Kevin Peter Pietersen MBE (born 27 June 1980 in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa) is an English cricketer. He is an attacking right-handed batsman and occasional off spin bowler who plays for Hampshire County Cricket Club and is a member of both the England Test match and One Day International teams.
He made his first-class debut for Natal in 1997 before moving to England after voicing his displeasure at the racial quota system in place in South Africa, and in order to further his opportunities for playing at international level. Being born of an English mother gave Pietersen eligibility to play for England, and after serving a qualifying period of four years playing at county level, he was called up almost immediately into the national side. He made his international debut in the One-day International match against Zimbabwe in 2004, and his Test match debut in the 2005 Ashes series against Australia the following year.
Pietersen quickly became the fastest batsman to reach both 1000 and 2000 runs in One-day International cricket, and currently has the highest average of any England player to have played more than 20 innings of one-day cricket. He also has the second-highest run total from his first 25 Tests, behind only the Australian Donald Bradman. He became only the third English batsman to top the ICC One-day International rankings, doing so in March 2007.
Here is a write-up about him by Jenny Thompson (July 2007):
“Expansive with the bat and explosive with the bombast, the South African-born Kevin Pietersen is not one for the quiet life. Pietersen, an enthusiastic, bold-minded and big-hitting No 5, first ruffled feathers by shunning South Africa – he was disenchanted with the quota system – in favour of England; his eligibility coming courtesy of an English mother. He never doubted he would play for England: he has self-confidence in spades but, fortunately, he has sackfuls of talent too. Sure enough, as soon as he qualified in September 2004, he was invited to tour Zimbabwe for that winter’s one-dayers, where he averaged 104 in three innings. Success here earned him a late call into England’s team against none other than South Africa in early 2005. Undeterred by hostile receptions from the home crowds, he announced his arrival – loudly, of course – with three centuries in five innings, and in doing so demonstrated his peerless eye for the ball and for making headlines, too. On reaching his maiden ton in the second ODI at Bloemfontein, he kissed his badge with unreserved fervour and afterwards announced his next ambition: getting a tattoo of three lions and his England number. Playing at Test level was next on the Pietersen to-do list, and, as a man who puts his money, if not always his mind, where his mouth is, it was only a matter of time. Overlooked for two Tests against Bangladesh, he made his debut against Australia at Lord’s of all places, and responded with a pair of hard-hitting fifties in a losing cause. Six dropped catches in the series appeared to have dented his brash confidence, but with the series at stake, he once again showed his unswerving eye for the limelight by clubbing a phenomenal 158 on the final day at The Oval, to secure the draw that England needed for a first Ashes triumph in 18 years. First to congratulate him on his feat was Shane Warne, his good friend and captain at Hampshire, whom Pietersen had joined at the start of the season after three eventful and fractious years at Nottinghamshire. Unsurprisingly, that innings proved hard to live up to, but astonishingly Pietersen managed it, clubbing two more big hundreds in his next two Test innings in England, the second of which – against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston – included a remarkable reverse-sweep for six off Muttiah Muralitharan. In Australia the following winter, he once again lived up to his reputation with hard-earned runs, but his tour ended in disappointment when he flew home with a fractured rib, courtesy of Glenn McGrath after the first match of the CB Series. While England’s World Cup was a miserable failure for the team it was a personal success for Pietersen who hit two centuries – including his first ODI ton in a winning cause against West Indies – and confirmed his role as England’s leading batsman. His dominance continued against West Indies with a majestic 226 at Headingley – finally beating his previous 158, a score he had made three times previously. It was the highest score by an England batsman since Graham Gooch’s 333, and his march towards greatness continued. “
EARLY AND PERSONAL LIFE:
Born of an English mother and an Afrikaner father, Penny and Jannie Pietersen had a strict and well-disciplined childhood, along with his three brothers Tony, Greg and Bryan; he learned valuable lessons from this “fantastic” approach to parenting, and said: “Discipline is good. It taught me that I didn’t always have to have what I wanted; that what I needed was different from what I wanted.” In his autobiography he refers to himself and his brothers getting the cane both at home and at school. Bryan is currently playing club and second XI cricket in England.
