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All Out Cricket's Discussion Of The Week - Is KP an England great?

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Post by All Out Cricket Tue 10 Apr 2012, 4:10 pm

In last week's edition of 'The Grubber', Phil Walker revelled in Kevin Pietersen's latest rampage.

http://www.alloutcricket.com/blogs/comment/england-number-one-county-championship

Does KP get too much criticism and should he now be considered an England great?

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Post by Stella Tue 10 Apr 2012, 4:12 pm

Definitely an England great. More tons than anybody, scores at the tempo that the match requires and entertains.
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Post by Gregers Tue 10 Apr 2012, 5:04 pm

Must resist.... must resist..... must resist

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Post by dummy_half Tue 10 Apr 2012, 5:11 pm

Does KP get too much criticism? Undoubtedly (Gregers Wink ). While occasionally frustrating, he is one of very few batsmen in the world who can change the course of a Test match in one session.

England great? Arguable - I'd currently put him just a bit lower than that by comparison with the historical greats of the game, although if he can maintain his form and the good batting sense he showed in the last match, he could end up in the category of 'greats'.

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Post by JDizzle Tue 10 Apr 2012, 5:17 pm

I don't think KP does get too much criticism actually. He is an England great in my eyes and would definitely challenge for a place in an English all time side, but he could be so much better than he is! He could easily be averaging 55 in Test cricket and be a bonafide world great, especially at the pace he bats it would make him a valuable commodity to any side ever.

Also, if KP is getting criticised then it means that someone else in the side has less pressure on them. KP can handle the pressure of talk about his form, better than say a Bell, although he is better now, or a Panesar so he is a very good deflector away from other players in the side!

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Post by Fists of Fury Tue 10 Apr 2012, 5:53 pm

Absolutely he's a great, with the potential to possible be the greatest of England cricketers.

As JD says, though, you do get the feeling that there could be so much more. That's no great slight on KP as he does bloody well as it is, but just a measure of how incredibly gifted he actually is.

This discussion has arrived at a good time, as I penned an article of my own about Pietersen just yesterday. I've copied it below.

http://andy-bloxham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/time-to-cut-pietersen-some-slack.html

It’s taken five Tests, a great deal of soul searching, unceasing running repairs to increasingly damaged reputations and a dose or two of severe humiliation along the way but England have succeeded in winning a Test match in Asia for the first time this winter, seizing their final opportunity to do so in a performance reminiscent of the rise to the summit of world cricket that garnered such widespread acclaim.

Numerous reports and blogs have already surfaced covering the issue of whether England have actually learnt to play cricket in the sub-continent - the conclusion to which with the bat at least is still very much contentious – so I’ll steer clear of the particular debate and instead focus upon the indubitable protagonist of England’s eight wicket win in Colombo, a resplendent Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen, lest we forget, arrived in Colombo having scored a paltry 100 runs at a rather unbecoming average of 12.50 across England’s overseas winter tours, and under more pressure than any of his colleagues with the sole exception of his captain Andrew Strauss, in the eyes of many observers. Such a suggestion may superficially appear a little perplexing, given that Pietersen had spent the best part of 2011 laying waste to the bowling attacks of Australia, Sri Lanka and India when amassing 821 runs at a shade over 82, but swift and unremitting criticism has proved a perpetual companion of the South African born batsman at the first hint of failure throughout his England tenure.

It is an unfortunate facet of Pietersen’s England career, the source of which is difficult to pinpoint. Pietersen possesses many a characteristic that is at odds to those associated with the quintessential English cricketer. Unequivocal self-belief, little fear of failure and a demeanour suggestive of being the very best at what he does are just some of those, and when coupled with a willow wielding style that is conspicuous by its absence from the MCC coaching manual it is plain to see why more than just a handful of English traditionalists have failed to acquire the Pietersen taste.

Perhaps it is merely the South African name. We live in one of the most diverse multi-cultural societies in the world here in Great Britain, interacting with fellow human beings of differing race, religion and background on a daily basis, all of whom are widely embraced as British citizens. An acquiescent isle we may be, but that fails to avert the reservations of many over the number of players of South African origin bolstering the English ranks.

It is true that Pietersen is not alone within the current England setup. Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior are all affiliated with other cricketing nations in conjunction with the three lions under whose banner they proudly ply their trade, yet scarcely a fraction of the vitriol aimed at Kevin Pietersen upon losing his wicket is afforded to those players. That suppresses the South African argument, then.

