KP: The Autobiography - Not really a cricket book
Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography titled "KP" is a brutal, no holds barred attack on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and English cricket in general. This isn’t the kind of book you read bit by bit and finish over the course of a month. This is the kind of book that makes you nestle up in your room with no food or water as you forgo sleep and human interaction in your quest to find out how it all ends.
Not a surprise
The book opens up a world every cricket fan has heard of through the grapevines. We heard there were cracks in the English dressing room, we saw Jonathan Trott leave the Ashes in Australia citing depression, we saw Graeme Swann retiring midway through the same tour and then we saw Pietersen himself being handed a forced retirement.
We knew there was something seriously wrong simmering underneath and the 34-year-old makes sure he leaves no stone unturned. He holds nothing back and goes all out naming names, spewing venom and stabbing deep.
Pietersen has always been one of my favourites, the 186 he scored against India in Mumbai in 2012 is one of the greatest Test innings I have ever witnessed. So I was always sympathetic to his cause.
On the flip side, I never really liked the personalities of players like Stuart Broad, Swann or Matt Prior and this book quite convincingly reaffirms that stand as Pietersen goes to town on them, assassinating their public image brandishing them as bullies, egomaniacs and petty thugs.
Not a lot about cricket
This is not a cricket book. In fact, Pietersen himself regretfully admits towards the end that "there should be more cricket in these pages".
This is not an autobiography. In fact, we get no more than a few lines about his early days as a cricketer, his childhood or his life outside cricket. This is, in fact, a good ol' fashioned rant, written with bold conviction, packaged as a book, sold as an autobiography and released with impeccable timing, the kind Rahul Dravid would be proud of.
Ex-players along with the ones accused have come out saying the book is a work of fiction and that a large portion of it is fabricated, but even if only 10% of it is the truth, it still paints a sad picture. It brings to light the bullying, the scheduling, the politicking, but more importantly, the mismanagement that led to the end of one of the greatest cricketing careers of our time.
You feel angry, you feel sad, you feel dejected page after page and although Pietersen attempts to end on a spiritual high, we feel his pain, we feel his frustration but more importantly we feel for his predicament.
Not an end in sight
They say a good book has no end and as I finished the book, I didn’t feel as if it ended. It felt more like this was just the beginning, I'm not exactly certain if that makes it a good book, but I just cannot imagine this going away anytime soon.
It doesn't matter if the book is true or false, it doesn't matter if Pietersen is right or in the wrong, it doesn't matter if he wins or the ECB does, because at the end of the day, as Ravi Shastri would so aptly point out – cricket is the loser here.