KP wary ahead of SA clash

2010-05-07 09:58

Barbados - Kevin Pietersen seemed almost desperate to avoid tempting fate ahead of England's World Twenty20 clash with his native South Africa despite his match-winning role against Pakistan.

Pietersen's unbeaten 73 saw England cruise to a six-wicket win - their first in this tournament - over the defending champions at the Kensington Oval here on Thursday as they opened the second round Super Eights in some style.

After some mediocre displays, Pietersen found his form with a 52-ball innings featuring two sixes and eight fours in a total of 151 for four made in reply to Pakistan's 147 for nine.

With South Africa comfortably defeating New Zealand by 13 runs later on Thursday, the stage is set for the latest chapter of Pietersen's often fraught relationship with his homeland when England face the Proteas here on Saturday.

But while England captain Paul Collingwood and Pakistan coach Waqar Younis were piling on the plaudits, Pietersen praised England's bowlers.

"Anything can happen in Twenty20," said Pietersen.

"I could get out first ball (against South Africa) on Saturday," he said.

"It was nice, a nice wicket to bat on, and the boys bowled well.

"Then we chased down a real gettable total, which was great."

There was a scare for England when Pietersen needed on-pitch medical attention early in his innings after limping while attempting a run.

However, the Hampshire batsman insisted: "No concern - I just hit my bat on my ankle. It's bleeding a little bit, but no problem."

Pietersen could leave the Caribbean in the next 10 days to be with his wife in London where she is expecting the birth of the couple's first child.

He was adamant though that impending fatherhood would not distract from his cricket, saying: "If it's after the tournament that the baby comes, it's after the tournament

"If it's during the tournament, I'll still be giving it my best shot whenever I play for England - no matter where or in what situation."

England's batting has often failed to fire in all one-day cricket since the international retirement, several years ago now, of opener Marcus Trescothick.

But Pietersen, one of an all South Africa born England top three, though is enthused by the batting depth he believes the team can now command.

"I've played in the team for five or six years now, and to have a batting line-up like we've got at the moment is incredible," he said.

"Every single bloke from one down to nine or 10 can hit sixes. That's brilliant, a great improvement and great for English cricket.

"This is what I love doing; this is why I'm playing this tournament - because I want to play for England and win games for England.

"I'll play for England as long as I can."

It was a sentiment endorsed by Collingwood, who said: "It was a great knock by KP.

"We all know what KP can do, and when he's in that kind of form he's very dangerous. It was an exceptional innings.

"It needed someone to get past 50 today just to see the team home."

Former fast bowler Waqar was left lamenting poor Pakistan fielding that saw five catches dropped, but he still had a word for the man-of-the-match.

"You must give Kevin Pietersen credit for the way he played - he batted like a champion and took the game away from us.

"It can be very frustrating, the way we dropped the catches and the way we fielded. But we're not out of the tournament, so we don't really have to worry about that."


  • Jo - 2010-05-07 10:07

    Why does England have so many players of South African affiliation in their side? Aren't their development programs working? I'd be ASHAMED to call the side English if I were them.

  • Stephen - 2010-05-07 10:13

    If any Protea players had to say these things we will have these ant-Protea morons whining on here in a flash

  • cheryll - 2010-05-07 10:26

    Well done KP. What a pity we overlooked you all those years ago because you are exactly what the Proteas need right now. I get so angry when I hear the South Africans booing you but this country didn't want you so you went one better - to England where you have grown from strength to strength. Good luck for Saturday and the birth of your baby.

  • Z - 2010-05-07 10:32

    I can actually stand this new KP. Humility? Wtf? LoL Who would have thought. Good to see though.

  • Simon - 2010-05-07 10:48

    How many time does an article have to mention where he was born. He has an English mother, an English passport, his wife is English, he plays in England, he plays for England, he is English. He never played for South Africa, not even close. The fact that he was born here doesn't mean anything.

  • Edwin - 2010-05-07 10:52

    Cause they were not good enough for SA and took their mom's UK passport to play there. And then blame the quota system lol

  • Duncan - 2010-05-07 10:57

    Jo, the real question is in reverse. Why are there so many talented South Africans applying for a place in the England team. Q.E.D No need to reply

  • @JO - 2010-05-07 11:04

    If we bothered to try and keep players like Lumb, Kieswetter and Pietersen then our squad would be outstanding. But no due to the quota system we screw ourselves.