In reality, a combination of the above likely contributes to the amplified scrutiny Pietersen experiences at the first sight of a flaw. Some may indeed resent the South African association, whilst others undoubtedly dislike the outward displays of bravado. Hitched up sleeves presenting Pietersen’s powerful, tattooed limbs and a propensity for adding an element of extravagance to even the most rudimentary of strokes are all intended as a demonstration of purpose to a fielding side; this is Kevin Pietersen’s stage, not theirs. There will never be a "good morning, my name's Pietersen” in the manner of a gentlemanly Colin Cowdrey. It hasn’t always sat well with the older generation unused to such pageantry and bluster; plenty are quick to label Pietersen a ‘show pony’ only interested in limited overs cricket, yet it is widely acknowledged that nobody puts in more hours of practice.

Preceding his exhibition of imperious magnificence in Colombo an undercurrent that Pietersen was perhaps operating on borrowed time had existed. Having endured a miserable winter one wouldn’t have had to search too far afield to find an observer firm in this belief, despite the heroics of 2011. An impressive Test record boasting 6,654 runs at an average hovering a shade below the Holy Grail of 50 with 20 centuries – just three away from becoming the most of any Englishman – is seemingly superfluous to many Pietersen critics.

That very issue alone would suggest, at least, that the volatile reaction to Pietersen in almost any innings in which he fails to contribute may just be a direct consequence of his lavish talent. Few batsmen in world cricket are as naturally gifted, though many return similar statistics. Teammates Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott provide two immediate examples, neither of whom can claim to possess comparable ability to Pietersen yet average very much the same per innings.

With Kevin Pietersen there remains an underlying feeling that there is so much more. Such a comment may appear outlandish given his excellent track record, but it serves to highlight the enormous talent that Pietersen possesses. On numerous occasions there has been a sense that Pietersen has ‘thrown his wicket away’, perhaps trying to dominate a particular bowler in yet another show of bravado and paying a heavy price. Without those Pietersen would arguably already be England’s leading Test century maker with an average comfortably north of 50.

There is little doubt that Pietersen is capable of becoming an all-time great of both English and world cricket, such is his extraordinary talent. To silence his staunchest critics, though, the soft dismissals would need to stop. But would it be the same Pietersen without the risk? Anything can happen at any moment in a Pietersen innings; suicidal run outs, bizarre dismissals and an outrageous array of strokes are always on the agenda, making Pietersen conceivably the most watchable batsman in world cricket.

The choice is Pietersen’s alone. Greatness is within his reach but cricket may become a duller place should he attempt to grasp it. For now though his place as England’s number four should not be doubted. Here we have one of the most successful and entertaining batsmen to don the three lions in many a year, an astonishing talent likely to have smashed all English Test batting records by the time the curtain falls on an illustrious career. His tendency for combining the sublime with the ridiculous will likely continue to frustrate, but innings such as those in Colombo are a timely reminder that Pietersen remains a match winner for England, and a batsman that is deserving of considerably more slack than he is currently afforded.

Kevin Pietersen is a genius. A flawed genius, yes, but a genius nonetheless that will continue to win Test matches for England. Enjoy him whilst he is here.

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Post by Shelsey93 Tue 10 Apr 2012, 5:54 pm

I don't like to use the word great yet - things can change very quickly when you judge a player before retirement. However, he certainly has had too much criticism (particularly this winter given his success in Australia and last summer)

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Post by Duty281 Tue 10 Apr 2012, 6:46 pm

KP an England great? Let's look at his current stats:

Tests - 49.28 Average, 20 Hundreds, 25 Half-Centuries, 6654 Runs
ODIs - 41.84 Average, 9 Hundreds, 23 Half-Centuries, 86.76 SR, 4184 Runs
T20Is - 37.93 Average, 0 Hundreds, 7 Half Centuries, 141.51 SR

Well...

KPs To-Do List (In Order of Importance)

1) Lift Test Average above 50
2) Help maintain England's No.1 Standing for years
3) Win the Ashes again, Home and Away
4) Reach 30 Test Tons (24 would make him the leading English player)
5) Get 8000 Test Runs
6) Help win either a T20 or ODI World Cup
7) Reach 5000 ODI Runs
8) Score a international T20 Ton
9) Get to 20 ODI Tons

If he can acheive at least 6 of those, he will be remembered as one of England's best players of all-time.

