KP ready for the big challenge

Pietersen says setbacks have made him stronger

KP ready for the big challenge

On the ball: Kevin Pietersen addresses the media in Bangalore on Saturday. DH photo

When the maverick made the much-anticipated return to the fold in the Test series against South Africa in November 2009, he looked a pale shadow of his dominant self, struggling for timing and mind seemingly wandering elsewhere.

Countless struggles later, the familiar Pietersen resurfaced against Bangladesh earlier this year, scoring more than 250 runs from two Tests at an average of 83.

His knocks in Dhaka and Chittagong were characteristically free-flowing and laced with confidence brimming on arrogance.

More importantly, those two knocks were pointers to the fact that Pietersen’s love for cricket, once admitted by the man to be on the vain, had come back.

Pretty hard hit
“I took a pretty hard hit last year with that captaincy stuff. Then the Achilles injury which held me back for a few months and then there was that potentially career-threatening surgery — all didn't go very well. But I wanted to get back and now I am enjoying what I do. I love cricket now,” Pietersen said during a media interaction here.

Two half-centuries for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the on-going IPL III underlined the belief that Pietersen is ready for challenges ahead, including the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

“It could be silly for me to perceive when you are coming off a big injury like the one I had that I would just come back and play normal. Mentally I thought I could do it. But there was no way I could do it. I really had to take my time to get myself back into the frame and the speed with which international cricket is played. It felt really good to get back to form. Hopefully, I can continue that form next week and then for England.” 

There was a positive side to all the anguish he had to go through over the last one year. The loss of captaincy and four-months’ injury lay-off, all in 2009, helped him become mentally stronger.

“The year 2009 was tough. But I enjoyed 2009 because it made me mentally stronger; mentally put me through many phases and places that I haven't been through.”

Devoted to England
Pietersen also lost RCB’s stewardship last year, to Anil Kumble. Does he still harbour thoughts of coming back to the hot seat? “I have to finish with one-day cricket or T20 for England before thinking about it because I can't do my duty for England in all forms of the game and then think of captaincy with RCB. I love to be devoted to England.”

Stint with RCB, Pietersen asserted, had helped him familiarise himself with the finer points of the T20 game.

“My game is not really to hit the ball from the off to the end of an innings. It’s quite difficult for me to go out there and hit six sixes.

“In Test cricket, you can slip through the gears and drop back down, as in driving a car. In one-dayers, you have to get from first to fifth quite quickly. In T20s, you would start from third! And when you move to fifth, you have to stay there and if it is good going, you have to move to the sixth. That's how I relate T20 cricket.”

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