x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

No denying Kevin Pietersen's class

He likely will keep making inopportune comments. But inside a cricket oval, Pietersen is a super being, especially with willow in hand.

England's Kevin Pietersen hundred yesterday was hailed as one of the best by South Africa's Allan Donald.
England's Kevin Pietersen hundred yesterday was hailed as one of the best by South Africa's Allan Donald.

In the past month, Kevin Pietersen has been described as selfish and arrogant, and his commitment to England has been questioned.

And what were the reasons for those unflattering assessments? Just over a month after his shock retirement from limited overs cricket, KP had offered to reverse his decision and make himself available for England in all formats of the game. Of course, there was a fine print to all of that: he wanted the England and Wales Cricket Board to allow him to play the full IPL.

Those comments, coming on the eve of the Test series against South Africa, were poorly timed and added to the band of his critics. It's a wonder that someone who bats the way he did against South Africa at Headingley could get things so wrong off the pitch.

Pietersen's magnificent 21st Test century is being hailed as one of the best innings of this generation and Allan Donald, the former South Africa pace great and current Proteas bowling coach, put it in the "category of genius".

"It reminds me of when I ran into Brian Lara," Donald said. But will it remind Pietersen's employers of his value to the team?

He likely will keep making inopportune comments and grumble about the ill-treatment, real or perceived, meted out to him. But inside a cricket oval, he is a super being, especially with willow in hand. He loves the games and the spotlight.

KP, 32, can still serve English cricket in all three cricket formats. He has expressed his desire to reverse his decision, but should the ECB stick to their position, they might force him to turn a freelancer.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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