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Post by Shelsey93 Tue 10 Apr 2012, 6:58 pm

Duty281 wrote:KP an England great? Let's look at his current stats:

Tests - 49.28 Average, 20 Hundreds, 25 Half-Centuries, 6654 Runs
ODIs - 41.84 Average, 9 Hundreds, 23 Half-Centuries, 86.76 SR, 4184 Runs
T20Is - 37.93 Average, 0 Hundreds, 7 Half Centuries, 141.51 SR

Well...

KPs To-Do List (In Order of Importance)

1) Lift Test Average above 50
2) Help maintain England's No.1 Standing for years
3) Win the Ashes again, Home and Away
4) Reach 30 Test Tons (24 would make him the leading English player)
5) Get 8000 Test Runs
6) Help win either a T20 or ODI World Cup
7) Reach 5000 ODI Runs
8) Score a international T20 Ton
9) Get to 20 ODI Tons

If he can acheive at least 6 of those, he will be remembered as one of England's best players of all-time.

thumbsup Though I would say 10,000 Test runs (the level which most other modern greats have achieved or will have by the time KP retires), and place the 50-over World Cup as a must. He probably has 6 years left in international cricket (approx.), having already played for 7, so could easily achieve these aims.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Tue 10 Apr 2012, 6:58 pm

For me, YES. I'd have him in an England all-time second XI right now, and by the end of his career I expect him to be knocking on the door of a first XI. His ability to change the course of a test in a session (as indeed he did against SL) is one shared by very very few in today's game (Sehwag and Warner the only other two I can think of as batsmen).

He's probably the best T20 player in the world at the moment (certainly the best batsman), having already been Man of the Tournament when England claimed the world T20 crown. Also he's brought us the switch-hit Very Happy

Five innings from KP I'll remember for a long time:

1) The knock which secured the Ashes in 05.
2) The 142 vs Murali and SL where the next best score was (I think) less than 30.
3) The unbeaten 91 off 65 balls to win an ODI against Aus in 05.
4) The unbeaten double-hundred against India last year.
5) The 150 he scored at twice the rate anyone else scored in the last test in SL.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 10 Apr 2012, 7:26 pm

Anyone want a good laugh? After having a 2 Test Series against each other, Jayawardene and KP have just shared a 61 partnership in 44 balls to lead Delhi to victory in the IPL. Super Kev hit 43 off 26, including 2 sixes. Well done KP!

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Post by Biltong Tue 10 Apr 2012, 7:27 pm

KP an England great? Let's look at his current stats:

Tests - 49.28 Average, 20 Hundreds, 25 Half-Centuries, 6654 Runs
ODIs - 41.84 Average, 9 Hundreds, 23 Half-Centuries, 86.76 SR, 4184 Runs
T20Is - 37.93 Average, 0 Hundreds, 7 Half Centuries, 141.51 SR

Well...

KPs To-Do List (In Order of Importance)

1) Lift Test Average above 50 - I agree
2) Help maintain England's No.1 Standing for years - Not sure that is up to him.
3) Win the Ashes again, Home and Away - Once again, is it up to him?
4) Reach 30 Test Tons (24 would make him the leading English player) - OK
5) Get 8000 Test Runs - I agree with 10 000 runs
6) Help win either a T20 or ODI World Cup - Not sure that makes a player great, Tendulkar was a great long before he won a world cup
7) Reach 5000 ODI Runs - I think the expectation for great test cricketer and ODI cricketer should perhaps be seperated, but OK.
8) Score a international T20 Ton - Geez, that's being finicky.
9) Get to 20 ODI Tons - Same as 7

If he can acheive at least 6 of those, he will be remembered as one of England's best players of all-time.
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Post by Biltong Tue 10 Apr 2012, 7:30 pm

Antoher tongue in the Cheek question, wouldn't that make him a SANGLISH great? Wink
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Post by Fists of Fury Tue 10 Apr 2012, 9:03 pm

Nice to see KP and Mahela batting together today. The beauty of the IPL, I guess.

