Kevin Pietersen has admitted that he was losing his love for cricket before he was ruled out of action with an Achilles injury. Pietersen missed the final three Ashes Tests and is still recovering ahead of the tour of South Africa, but he believes the enforced break was what he needed to freshen up after a challenging year.
In January he lost the captaincy after the fallout with Peter Moores less than six months after taking over the role and after that didn’t look the same player. He was rarely happy on the tour of West Indies and his form at the start of the 2009 season was unconvincing.
After limping through the Lord’s victory against Australia he went off for surgery and although initially the hope was he could return for the Champions Trophy, an infection in the wound meant his recovery has taken longer than expected. However, that time on the sidelines has allowed Pietersen to clear his head of the lingering annoyance of how the year began.
“It was frustrating,” Pietersen told the Independent. “I put into writing all my suggestions, as I was asked to, and [Andrew] Strauss has got the benefit of all that.
“I’ve just had to watch it unfold this summer, which has been extremely hard for me, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise for me to be injured and away from everything so I could try to get my hunger back, because it certainly was dwindling.”
Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower have formed a strong bond as captain and coach with the pair making some tough selection calls - such as the omissions of Steve Harmison and Ravi Bopara for the South Africa tour - a level Pietersen didn’t reach with Moores.
“He [Strauss] has a coach he can work with,” he said. “I never had that. I didn’t have the power or authority to run the team. I never had that as England captain. I loved it, I enjoyed it [the captaincy], but now I leave it to Strauss, who’s doing such a great job. Mentally I’ve left it. I respect Strauss too much to talk about the captaincy.”
Pietersen’s slow recovery from his Achilles surgery seemed to put his place on the South Africa in doubt, but the England management are increasingly confident that he will be available for at least part of the one-day series followed by the four Tests.
Pietersen announced himself on the world stage on the 2004-05 tour when he hit three centuries in the one-day series, but had to endured plenty of abuse from the crowds. This time Pietersen is likely to be one of four of England’s top six born in South Africa - along with Strauss, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior - and although he still expects some reaction from the home fans he thinks it will be different from four years ago.
” I take that as a compliment, the same as Ricky Ponting does when he comes here. I enjoy it, actually,” he said. “But in 2005 it was extremely abusive and my mum and dad were very upset, especially my mum.
“That doesn’t bring fond memories, even though I scored three hundreds and was man of the series. But I don’t expect it to be as bad this time. I think people in South Africa respect me now for what I’ve done.”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Sunday, October 11th, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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