the great entertainers.

The world will remember him switch-hitting Muttiah Muralitharan for six at Edgbaston, his cross-batted, Babe Ruth baseball home run in a thrilling duel with Brett Lee, the one-legged ‘flamingo’ whip through mid-wicket and slog-sweeping Shane Warne into deep backward Harleyford Road where nobody else could lay a bat on him.

The Ashes-winning 158 in 2005, the double hundred in Adelaide, the double hundred against India at Lord’s, the 186 in Mumbai, the 151 in blast-furnace heat in Colombo and the outrageous 149 against South Africa were all Kevin Pietersen specials that are bound to stay in memory for long.

Undeniably, KP’s assorted feats as a cricketer for England and ECB came with strings attached, notably the BlackBerry text messages to South Africa players during a series which knocked England off the No.1 spot in Test cricket’s charts. Nobody will really know why he ever did that.

Could it be that Pietersen felt so alienated in his own dressing room (a place ostensibly controlled and manipulated by the ECB) – by contributions to a spoof Twitter account mocking his hubris and dress sense which looked suspiciously like insider dealing – that he sought company among opponents who shared his country of birth? Pietersen was never allowed to forget his roots in South Africa.

While he accepts a part of the blame, Pietersen also reiterates the difficulties of being an ‘outsider’ inside an ECB regulated England dressing room and his efforts of coming from South Africa and fitting into the world of English cricket.

I was South Africa born every time I failed, and an England cricketer when I played well: Kevin Pietersen

“An England dressing-room is quite an interesting place to be as a foreigner. You feel accepted, but you know you are only a stone’s throw away from being tossed aside. I played my whole career knowing every single time I failed I was ‘South African-born Kevin Pietersen’, but every time I played well I was English.”

“I probably said things I shouldn’t have but I was always fighting for my career. When you are a foreigner in a dressing-room people are quick to judge,” he says.

Post retirement, Pietersen can now focus all his energies on his company SORAI (Save Our Rhinos Africa/India) and we wish him well on his wildlife crusade, a cause which is very close to his heart and is only fuelled by good intentions.

Here is Cricket Australia‘s video of Kevin Pietersen bashing the Australian bowlers in 2010 Adelaide, Ashes.

READ: Complete IPL Schedule and Time Table for 2018 Indian Premier League.


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