Pietersen attended Maritzburg College, Pietermaritzburg, and made his first-class cricket debut for Natal’s B team in 1997, aged 17, where he was regarded predominantly as an off spin bowler and a hard-hitting lower-order batsman. After two seasons, he moved to England for a five-month spell as the overseas player for club side Cannock CC, and helped them win the Birmingham and District Premier League in 2000. This first spell away from home did not leave him with fond memories for England, in particular “those horrible Black Country accents”, living in a single room above a squash court, and working in the club bar. However, he returned to newly-renamed KwaZulu Natal side a better cricketer, a lack of opportunities to bowl having improved his batting.
Pietersen is widely portrayed in the media as having a self-assured personality, described by Geoffrey Boycott as being “cocky and confident”. England test captain Michael Vaughan counters this, saying, “KP is not a confident person. He obviously has great belief in his ability but that’s not quite the same thing…And I know KP wants to be loved. I try to text him and talk to him as often as I can because I know he is insecure.” He has been noted for his unusual haircuts, with his peroxide blond dyed streak of hair along the middle of his head during the 2005 Ashes series being described as a “dead skunk” look. During the 2006–07 Ashes tour, the Australian team, noted for their efforts to dominate opponents psychologically, dubbed him “The Ego”, or “FIGJAM” (Fuck I’m Good, Just Ask Me). Other nicknames include KP, Kelves and Kapes.
Pietersen was rumoured to be dating model Caprice Bourret who accompanied him to the ICC awards in October 2005, but he is now married to Liberty X singer Jessica Taylor. The couple married on 29 December 2007 at the Manor House Hotel in Wiltshire, with former England team-mate Darren Gough acting as best man.
He impressed members of Nasser Hussain’s England side when playing for KwaZulu Natal in 1999; he took four top-order wickets and, despite batting at number nine, scored 61 not out from 57 balls, hitting four sixes. Hussain then recommended that Pietersen secure a contract with an English county side.
Despite the praise from the England side, Pietersen was dropped from the Natal first team. Pietersen felt that this was due to the country’s racial quota system, in which provincial sides were required to have at least four non-white players. Pietersen’s view was that players should be judged on merit, and described it as “heartbreaking” when he was left out of the side, although he later reflected “it turned out it was the best thing that could have happened”. Pietersen has since firmly criticised the quota system, which he feels forced him out of the country of his birth. He has also criticised Graeme Smith, who became captain of the South African side in 2003, calling him “an absolute muppet, childish and strange” and that his behaviour “leaves a lot to be desired”. Smith opposed this, saying, “I’m patriotic about my country, and that’s why I don’t like Kevin Pietersen. The only reason that Kevin and I have never had a relationship is because he slated South Africa”. His outspoken views published in his autobiography, Crossing the Boundary, in September 2006, and in an interview for South African magazine GQ, led to unsuccessful calls for an ICC investigation regarding bringing the game into disrepute.
In 2000, Nottinghamshire coach Clive Rice, who had seen Pietersen play in 1997 in South Africa at a schools week, heard that Pietersen was playing club cricket in Birmingham and offered him a three-year contract to play for the county. His maiden first-class century came on his Nottinghamshire debut against Loughborough UCCE. In his first season he made 1,275 runs with an impressive batting average of 57.95, including 218 not out in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 352 with John Morris at Derby in July, after having been out lbw for a duck in the first innings. These performances led to praise in the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: “If he can maintain his first season’s form, the name of Pietersen should be pencilled in for future Test squads.” This form did indeed continue into the following year: he made another unbeaten double-century, against Middlesex, taking part in a partnership of 316 for the fourth wicket with Darren Bicknell. This period proved to be a purple patch for the batsman, scoring four consecutive centuries (254 not out, 122, 147 and 116) in one week in August.
