It was one of the best knocks I have ever seen and I was lucky enough to be down the other end for some of it. I am, of course, talking about Kevin Pietersen’s career-best innings of 355 not out against Leicestershire at the Kia Oval.
Batting at No10, I joined him when he was on about 160 and his mindset was to be ultra positive and whack the ball into the stands. I told him that I was seeing the ball well and would get him to 200. It was great to share that moment with him.
I then jokingly said that if we stayed there he would get to 300. He got there and to play an innings like that, knowing he was going to meet England’s new director of cricket Andrew Strauss that evening, was just phenomenal under such pressure.
Kevin was told in the meeting that due to long-standing trust issues he would not be considered for selection for England’s upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand and the Ashes later in the summer. I just don’t understand it.
It has been well publicised that incoming England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves gave assurances that, if KP went out and scored runs in county cricket, he’d have a chance of earning a recall.
After sacrificing his Indian Premier League contract, which was worth a lot of money, he has got his head down and done exactly that. In fact he has done more than that; he produced one of the highest scores in English history.
So there have certainly been some mixed messages and contradictions from the ECB. It’s a kick in the teeth for KP and he’s pretty upset with the way he’s been treated.
From the moment of his sacking in February 2014 to now, the whole situation regarding Kevin has been dealt with very badly by the ECB, and to be perfectly honest I don’t think it’s over yet. The story is not going to go away, especially as it’s an Ashes summer.
Strauss may have attempted to draw a line under the matter but if a batsman is out of form or injury strikes, Kevin will inevitably be spoken about and the clamour for his inclusion will grow. Also, I cannot see England performing as well as they would like against New Zealand.
Kevin hasn’t made any decisions yet about what he is going to do next but there is a chance of him playing more games and scoring more runs for Surrey, starting with the clash against Lancashire, which begins on 31 May, as the Ashes countdown intensifies.
If it was up to me then Kevin, who is a four-time Ashes winner, would be in that England side and maybe there will be another twist in the saga yet.
Since my last column, Peter Moores has been sacked as England’s head coach. I believe this was the right call. I don’t think Peter is cut out for international cricket. He is more suited to a county role or development role with the ECB.
I feel slightly sorry for him. He took the job for a second time in a difficult situation for English cricket after the Ashes whitewash but at the same time, while I respect him as a coach, he just didn’t feel like the right man to take England forward.
Looking at the potential replacements, Yorkshire’s Jason Gillespie is the favourite and is certainly somebody who’d do a good job in my eyes. He was a great fast bowler for Australia and has done impressive work at Headingley.
There is also Justin Langer, who currently coaches Western Australia and Perth Scorchers, although the rumours are that the Aussies are pretty keen to keep him over there as he could be a future replacement for Darren Lehmann as Australia coach.
On a personal note, after helping KP to his fantastic score, I suffered a recurrence of my hamstring injury in the sixth over of the second innings. It’s very frustrating and perhaps I came back too early. I’m facing another couple of weeks on the sidelines.
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