Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An over rated loss

One of the great mysteries of the game is how a player called Kevin Pietersen is so well spoken of. Apart from being an egotistical mercenary maniac which we shan't go into here, he should not be ranked among the top contemporary players, statistically or otherwise.

Beginning with his average, currently at 49 having dipped below 50 during this Ashes series, places him 40th on the overall list of averages, and only 17th among contemporary players within the last 10 years.

His average and indeed his performance has regressed rather than improved since his debut series in 2005, and he has rarely played the sort of commanding matchwinning innings expected of the team's trumpeted "best batsman". Instead he is no doubt still revelling in the enormous credit bestowed upon him for his chancey swashbuckling 158 in the crucial Oval Ashes Test in 2005. Note that even this was not a match WINNING innings and I defy the reader to find any such Test innings that was not chalked up against bottom dwellers such as West Indies or New Zealand.

For all his flourishing attacking ability, he seems to have reined himself in and no longer advances down the track and swats bowlers across the line or slog sweeps as much as he used to. He seems to be more of an accumulator of runs in recent times. His performance has also never between very consistent match to match, as centuries are frequently interspersed with strings of low scores.

I suspect his great reputation flatters to deceive, and not only is it a case of no other batsmen in the last 5 years really standing out for England, but perhaps the rest of the team has been somewhat submissive to his ego and they have all underperformed in his perceived shadow. I have a suspicion that the rest of the batsmen actually perform better when Pietersen is not in the team, as was shown during the surprising post-Ashes one day series victory in Australia in 2007.

My belief is that England will not only survive without him in this series but actually bat better as a unit and score more centuries than they normally would. So this injury could be quite the blessing in disguise for England as we move forward in this epic series.

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