In 2003, Pietersen scored 1,546 first-class runs, and 764 runs in limited overs cricket. He was selected for the 2003–04 ECB National Academy tour of India, and had a successful tour scoring 523 runs including three centuries in his six first-class innings to record an average of 104.60, and making 131 in a one-day match against India A in Bangalore.
After Nottinghamshire were relegated in 2003, Pietersen requested a release from his contract, saying “I haven’t been happy for a while….The pitch at Trent Bridge has been one of my problems… I could have done so much better if the wicket had been good.” This led to a public row with club captain Jason Gallian, where Gallian allegedly threw Pietersen’s kit off the Trent Bridge balcony and broke his bat:
“During the game I told the captain that I was not happy and that I wanted to leave. After the game we spoke in the dressing room and then I went to have dinner. I got a call saying the captain had trashed my equipment. I was told the captain had said, ‘if he does not want to play for Notts he can f*** off.’ I have not spoken to Gallian since, nor have I received an apology.”
Pietersen was made to honour the last year of his contract at Nottinghamshire, but “didn’t enjoy it at all”. In October 2004, he joined Hampshire under the captaincy of Shane Warne.
After becoming a regular in the international side, Pietersen rarely gets an opportunity to play domestic cricket. Having an England “central contract” means that Pietersen is only released to play for Hampshire at the discretion of the national coach. After being left out of the national side to face Bangladesh in May 2005, Pietersen had several good innings in the four-day county championship, including two centuries. He only played twice for the county in 2006, and has played once so far in 2007, with an unbeaten 66 against Ireland.
The tour of Zimbabwe caused several players to voice their concerns about the Robert Mugabe regime, the security issues in the country and the standard of the Zimbabwean side. Steve Harmison was the first to boycott the tour for “political and sporting reasons”, and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was reported to be considering taking a moral stand himself. The England Chairman of Selectors David Graveney denied that the selectors would leave out players unhappy with touring Zimbabwe and would put their absences down to injury. Flintoff was, however, “rested” and Pietersen rushed into the squad “at the earliest opportunity”. In the five match ODI series, Pietersen batted in three innings which included a score of 77 not out; he finished the series with an average of 104.00 as England won the series 4–0.
Pietersen was upset not to be initially in the squad to tour South Africa. With Flintoff withdrawing due to injury, Pietersen was recalled to the squad, and cemented his place in the first team with 97 off 84 balls in the warm-up match against South Africa A, in the face of a hostile crowd. Throughout the tour, Pietersen was subjected to a barrage of abuse from the South African crowd, who regarded him somewhat like a traitor. He said:
“I knew I was going to cop a lot of stick but it will be like water off a duck’s back…I expected stick at the start of the innings, and I’m sure it will carry on through the whole series. But I just sat back and laughed at the opposition, with their swearing and ‘traitor’ remarks… some of them can hardly speak English. My affiliation is with England. In fact, I’m starting to speak too much like Darren Gough… In fact, I’m going to get one of Gough’s tattoos with three lions and my number underneath…No one can say I’m not English.”
Pietersen scored a 96-ball 108 not out in the tied second ODI at Bloemfontein, after which the crowd turned their backs on him as he returned to the pavilion. This score set his ODI average at an incredible record 234.00. He made 75 at Cape Town, then at East London Pietersen made an unbeaten 100 from only 69 balls, the fastest century by an England player in a one-day match, although England still lost by eight runs. In the final game at Centurion Park, Pietersen came to the wicket at 32/3 and scored 116, but again could not prevent a defeat. Pietersen ended the series, which England lost 4–1, with 454 runs in five innings, and the Player of the Series award. By the end of the series, the South African crowds had generally replaced hostility with respect for Pietersen, his final century being awarded a standing ovation.
Mixed success in Ashes build-up:
Despite press speculation, Pietersen was not picked for the Tests against Bangladesh—his early season form being dogged by a foot injury—but with his county form improving, he was selected for the Twenty20 match against Australia at Southampton, making 34 from 18 balls and taking three catches as England won by 100 runs.
