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Is Kevin Pietersen a despicable braggart or somewhat misunderstood?

Kevin Pietersen and his antics

Kevin Pietersen during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 2
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This is an impassionate question, to which every fan has an answer – while some Royal Challengers and Daredevils fans would say he has been robbed by the ECB, many of his own country’s fans would still believe him as a man, whose exclusion bettered the English cricket climate.

The controversy enveloping the charismatic cricket star is plentiful, which includes many outrageous decisions as well as impulsive misdemeanor, throughout his cricket career, more specifically in the international circuit. His decision to turn up for England, despite being born in South Africa’s Natal province, received flak in 2004 in his debut series against the Proteas, in the latter's’ back-yard.

Though his blatant attitude saw him through the vehement reproach of the South African fans, Pietersen did not fail to get the English attention to his calibre. 

Though Andrew Flintoff is the one remembered for the English’s triumph in 2005 Ashes, KP’s counter-strike hundred at Oval, and his emergence as the top run-getter in the series is widely acclaimed by the English public, who had to wait for eighteen years to see the urn return to England. Kevin Pietersen, undoubtedly, has fulfilled his on-field potential in test matches hammering over 8000 runs in 104 test matches, with an average at a tick under 50. 

Nevertheless his off-field controversy has definitely taken a toll upon his performances, which still, as many feel, is somewhat below his standard.

What KP did wrong then

From the text-gate scandal,in 2012, when he took to twitter to post negative messages about his then-captain Andrew Strauss, which led to his subsequent suspension, to his open criticism of Alastair Cook, about whom he said,”Captain Cook himself, he can go two years without a Test hundred yet he can play every single game”, his repsonse to Ian Bell’s omission from the English test squad to South Africa, his recent banter against James Faulkner on twitter, when he slammed his own team-mate for not seeing his team to victory against the Sydney Thunder, in a game where Pietersen stroked a wonderful 70, his involvement in off-field banter is plentiful, and sometimes unnecessary.

In a recent documentary where he said, ‘You cant be a rubbish player to be picked up every time by a top team in the first draft’, you would expect the maverick to be as consistent as De Villiers and as flamboyant as he is everytime( or more often than not), he steps onto the field. However, what stands out most about Kevin Pietersen that in spite of being England’s second highest run-getter in tests, his T-20 level performances have not been as match-winning as expected from him, though his average stands at under 38 in limited over internationals.

Inconsistency, amidst some outstanding ‘maverick’ performances for short patches have been the trend for Pietersen for some time, Pietersen endured a disastrous campaign in 2015 in the Carribean Premier League, where he captained St. Lucia Zouks, as his team finished second from the bottom with five losses in ten. He scored just a solitary fifty in the entire season and hardly inspired his team to semi-final qualification. Considering the Zouks had Ross Taylor, Nathan Mccullum, Henry Davids and Fidel Edwards, it was shockingly incredulous.

Though he returned to the Ram Slam series, slamming back-to-back tons against Lions and Chevrolet warriors and led to his team’s curve to the final, consistency was missing. Though he emerged with an average of plus fifty, that was all due to the two hundreds and a couple of fifties in under ten games. 

What KP continues to do wrong now

This season’s Big Bash has not started off well for KP( very much like last season), with only a fifty and that also in a losing cause, which is exactly why Melbourne fans have started calling him ‘The walking Ego’, whose off-field glamour, autobiography( total of two-‘KP’ and ‘Crossing The Boundary’) writing and unwanted banter is causing unease within his team.

Kevin Pietersen has often been seen as someone who diverts from the discussion at hand and backs up his point by referring to a different thing. After he was caught in the scandal following his autobiography, he denied the controversy altogether, saying those were friendly tweets to the South African camp, many of whom are great friends of his. Is that even a response ?

He says it was mere miscommunication, sending flak about his own captain. What that means now is that Kevin Pietersen will never again play for England, for the most righteous reasons. Kevin Pietersen has been a braggart whose own ego and swaggering attitude, more often than not puts him under immense jeopardy. His stubborn claims, to back his point, further strains his relationships with his players and the Board. So there is every reason to believe what Dominic Cork said, ‘Do I think he was bullied ? No / During his time in England, he left a trail of destruction wherever he has been.’ 

Kevin Pietersen, depite maverick heroics on odd days, has been a soap-opera dramatist, who should better start playing more consistently for his franchises. 

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