Even if they rarely write the same thing, both Vic Marks and J-Rod had it right about Kevin Pietersen's batting against Bangladesh. It was a mad combo of boredom versus the utter determination not to be subjugated by what he saw as lesser bowlers.
I have a small wager on KP to end the year as top Test runscorer, based on his being fully fit again, the improvements he's made to his technique and the amount of cricket England have. Also factored in is his undisguised desire for greatness. I think it's still a good bet, although his lack of a hundred since last March has some people questioning him.
As his career has that halfway feel to it, and as comparisons with other England players are pointless, I ran a little progress check: KP versus King Viv, Sachin, Lara, Ponting and Viru Sehwag at similar stages of their career:
M I runs ave 100 50
IVA Richards 73 110 5579 53.64 18 23
BC Lara 64 110 5431 51.23 13 27
RT Ponting 70 109 4983 50.96 17 18
SR Tendulkar 70 109 5380 55.46 20 21
V Sehwag 64 110 5508 51.44 15 15
KP Pietersen 61 110 5102 49.05 16 18
While he has the lowest average, Pietersen still stacks up well in exalted company. Richards was in his fulsome pomp at the time, with his average and weight of scoring just peaking. Most of the others were about to enter the most productive phases as batsmen, an altitude that Sachin has almost maintained, but that Ponting has spent the last couple of years of his career slipping from.
For Viru and KP though, the next three or four years glow enticingly ahead.
The case for Matt Renshaw
2 weeks ago