In the triangular ODI series against Australia and Bangladesh, Pietersen did not get to bat in the first match at The Oval as England won by 10 wickets, but scored 91 off 65 balls in the match in Bristol against Australia. In the remainder of the triangular series, Pietersen scored quickly, although without other half-centuries. He finished the seven-match series with a total of 278 runs at an average of 46.33.
Pietersen’s performances sparked speculation over whether he would be brought into the Test side for The Ashes later in the summer. A BBC poll of 10 respected cricketers resulted in a minor preference for playing Pietersen and Ian Bell in the middle order, with Graham Thorpe missing out.
Later in July, Pietersen played in all three matches of the (ODI) NatWest Challenge against Australia. In the final match he was the top scorer for England with 74 runs, however he was forced off the field in the third over of Australia’s reply with a groin injury.
Speculation over when Pietersen would play for the Test team was ended in July with the announcement by the England chairman of selectors, David Graveney, that Pietersen had been selected ahead of Graham Thorpe. He made his debut in the first Ashes Test at Lord’s, becoming the 626 player to play for the national side. Pietersen scored 57 and 64 not out as England collapsed to a heavy defeat, becoming only the fourth player to top score in both innings on debut for England, the eighth England player to score a half-century in each innings on his debut, and the third cricketer to do so at Lord’s. In the second Test at Edgbaston he scored 71 in the first innings and 20 in the second, with England narrowly winning by 2 runs.
In the drawn third Test, Pietersen struggled with 21 and 0, then scored 45 and 23 in the fourth as England went 2-1 up. Under pressure to post a large score in the final Test at The Oval, Pietersen did not contribute significantly in the first innings with 14. In the second innings, Pietersen was dropped twice before reaching double figures, but went on to score his maiden Test century with 158, drawing the match and securing the series for England. His innings included seven sixes, a record for an English player in an Ashes innings. Pietersen was named Man of the Match for his efforts, and finished the series as top scorer, with 473 runs over the five Tests, an average of 52.55. However, he had a less successful series in the field, dropping six catches in the five Tests, a point he made wryly when questioned about the Australians dropping him three times on the final day. Pietersen was given an ECB “central contract” to reflect his place in the national side.
Less rewarding winter tour:
Pietersen had a less successful time in the three Test matches against Pakistan, which England lost 2–0. He made little impact in the first and third Tests, his highest score being 34. He fared better in the second, however, making his second Test century in the first innings. He was also performing well in the one-day series with two explosive innings of 56 from 39 balls to help England win the first ODI, and 28 from 27 balls in the second. The quick-scoring innings in the second ODI was to be Pietersen’s last on the tour. A rib injury sustained in the first ODI proved too painful throughout the second, and Pietersen returned to England to recover fully for the tour of India.
In March 2006, Pietersen played in the three Tests against India, which England drew 1–1. His 87 in the second innings of the first match came during England’s acceleration period, helping push the required target over 300. England then declared overnight, and India successfully batted out the final day to secure a draw. This half-century was followed by another in the first innings of the second Test. The second innings was not so good, facing just 13 balls before being given out caught behind off a Harbhajan Singh delivery. The unhappy Pietersen was later fined 30 percent of his match fee for shaking his head and showing signs of dissent. “Replays demonstrated that the ball that had dismissed him had brushed his forearm, not his glove, before ballooning up into the hands of Rahul Dravid at slip. But umpire Darrell Hair gave him out for 4 as England collapsed on the fourth afternoon.” Pietersen posted scores of 39 and 7 in the final Test, a match England won comfortably after a dismal 100 all out in India’s second visit to the crease.
In the one-day series, which England lost 5–1, he was top scorer for England in four out of the five matches he played, and had the highest average of any player with 58.20. His 71 in the second ODI took him past 1,000 ODI runs, equalling Viv Richards’ record of 21 innings to reach this total.
