Instead of the post-series analysis focusing on Cook and Flower’s role in leading the England squad to a devastating 5-0 drubbing, the middle order batsman Kevin Pietersen has been the scapegoat of much unnecessary criticism.
The main source of KP hate has come from Andy Flower’s very own propagandist: Paul Newman, a reporter of no repute belonging to a “newspaper” that is the same – the Daily Mail.
Arguably the greatest batsman to grace the English whites, South African-born Kevin ‘Peter’ Pietersen has showcased his talent on the international front with over 8000 test runs as well as outstanding stats in both ODIs and T20s which brings up the debate: why is the English setup so adamant to #blamekp?
Such polarizing and outrageous statements, which are usually the forte of KP at press conferences, have instead been delivered from the jaded coach Andy Flower about the alleged presence of a rebellious figure in the dressing room.
‘Speak of the devil and he shall appear’ is a fitting statement, for Flower for once this series is certainly right – there has been a figure which has caused the once cohesive test number one side to fall apart at the seams; however, this figure is Flower himself.
Following Trott’s departure from the tour due to a stress-related illness, a mid-series retirement from off-spinner Graeme Swann and the dropping of then vice-captain wicketkeeper Matt Prior, it is hard to blame such situations on Kevin.
The inclusions of both Tremlett and Bresnan this series portray Flower and the rest of the selectors in a negative light indeed – Bresnan is a shadow of the player he once was following surgery, and the same applies for Tremlett as he has unsuccessfully been able to achieve the sort of threatening pace that was once a feature of his bowling circa the 2009 Ashes series, following a serious back injury.
Flower’s fall from grace in the eyes of the English public has been made abundantly clear, with several former cricketers such as Michael Vaughan criticizing his stance towards KP. Michael Vaughan, victorious captain of the magnificent 2005 Ashes, has fully shown his support for his former teammate believing that instead of being scapegoated, KP should be handed over the vice-captaincy in an attempt to overthrow England’s defensive tactics on the pitch.
Pietersen once held the reins of the England test squad captaincy in 2008 following Michael Vaughan’s injury which saw the all-rounder Andrew Flintoff fail to cope with stress in the 2006 series, which Australia had dominated. The scoreline of the 2006 series 5-0 was fitting for Australia, with a squad possessing greats such as Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne at the peak of their powers.
However, the 2013 side that led Australia to 5-0 is distinctly ordinary in comparison – Mitchell Johnson, England’s chief tormentor, might not have even played this series if not for injuries to the young pacers Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.
Players should be picked on ability instead of personality, and in the case of KP he has both in abundance. He is able to turn the tide of a test match in a single session with his flamboyant and utterly destructive batting. Remember how in Headingly he faced a barrage of bouncers to subdue a rampaging Steyn and co to lead England to a draw on a responsive wicket, and moreover in Colombo where his innovative strokeplay such as his impressive command of a switch hit led to an English win in physically draining conditions.
His dominance in the subcontinent was further demonstrated in Mumbai, where it appeared as he was playing on a different wicket, as he constantly danced down the wicket to pulverize the Indian bowling attack and laid to rest claims of his apparent weakness to the left-arm spin of Pragyan Ojha with a phenomenal 186 on a deviously turning track.
With such match experience and hunger for victory, it is surprising that Pietersen is not being considered for the role of English captain following last year’s debacle down under.
Able to turn around the outcome of a match on his own, it is time he is given more responsibility and the opportunity to turn around the outcome of the test squad.