KP regrets Bloem badge kiss

2014-10-10 13:35
Kevin Pietersen (AFP)
Cape Town - More than nine years after his extravagant signal of affection for England on registering his maiden international century, Kevin Pietersen has apologised for his Bloemfontein badge-kissing conduct against South Africa.

He also softens his stance considerably over “quotas” in the game here.

The contrition is contained in the currently out-in-the-cold batsman’s newly-released book “KP: The Autobiography”, which has ruffled plenty of feathers in the United Kingdom this week.

Pietersen getting to the three-figure mark for the first time in England colours at then-Goodyear Park (now Chevrolet Park) in a February 2005 one-day international, in his sixth appearance for his adopted country, is one of the undoubted flashpoints of South Africa’s post-isolation cricket history.

The KZN-born cricketer, who left his homeland ostensibly because he felt the “quota system” had denied him opportunities to represent his land of birth, scored 108 not out that day in a tied thriller, against a South African team led by Graeme Smith and featuring an attack that included Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel and Andrew Hall.

Pietersen indulged in what David Hopps of The Guardian described at the time as a bout of “ardent badge-kissing” upon reaching the landmark.

But in the book, the 34-year-old admits he overplayed his Englishness early in his career, and should not have kissed the badge in the emotion-charged Bloemfontein ODI or got three lions tattooed onto his arm.

“When I went back to play in South Africa (with England in 2004/05) I was still a young kid.

“When I made my first hundred there I should never, ever have kissed the badge on my helmet - I was on a high and trying to make a point but it was a silly, thoughtless thing to have done.”

Pietersen says he regrets disrespecting South African cricket and was misguided to “judge and nail” the political system in the country “just because the quota system didn’t work for me; I didn’t understand enough”.

He concedes, more broadly: “The older I’ve got, the more I’ve realised the mistakes I’ve made.”

Pietersen will be in South Africa shortly for the Momentum Cricket Sixes in Johannesburg (October 18), a social event launched by former SA foes Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher and Justin Kemp.

The book is due on SA shelves on October 20.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    kevin pietersen  |  cricket

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