The Light Roller: Let's cherish the memory of Kevin Pietersen… but then move on

Diary of a cricket obsessive

KP made the impossible seem possible

Typical. You nip outside for a quick fag and a stretch and by the time you get back the world has turned.

Flower gone. Pietersen gone. The ECB gone mad?

Coaches come and go of course. They don’t generally epitomise cricket teams in the way that they can in football. But when it comes to great players, there is always that hope that they will carry on and on.

Pietersen’s case is an odd and divisive one, which will no doubt be played out in more detail as the current generation of players turn their ghostly hands to autobiography in the coming years. But for sheer edge of the seat excitement and unpredictability, he will be hugely missed.

In 2005 I had tickets to the Sunday of the Lord’s Test against Australia. It rained until tea, with England on the verge of losing and the Ashes seemingly Oz-bound yet again. When the sun came out, England's 8, 9, 10 and 11 were all out for ducks and the match was duly lost; but Pietersen, on debut, smote Shane Warne into the stands and gave every spectator in the ground hope. It was a hope on which the fulfilment of that summer was built.

Ultimately, Pietersen made the impossible seem possible. He made Warne look mortal; he made Murali look silly; and he is the only batsman I have ever seen who could treat Dale Steyn like a net bowler.

Indeed, the moment of Pietersen’s batting I will remember most brightly is a swatted straight drive on the walk against Steyn at Headingly in 2012. If the ball had hit Steyn it would have killed him; as it was, the shot left him blinking like a little boy. Pietersen’s brilliant century that day was scored at the height of the text-message saga which led to his temporary breach with the team. It was an innings and a context that summed him up perfectly.

As Australia rise again, India are in the doldrums with England

There is no point being too morose about Pietersen. Teams move on, circles turn. Australia’s return to winning ways shows that only too clearly.

India meanwhile, are in the ditch with England, having been beaten by New Zealand in a test series for the first time in over a decade. The fact that Zaheer Khan is still leading the attack at the age of 35 suggests that bowling resources in India are at a truly low ebb: the consequence of too much emphasis on short-form cricket.

On the other hand, Brendon McCullum's triple hundred in the Wellington test last week was particularly heartening, not least in showing how much test cricket means to a man who could easily have been lost to the world of Twenty20. It was, after all, not a match-winning innings but a series-winning one by virtue of enabling New Zealand to come back from a seemingly impossible position to secure a draw. If Mitchell Johnson is the player of the winter, McCullum's innings is the best one-off performance.

Bravo to England’s women and to Afghanistan

The ensnarement of international cricket by the three major national boards in the past few weeks was possibly inevitable, given the long-standing inadequacies of the status quo: but it doesn’t mean that the current solution will itself be long-lasting.  There are too many egos at play to imagine there will not be further ructions as the game moves ever onwards to the high altar of mammon.

Nevertheless, two other recent developments show that at least some of those in positions of authority are running things with aplomb.  First, the full professionalisation of the England women’s team came as a hugely welcome step and ought to allow for the further advancement of cricket as a sport played widely by both sexes.  In terms of inculcating girls as well as boys with a love of the game, it is (in this all too often gender-demarcated world) crucial for the women’s team to have the highest profile possible.

Second, the Asia Cup begins today with Afghanistan participating for the first time.  When you stop to consider what that country has been through in recent times, it is truly a miracle.  And what is more, they will not be pushovers.  If they can pull off a win, most probably at the expense of Bangladesh, there really might be some trembling in cricket’s old order.   

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent