Sport360° view: Pietersen is half the player without Tests

Barnaby Read 14:17 28/07/2014
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Missing in action: Kevin Pietersen walks off the Sydney field in what proved to be his last Test match for England.

As it stands, mercurial former England international Kevin Pietersen will have played for four different T20 franchises by the end of 2014.

While Alastair Cook and his charges have finally put on somewhat of a show with the bat at Pietersen’s old stamping ground (Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl), the 34-year-old Surrey man has been confirmed as a Melbourne Star for their upcoming Big Bash League campaign later in the year.

Having been ousted by the ECB for a clash of personalities with Cook and being likened via various sources to a poisonous snake in the grass, Pietersen has had to look elsewhere to get games under his belt.

It has all made for a sorry state of affairs with Pietersen still scoring nowhere near the amount of runs he’d like to and England wallowing on the Test scene since their horror tour of Australia last winter.

Despite Pietersen’s insistence on his desire to one day play international cricket again, the ECB’s stance will not change.

They are as stubborn as they are defiant in their support for Cook.

Even more, Pietersen hasn’t shown any form with the bat that has made life uncomfortable for Peter Moores and the ECB selectors and his happiness to hit out at Cook in his Telegraph column doesn't help his cause.

Under his captaincy the Delhi Daredevils were woeful in the IPL and finished bottom as Pietersen managed just one fifty and an average of 29.40.

His return to England was even worse.

For Surrey, in the current Natwest T20 Blast, the big right-hander has scored a paltry 183 runs in 10 innings at an average of 22.87 and a top score of 39.

For a man of Pietersen’s undoubted class, and with a point to prove back on home soil, those stats are disappointing.

Put them alongside his incredible international record and they reflect a man whose game is all at sea after losing the thing that seemed to spur him on the most; Test cricket.

Pietersen thrived in England whites and his best performances in his career undoubtedly came in the most pressured situations.

Think the Oval in 2005, his double-century in Adelaide in 2010 and his varied success against the country of his birth, South Africa, and you see a man that never shied away and always stood up to be counted.

Compare that with the nomadic T20 specialist you see now and, once again, you are looking at two completely different players.

It is a shame that England and Pietersen will never (for want of a better word) ‘reintegrate’, largely because both seem to need each other.

As long as he can find some form, what is Test cricket’s loss is T20’s gain and Pietersen’s appeal all over the world will still sell out stadiums and keep franchise owners paying the big bucks to get him on board.

With the establishment of his academy in Dubai, the UAE can also be grateful for the ECB’s enforced retirement of Pietersen and, hopefully, by giving back to the game he can find solace in shaping the next generation of Test cricketers.

If just a handful play in the manner of Pietersen, we are truly in for a treat.

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