x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Cricket: Compromise key if England and Pietersen are to find a solution

Nobody wants to see Kevin Pietersen bat in just the IPL or franchise cricket as nobody will remember him for his runs there, writes Ahmed Rizvi

People deserve to see cricketer Andrew Strauss swatting away for England and not delivering his prodigious blows in the Indian Premier League or in county cricket.
People deserve to see cricketer Andrew Strauss swatting away for England and not delivering his prodigious blows in the Indian Premier League or in county cricket.

It seems Kevin Pietersen has taken the first step on the road to England redemption by meeting with Andy Flower, the coach, for reconciliation talks.

Of course, this is just a start and there will probably be many more such meetings ahead with Flower, and the rulers of English cricket, before Pietersen can convince them of his commitment to the international game.

As a neutral, you can only hope the player manages to show the real "Pietersen" to his employers, the Pietersen who, according to his recent interview in Cricketer Magazine, "used to lie awake at night, willing myself to put in the hard work, the determination, the passion" to succeed.

Every successful individual, whatever his chosen trade, will polarise opinions. But Pietersen will have to make a conscious effort to change perceptions, especially in the England dressing room. He cannot go in there with his "love me or hate me" attitude. He will have to show the pre-IPL pride in wearing the Three Lions shirt.

Flower and the England and Wales Cricket Board, on the other hand, will have to make Pietersen feel wanted. The batsman clearly suffers from a persecution complex and his Cricketer interview showed that.

"I've bumped my head along the way and I've done things I probably shouldn't have done, but I've had to be very headstrong because a lot of people wanted me to fail," he said.

Nobody in England wanted him to fail, but yes, a few mistakes have been made.

How can you fine Pietersen for his tweet about Nick Knight and not say a word to Graeme Swann for his critical comments about Pietersen's captaincy in his autobiography?

That does not help the dressing-room atmosphere. But all that is in the past and both sides need to move on.

Nobody wants to see Pietersen bat in just the IPL or franchise cricket as nobody will remember him for his runs there.

It is those stirring innings such as his knock at Headingley in Leeds last month when he scored a brilliant 149 that seal Pietersen's place among greats.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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