  • BEER - 2010-05-07 11:06

    well done KP on yet anoteher great game. SA truly lost a legend of the game!! good luck with your game on Saturday and go and make a ton PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cammie - 2010-05-07 11:08

    You know what, it's time we Saffies/Protea supporter stopped bashing the South African lads who have made the choice to play for England. They have the talent, passion and love for the game and are not/have not been selected to play for their own country for whatever reasons. As much as it pains me to see talent like Pietersen (whom I might add generally irritates me) and Lumb playing in English colours, they have every right to earn a living just like the rest of us. If we, as a country, are unable/unwilling to provide them with that opportunity, then good luck to them. I do agree that England have rarely, if ever, had a fully fledge side of born and bred Englishmen, but if they have the good sense to offer our lads a livelihood, who are we to trash them or the English! We clearly have a very strong talent pool when it comes to the game and our schools have always engendered a solid ethic in the sport. Tomorrow however, I will most definitely be rooting for only one team - go Proteas, we and most importantly you, know what you're capable of!!

  • Adri Smit - 2010-05-07 11:12

    Watch out for SA A - side(England)!

  • Dragonpig - 2010-05-07 11:16

    Ya ya its a shame we let him go blah blah, fantastic player but I am not going to be that guy who says I would take KP over anyone from South Africa. I would have loved him to be playing for us but I'm not about to say I would leave out any of our current players for him because I have confidence in our team. . .As for the rest of their players from SA, 4 or 5 in their team well good luck to them, they can blame the quota system in some instences (KP has every right to) but right now our "quota" seems to be doing a fine job and would make this SA team on merit in any case....I still think South Africa are starting to get some form back and lets see this game against England because it should be a cracker, I get the feeling the only big thrests are from KP and Collingwood as game breakers though but the rest of the team is quite handy too

  • Ant - 2010-05-07 11:20

    And who gave KP permission to breed?

  • Gary - 2010-05-07 11:30

    Saturday will be the Proteas vs Proteas A team. ha ha ha

  • jeremy - 2010-05-07 11:33

    To Cheryll. Just for the record, KP was dropped from the KZN provincial team as a 19 year old. Maybe it was the quota system - but if he'd stuck around and had a little patience, he would almost certainly have been re-selected, both for his province and for SA. But by then he'd already played English county cricket - so immediately headed back there, sounding off about how badly he was treated in SA! Yes, he may have been an asset to SA as a player but, as with Luke Watson in rugby, he probably wouldn't have fitted in as a team-member....

  • KeepingItReal - 2010-05-07 11:44

    Does anybody else think that some of the Pakistani dropped catches looked suspisciuos? People forget that when KP was still in SA he was talented but was far from what he is today. He received top-class training when he moved to Eng which enabled him to develope into the player he is today. The Real Question people should be asking is why are so many talented youngsters overlooked, especially those who arent at the so-called "big" schools? (If Kallis went to a different school would he have been noticed?)

  • Paddy - 2010-05-07 12:35

    KP cannot face the Proteas - he chokes! And cheryll, KP is a winkie poof...that is why he gets booed...

  • Louis - 2010-05-07 13:10

    To Cheryll...Please the man has ONE decent innings and you on the darn band wagon...he is very lucky to be in the SouthEngl Side with his current form, but then again they dont have any decent guys either. Gunner.

  • Lump of coal - 2010-05-07 13:19

    Guys guys ... and girls ??? let us not forget Pieterson plied his trade here as a bowler who could bat a little ..... anybody see him turning it square lately ???? Nope, he was just a late bloomer who took advantage of the better coaching methods and then learned to whinge like a true POM !!!!

  • Darryl - 2010-05-07 14:15

    Funny you should say that Jo... As far as I (and the majority of true sports lovers) can tell, it's England that are nurturing and turning "average" players into great ones - not South Africa!! Yes, we have the talent. Yes, we have the depth - but selection and coaching fall far short by world cricket standards... Remember, KP played 3rd team cricket in matric and look what England have produced. I still hope we smash them on Saturday though!!

  • @KeepingItReal - 2010-05-07 15:05

    Please Wynberg Boys High is not exactly the mecca of future sports stars, like Grey etc

  • College old boy - 2010-05-07 20:35

    Another College Old Boy making it happen! Respect!

  • Harris - 2010-05-08 00:11

    @Cheryl & Cammie. My compliments on your excellent comments. It is refreshing to read some sensible comments compared to the mindless KP and Pom bashing that plaques these columns.

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