Regard to the list:

1) Lift Test Average above 50 - Would be ideal, but only a minor issue for me
2) Help maintain England's No.1 Standing for years - That isn't up to him alone, though he can of course contribute
3) Win the Ashes again, Home and Away - He has already done it, any more are a bonus
4) Reach 30 Test Tons (24 would make him the leading English player) - Yep, that'd be a superb achievement
5) Get 8000 Test Runs - 8,000 would be terrific, 10,000 would be the stuff dreams are made of
6) Help win either a T20 or ODI World Cup - He has already won a T20 world cup. ODI would be nice, but unlikely given England's past record
7) Reach 5000 ODI Runs - Not overly bothered about this one, again just a bonus
8) Score a international T20 Ton - Doesn't matter. His record is world class in that format as it is. Best T20 batsman in the world for me
9) Get to 20 ODI Tons - Same as 7

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Post by Duty281 Tue 10 Apr 2012, 9:24 pm

I'd agree with Mad For Chelsea and Fists that KP is the best T20 Batsman in the World at the moment but coincidentally I just went on the IPL website and there's a poll asking the question, "Who do you think is the best T20 batsman in the World ?" The options given are the following:

a) Gayle
b) Raina
c) Warner
d) Other

Gayle is currently winning the vote with 41%, then Raina with 28%, then other gets 23% while poor old Warner only gets 8%.

Deary me, they don't have a high opinion of KP!

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Tue 10 Apr 2012, 9:37 pm

poor KP, imagine people thinking Raina is the superior T20 batsman vomit

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Post by Biltong Tue 10 Apr 2012, 9:40 pm

Well an IPL website will be favouring other batsmen because of the demographic of the voters, so don't worry too much about their subjective opinion. Hug

It is like me fighting for Kallis every other week, I ain't going to win.
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Post by Fists of Fury Tue 10 Apr 2012, 9:42 pm

Raina is a fantastic T20 batsman, but it would be an insult to suggest he is anywhere near as good as KP. Same with Gayle, really. All of these guys have the ability to destroy attacks, but the way KP combines pure class with brute force is something to behold. The others listed there tend to be more brute force.

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Post by Shelsey93 Tue 10 Apr 2012, 9:48 pm

Fists of Fury wrote:Raina is a fantastic T20 batsman, but it would be an insult to suggest he is anywhere near as good as KP. Same with Gayle, really. All of these guys have the ability to destroy attacks, but the way KP combines pure class with brute force is something to behold. The others listed there tend to be more brute force.

Perhaps, although I think it would be going a bit far to say that KP is clearly the best T20 batsman in the world. Gayle, Raina and Warner have certainly been three of the best IPL batsman to date, and KP hasn't played all that much T20. Raina is a superb T20 player (poor Test player). Gayle, in particular, has a superb T20 record - by far the most hundreds. People like Dhoni don't really come into their own in T20 as they bat too low in the order.

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Post by m@tt Tue 10 Apr 2012, 10:27 pm

I think you have to separate T20 and T20 Internationals.

In the latter, KP has a fantastic record (av 38, SR 142, ranked #1) and is possibly the best in the world, albeit without a ton to his name.

He hasn't played that much T20 other than for England though, compared to other players. His overall T20 record isn't as good as the likes of Gayle, who averages 40 with 7 tons.
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Post by England Cricket Fan Thu 12 Apr 2012, 10:43 am

Why are ODI and T20 records being brought into consideration while discussing greatness? Was Michael Bevan an all time great? Were Bradman, Hammond,Hobbs and Hutton not greats? Of course its great if you are a SRT or a Viv Richards who have done exceedingly well in both formats but for me having a great Test career is enough for greatness. Others are just a bonus.

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu 12 Apr 2012, 10:48 am

I concur, ECF. Welcome to the forum, by the way.

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Post by Stella Thu 12 Apr 2012, 10:49 am

England Cricket Fan wrote:Why are ODI and T20 records being brought into consideration while discussing greatness? Was Michael Bevan an all time great? Were Bradman, Hammond,Hobbs and Hutton not greats? Of course its great if you are a SRT or a Viv Richards who have done exceedingly well in both formats but for me having a great Test career is enough for greatness. Others are just a bonus.

Bevan's name does come up when discussing great Aussie cricketers and that has naff all to with his poor test record.
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Post by England Cricket Fan Thu 12 Apr 2012, 10:50 am

Cheers thumbsup

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