FORMER England bowler Darren Gough has dismissed suggestions that Kevin Pietersen needs to reaffirm his commitment to his adopted country, but admits no longer being considered as the side’s talisman has had an adverse affect on his game.
Gough’s former Yorkshire and England team-mate Michael Vaughan last week suggested South African-born Pietersen had become “distracted” and “needed to convince supporters he’s desperate to play for England”. Pietersen’s form has deteriorated since he was relieved of the England captaincy over two years ago in controversial circumstances – he’s passed three figures in Test matches only once since 2009 and is without a one-day international century for almost two-and-a-half years – and Gough sympathises with Pietersen’s fall from grace.
“Kevin Pietersen is one hundred per cent committed to playing for England,” said Gough. “There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll still be playing for England five or six years from now.
“Of course it’s difficult for him when he’s always been considered the big cheese. Now it looks like people are overtaking him. Look what Alastair Cook did in Australia scoring all those runs and Eoin Morgan now looks like being our most reliable one-day batsman. There are other players now that have kicked on and gone in front of him.
“It must be hard to adjust and still be his normal buoyant self in the dressing room.”
If Pietersen is to rediscover his best form Gough believes he needs to become less predictable at the crease and follow the lead of Sachin Tendulkar, who has never been afraid to make adjustments in his technique in order to increase his longevity.
“Kevin’s got to the stage now where he’s realised bowlers have worked him out,” he said. You get that in your career and there comes a time when you need to change the way you play.
“Even the greats like Sachin Tendulkar go through those periods. Like Kevin he’s had to deal with a couple of serious injuries. He’s always come back stronger and been able to sustain a career at the top for two decades. There’s no reason why Kevin can’t come back a better player.”
Gough also backed Pietersen as the ideal candidate to replace Andrew Strauss, should he decide to quit the one-day captaincy. “I think it would give Kevin a real shot in the arm if he was given the job,” said Gough. “He does things a little differently, thinks outside the box and had a decent record in the short time he had in the job before.”
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