Nothing galvanises an England tour more than a dose of Kevin Pietersen. Whether he is on top of the world or suspects it is conspiring against him, there is invariably a point thousands of miles away from home when this most magnetic of cricketers either has to explain himself or offer his wisdom.
It came remarkably early in this one-day sojourn yesterday, because nothing had either gone remarkably right or dreadfully wrong. But it was a kind of welcome-back gig after his enforced rest of the latter part of the summer.
Having been invited to miss the home one-day series against India, Pietersen wasted no time in stating his future intentions and heading off at the pass any rumours to the contrary. The most significant issue at hand is that he intends to continue playing all three forms of the game for England and has his sights set on a place in the 2015 World Cup.
"You're a long time retired," he said. "I have got things I want to achieve in the game. I'd love to get into double figures for the number of international one-day hundreds and it's just a case of fulfilling your talent. When you get to 35, 36, or 40, 45, you want to know you've done that.
"You don't want to look back and think, 'shit if only I'd played an extra 12 months'. You'd miss it.
"Anything can happen in your life, anything horrible can happen, you want to know that you've fulfilled your potential and your talent. I do believe I'm lucky enough to have been given quite a good talent and I want to try and fulfil that."
Pietersen's philosophical frame of mind may have been enhanced by his recent rest. It seems as though he was expecting to play against India at home but was contacted by the management to suggest that he missed the series.
"When offered the opportunity to have a break I happily accepted," he said. "Yes the wrist was sore but that didn't have much to do with it. It's a policy the ECB has now and I think it's a brilliant policy as you want to keep your senior players fresh."
At the time the decision seemed perverse because Pietersen was in magnificent form, batting as well as ever he had done, and he had missed thelatter stages of the World Cup with a hernia injury, which perhaps made him less tired than some colleagues.
Conspiracy theorists thought the management were making a veiled point about team selection. Whatever the truth of the matter, Pietersen is now looking towards the 2015 horizon.
"It would be bad form to think otherwise," he said. "It would be disrespectful to Alastair Cook and theEngland team just to be taking upsomebody's place for the next year or just for this tour and then deciding in November I'm not bothered."
As is his wont, Pietersen slightly contradicted himself by conceding that the relentless slog can be wearing. He said: "Turning up and playing for England is amazing, you never take that for granted. It's just some of the training days – they become monotonous, tiring days you just don't want to get up for. It's a case of travel, England kit, travel. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it, it's just tiring."
Pietersen revealed that he has worked out the reason for his indifferent one-day form which has seen him average 23 in his 30 innings since his last hundred. But he refused to say what it was.
Knowing Pietersen, he will not score heavily in the first warm-up game today against Hyderabad Cricket Association, for which England will probably pick their preferred XI for the firstODI, minus Craig Kieswetter, who is with Somerset on Champions League duty. But he sounded like a man ready to bat again.
He may sound like a man worth listening to again shortly.Reuse content