In May 2006, Pietersen matched his highest Test score of 158 in the first match against Sri Lanka, and followed it with 142 in the second Test. This took him passed the milestone of 1,000 Test runs, in his 12th Test match, and he became the first batsman since Graham Gooch in 1990 to score a century in three successive Test innings on English soil. This performance moved Pietersen into the top ten of the ICC cricket ratings, as he was named the England (Test Match) Player of the Series. On the first day of the third Test against Pakistan, Pietersen reached his fifth Test century with an overnight score of 104. Although Pietersen retired hurt shortly after reaching three figures, due to cramp, he returned to the crease the next morning and went on to top score in England’s first innings total of 515 with 135 runs from 169 balls.
Pietersen bowled his first delivery in Test match cricket on June 4, against Sri Lanka. His first Test wicket came against Pakistan later in the summer when Kamran Akmal got a thin edge through to Geraint Jones. Later in June, Pietersen scored 17 in the Twenty20 International as England lost by 2 runs to Sri Lanka. The twenty over match against Pakistan was no better, Pietersen being bowled by Mohammad Asif for a golden duck as Pakistan helped themselves to a five-wicket victory.
England in Australia, 2006–7:
In the much anticipated Ashes series in Australia, Pietersen was widely judged to be England’s best player, scoring 490 runs in five matches and averaging over 50. He started well with a defiant 92 in the first Test despite England losing by 277 runs, and then backed up his good form with a century in the second Test in Adelaide, sharing a 310-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Paul Collingwood. When he was eventually run out, his first reaction was to “giggle” because it was the third time he had scored exactly 158 runs (at that point, his highest Test score). However, even Pietersen seemed disheartened by the end of the series, which England lost 5–0.
In the Twenty20 match, Pietersen was run out on 11, as England lost the match by 77 runs. For a powerful hitter, Pietersen has not posted a large score in the specialised twenty-over format, averaging 15.50 In the first One-day International of the 2006–07 Commonwealth Bank Series, on 12 January at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Pietersen was injured when a ball bowled by Glenn McGrath hit him on the ribs. Despite continuing his innings in some discomfort, making 82, X-rays revealed a fracture and Pietersen was forced to miss the rest of the series.
CAREER IN 2007:
In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Pietersen crafted 104 runs off 122 balls against Australia in the Super Eight stage of the tournament. It was the first World Cup century by an Englishman since 1996, and the first ever against Australia. He made three half-centuries, scoring 60 runs from 92 balls against New Zealand, 56 runs from 72 balls against Kenya, and 58 runs from 80 balls against Sri Lanka. His efforts in the World Cup helped him achieve the status of ICC number-one ranked batsman in the world for ODIs; however, England did not reach the semi-finals. In England’s final match of the World Cup against the West Indies, Pietersen made 100 from 91 balls, and effected the run-out of retiring captain Brian Lara. This century took him past 2000 ODI runs, in doing so equalling the record 51 matches set by Zaheer Abbas. He finished the tournament with 444 runs, at an average of 55.5, and was described as shining in the England team “like a 100 watt bulb in a room full of candles”.
Having scored a century in the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s, Pietersen posted his highest score of 226 in the second Test at Headingley, surpassing his previous best of 158 which he had achieved three times. With this score, Pietersen moved ahead of Everton Weekes and Viv Richards to be the batsman with the second-highest run-total out of his first 25 Tests (behind Don Bradman). It is also the highest Test score for England since Graham Gooch scored 333 against India in 1990. This innings subjected the West Indies to an innings and 283 runs defeat, their largest against any team. Pietersen, the Man of the Match, said, “I believe the recipe for success is hard work. I’ve been criticised for throwing my wicket away, and I tried to make it count here”.
In the third Test at Old Trafford, scoring 68 in the second innings, Pietersen lost his wicket in a bizarre dismissal when West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo delivered a bouncer which knocked Pietersen’s helmet off his head and onto his stumps. He is only the fourth batsman in Test cricket to be dismissed “hit wicket” as a result of headgear falling onto the stumps. This score took him past the 8500 first-class runs mark, and 2,500 runs in Test cricket.
