'It feels really good facing Yuvraj the pie chucker,' snaps Pietersen
Monday 22 December 2008
The England captain and centurion Kevin Pietersen last night labelled Yuvraj Singh, India's batting and left-arm spin hero, a "pie thrower".
The derogatory assessment of Yuvraj's bowling technique is part of an ongoing feud between the pair. The mood of England's leader will not have been helped by the questionable dismissals of himself and Andrew Flintoff in the final two overs of the third day.
Pietersen was adjudged lbw to Harbhajan Singh for 144 while Flintoff, with the light fading, was caught for 62 at short leg off the last ball of the day's play. The wickets made an England victory here an unlikely event.
As men, Pietersen and Yuvraj are both quite pleased with themselves and when either is batting there is no shortage of chat, which was the case here yesterday. England's verbal jousting unsettled Yuvraj in the first innings of the Chennai Test and, despite his protestations, it seems as though India's decision to bowl Yuvraj at Pietersen as soon as he came out to bat riled the England captain yesterday.
"I wasn't surprised to see him come on," said Pietersen, failing to hide his dismay. "When Zaheer Khan, one of the best fast bowlers I have faced, is not bowling and you have a pie chucker like Yuvraj Singh on, I really don't mind.
"When Zaheer Khan is taken off for left-arm filth like that it makes you feel really good. I didn't find what they did insulting. Everybody is entitled to do what they want to do. It is always frustrating to lose late wickets. The decision I got could have gone my way and Freddie's [Andrew Flintoff's], well, it's interesting that the light can change within three or four seconds."
When Yuvraj had Pietersen lbw in the first Test in Chennai he made a hand signal to imply the England captain was his bunny – someone he could get out easily. Pietersen did not enjoy the reaction and it was the belief that the animosity between the pair could affect his batting, which encouraged Mahendra Singh Dhoni to bowl Yuvraj.
When informed about Pietersen's comments, Gary Kirsten, the India coach, was forced to suppress a smile. "Well, he's got him out a couple of times," said Kirsten. "I think Yuvraj is a very effective bowler. Sometimes as a batsman you get out a couple of times to a bowler and you don't want to face him. It was a nice bit of thinking."
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