Pietersen rejects sledging claim
Batsman explains 'mobile phone' jibe to Johnson as he insists England will play swing bowler better at MCG
Thursday 23 December 2010
Kevin Pietersen yesterday sought to douse the flames of the sledging row threatening to engulf the Ashes series.
"Things that happen on the field should stay on the field," Pietersen said, as he looked forward with excitement to the fourth Test, which starts here on Boxing Day. He went on to explain his spat with Mitchell Johnson, the Australian fast bowler, who continues to dominate English thoughts, partly because of his instrumental part in his side's 267-run win in the third Test at the Waca, partly because he is their sledger-in-chief. Pietersen, always at the forefront of so much, was involved in a peculiar story that he had asked Johnson on the field at Perth for his mobile phone number. In relating the story, Johnson, an inveterate chatter, had called Pietersen a smart-arse.
"You guys love feeding him lines and he chats," Pietersen said. "I'm not talking. I was just seeing if I could be his friend. We play this game to make friends." There he was toeing the England line, tongue in his cheek, but toeing the line. "I don't have a relationship with Johnson," he added.
But Pietersen admitted Johnson's bowling had shocked England. "His bowling took us by surprise, for sure," Pietersen said. "He bowled well, really, really well, and had a good game of cricket – and we're going to have to prepare ourselves for that swinging ball. We knew he could swing it, but we didn't realise he would swing it that much."
Johnson's nine wickets at the Waca were in stark contrast to his 0 for 170 – and 19-ball duck, for good measure – in the drawn first Test in Brisbane, after which he was dropped for the second in Adelaide. "He did some really good work in the week off he had," added Pietersen. "But we will be a lot better prepared for it here in Melbourne, so we will play him a lot better."
Pietersen also said that the thought of playing at a full MCG, with a capacity of 100,000, was thrilling. "I cannot wait for Boxing Day," he said.
The injured Australia opener Simon Katich has said he is set to make a surprise return in time for the fifth Test, increasing the pressure on Phillip Hughes to find form at the MCG. Katich hurt his Achilles during the second Test.
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
Manchester United have two days to seal the transfer of the summer, Arsenal need to panic, Jose Mourinho right to blast Chelsea reluctance
Celtic supporters mock Fenerbahce fans' threatening 'knife' pictures with their own versions - featuring spoons and bananas
Swansea 2 Manchester United 1 player ratings: Was Andre Ayew the Swans' star man or did Bafetimbi Gomis steal the show?
Anthony Martial to Manchester United: United 'open talks' with £36m Monaco striker as Javier Hernandez joins Bayer Leverkusen
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 I like Corbyn, but let's face it: we don't need another white man at the head of a political party
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up