In contrast, Pietersen’s batting was poor in the following single innings matches; he scored a total of 77 runs in five matches (two Twenty20 and three ODI), recording a second-ball duck in the final ODI. He subsequently fell to second in the official One-day International batting rankings, behind Ricky Ponting. Pietersen himself has commented that his lack of recent form is a result of “fatigue”, and has reiterated his calls for a less “hectic” match schedule.
Pietersen found some form in the first Test against India, with a magnificent 134 in the second innings to set up a potential England victory. Pietersen described this as his best century, in very testing conditions. After two low scores in the second Test, Pietersen scored his 10th Test Century in the third and final Test at the Oval, helping England to draw the game with 101.
Pietersen was also picked for and played in the Twenty20 Championship in South Africa. In England’s first game against Zimbabwe on September 13, Pietersen hit 79 runs off 37 balls including four sixes and seven fours in an English total of 188-9. England won the match by 50 runs, however this was to be Pietersens only significant contribution in the competition.
Sri Lanka 2007–8:
Pietersen travelled to Sri Lanka with England’s ODI squad in September 2007. He scored 50 in England’s warm up game against the Sri Lankan Cricket XI, however followed this with scores of one, twelve, and eight. He then found form with 63 not out from 75 deliveries to clinch a historic series win for England, the first in the country since the 1980s. He went on to score 28 in the final match which was a consolatory victory for Sri Lanka. In the first test that followed in November, he was the only batsman not to make double figures in a drawn warm up game against the Board President’s XI, being caught for four. In the second warm up match against the Sri Lanka Board XI, Pietersen was again out for a low score in the first innings, surviving just three balls and scoring one run. In the second, however, England snatched a “surprise” win, with Pietersen finding form and hitting 59, the highest score of England’s innings.
During the test series, however, Pietersen suffered a period of fluctuating form. Scoring 31 and 18 in the first test, he managed only a single in the first innings of the second. While he regained his touch for the second innings, with a match saving 45 not out, he hit one and 30 in the final test, passing 3,000 test career runs but averaging only 25.2 across the series, failing to score a half century in a series for the first time in his career, and having the second lowest average of all the recognised batsmen. He equalled the Test cricket record for passing 3000 runs within 3 years of playing for his country, with the distinction that he reached this total 6 months earlier than the other two players to achieve this.
New Zealand 2008:
Pietersen averaged 33 in the five match ODI series in early 2008, a high score of 50 and 165 runs overall failing to save England from a 3:1 defeat. The series was preceded by two warm up matches, where Pietersen scored 48, and 10, and two 20Twenty internationals where he scored 43, and 3, each match resulting in an England win.
England then played a series of warm up matches before the three test series began, where Pietersen would face New Zealand for the first time in his test career. Pietersen, however, did not play in the first warm up match for the test series, as England featured both wicket keepers Tim Ambrose and Phil Mustard in their batting lineup.
Pietersen gained several awards for his performances in the 2005 season. He was named both the ICC ODI Player of the Year and Emerging Player of the Year in 2005, and was one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year (alongside team mates Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard) for his role in the successful Ashes series against Australia. Along with the rest of the England team, he was decorated in the 2006 New Year Honours list, being awarded the MBE for his role in the successful Ashes series. He also played for the ICC World XI in the ICC Super Series 2005 against Australia.
Test match performance:
Test debut: vs Australia, Lord’s, July 21, 2005.
·He has the second highest run-total from his first 25 Tests (behind Don Bradman).
·Fourth Englishman to top score in both innings of debut Test.
·He is one of only twenty-two players to have a peak ICC batting rating over 900.
One-day International performance:
ODI debut: vs Zimbabwe, Harare – Nov 28, 2004
·Fastest batsman to reach 1000 and 2000 runs.
·Fastest century by an England player (69 balls) (v SA, 2005).
Kevin Pietersen’s Official Website
Player Profile: Kevin Pietersen
Cricketweb interview with Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen Career Averages
*Acknowledgements to Cricinfo.com, Wikipedia.com and all other sources.