Category Archives: Kevin Pietersen

The Best Of The Lot: So Long, Vaughan

In India, they say that the two most demanding (and most powerful) jobs belong to the Prime Minister and the captain of the cricket team. I don’t think it’s the same in England (not least because football rules the roost there), but Michael Vaughan’s resignation is nevertheless a huge (and kind of shattering) event.

Andrew Miller gives Vaughan the best send-off I’ve read here, and I’ve included a video of his announcement below. Continue reading

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England’s Highs and Lows

Over at Debatable Land, Alex Massie offers a compelling theory of what a good batting team needs to be good. In cricket, he says, it’s not just about averages (Tendulkar’s 55, or Dravid’s 57, or whatever), but about highs and lows. So, when a batsman strikes good form, he needs to really make it count and dominate a series and, one hopes, even a summer. Foreign teams throw up a number of such figures: Mohammad Yousuf for Pakistan, circa 2006-7; Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden (to name only a few) for Australia; Kevin Pietersen for England last year. These guys are always good, but during their good days, their averages went through the roof, allowing their teammates to group around them.

The problem with England, however, is that no one is currently really firing, and it doesn’t look like anyone will. Continue reading

Simon Hughes Knows What You’ll Do Next Summer

I’ve long harped on about how much I love Simon Hughes, Channel Five’s resident cricket analyst. He’s always so incisively clinical in his commentary, noting patterns and strategies and possible influential elements (cloud cover, weather changes, dryness, etc.). That doesn’t make him the best commentator; ideally, you want that flair and drama that only Boycott and Nichols can provide. But Hughes’s 2-minute breakdowns of the biggest factors in play — when he, for instance, succinctly explains what makes Monty Panesar so effective, or why swing bowling is so difficult to play — give the layman a window in this complicated, difficult sport.

So, as a tribute, watch Hughes predict Michael Vaughan’s wicket on the first day against South Africa and almost predict Kevin Pietersen’s initial madness. Again, it’s all about patterns: Vaughan’s got feet problems, and Pietersen is always so jittery at the start, hopping about madly until he knows the pitch is his. See below, at 1:00 and at 4:00.

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Kevin Pietersen Goes Both Ways

Nothing about Kevin Pietersen is straightforward: of South African origin, he has become England’s best player (and, before Monty showed up, its much better off-spinner). When he first arrived on the scene, he oozed attack and aggression, which some commentators ascribed to a lack of “post-colonial guilt.” And even now, in his current mellowed, more “mature” phase, he still has the penchant to excite (Celeste or otherwise).

Take the rule-bending, switch-hitting reverse sweep (see below). The shot raised some hackles, even after declared legal. As Michael Holding pointed out, if that was legal, surely bowlers should be allowed to come around or over the wicket as they please, without prior announcement. Continue reading

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