In a recent interview, it was revealed that Kevin Pietersen harbours CWC2019 dreams, but not with his adopted nation England. The question is, is he having a laugh?
Pietersen (KP) has recently started the relocation of his family to South Africa and will technically qualify to play for South Africa’s Proteas cricket team in 2018. In an interview with talkSPORT, he said he could represent South Africa in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.
“I’ll play T20s in South Africa for the next two years, I’ll play in Australia for the next two years, I’ll play in Pakistan for the next two years,” he told TalkSport.
(Quotations are from this talkSPORT inverview)
He could, but will he?
That is the million dollar question. He would be 39 years old by then and has been struggling calf injuries for a few years now and it is debatable if he could get his body to last long enough to get onto the plane to England in 2019, let alone last the entire tournament. Aside from the obvious issue of fitness, there are a couple of other issues that would make this possibility a non-starter: KP’s history with South Africa’s transformation priorities, his history of being disruptive in the change room and the small matter of a certain tattoo.
Leaving South Africa
It was in the year 2000 that KP decided to leave South Africa, citing lack of opportunities due to the country’s racial transformation agenda. The reality though is that he was playing for the Natal (now Dolphins) team as a promising off-spinner and lower order batsman. There was not real indication of the phenomenal batting ability he possessed. It was fellow South African, the late, great all rounder Clive Rice who contracted him to play for English County team Nottinghamshire.
The unanswered question here is if Cricket South Africa (CSA) would compromise their own principles and select a player who is not supportive of and angry with the ideals of racial transformation in South African sport?
History of difficult relationships
KP’s history as a team man has not been exemplary. While a lot of the rumours have not necessarily been proven, the old cliche of “where there is smoke there is fire” should be front of mind. From his acrimonious departure from Nottinghamshire, where he was forced to see out the final year of his contract after the team was relegated in 2003, to the alleged offensive text messages about his team mates that he sent from the England dressing room to the visiting South African team in 2012, he has proven to be difficult to manage.
How would KP’s personality fit into a team that is most likely to be captained by either AB de Villiers or Faf du Plessis? Would that be good for the team dynamic?
The unfortunate tattoo
On a much lighter note, but still relevant, KP caused great uproar in South Africa when he had the England cricket logo tattooed on his left arm. Many cricket supporters in South Africa regarded this as the “final betrayal”. Dedicated Proteas supporters would find it hard to swallow to support a player with another country’s emblem proudly displayed on his arm. Unless of course he is proud enough of his new team to cover that tattoo with the Protea emblem?
KP is having a laugh
Just as we are having a laugh at KP’s expense regarding his England tattoo, we believe KP is having a laugh at the expense of cricket supporters the world over, especially in South Africa and England.
The final line of this quotation from the same interview suggests that even though he says he could represent South Africa in 2019, he is not up for it:
‘The issue with [playing in] England next year is I’m building a lodge in Africa and the time I’ll be there with my family and doing stuff in Africa is over this period, so I won’t be in England next year.
‘And then I don’t think at 39 I fancy warm-ups in the summer.’
You be the judge.