Nasser Hussain reveals the story behind ‘KP: Story of a Genius’ – a Sky Originals documentary…
You possibly can watch the complete sequence ON DEMAND from Thursday, with episodes broadcast throughout the Ashes Check sequence on Sky Sports activities Cricket all through this summer season.
This documentary is a reminder that, in amongst all of the controversy, Kevin Pietersen was an amazing participant.
Given how he burst onto the scene within the well-known 2005 Ashes, that is the proper summer season to speak about Kevin.
There isn’t a doubt he nonetheless polarises opinion.
Darren Gough is adamant Pietersen is the greatest participant he has performed with. Steve Harmison additionally liked taking part in with KP.
England vs Australia
August 1, 2019, 10:00am
However there are many individuals who consider him as out for himself, who judge ‘Textgate’ and his clashes with Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower.
However even a few of these he clashed with – Strauss, particularly – had been very heat and complimentary on Pietersen the participant when I spoke to them.
On the highest stage, you get tough, distinctive characters. That is a part of what makes them nice.
Your job as a captain, a coach or a part of the ECB is to handle these folks as a result of, when you’re 20-2 and staring down the barrel you do not need Mr Good Man striding out into the center for you. You need Pietersen.
Going into our chat, I questioned if he had mellowed in any respect, if he would back-track on something he had mentioned or achieved. However in the identical means that many individuals haven’t modified their minds about him, Kevin has not modified his thoughts about sure folks.
2012 ‘Textgate’ scandal
Kevin was pretty agency in his stance on most issues – on Flower as a coach, on his troubles at Notts – however the one challenge I would say he softened on was ‘Textgate’.
He and Strauss did get on, for an extended interval however, after occasions of the summer season of 2012 they didn’t, and Kevin talks about his remorse at how he let him down.
As Strauss says, in his interview, in what sport, what enterprise, what world, when is it okay for somebody in your crew to be texting the opposition?
If I was captain, I would have had an enormous blowout with him, unquestionably, and would have misplaced all confidence and religion in him.
And I requested Michael Vaughan if it was proper KP was dropped after the Ashes debacle, and it stunned me a little bit bit he mentioned, ‘no, he ought to have been axed after Textgate’.
Strauss resigned as captain that summer season and says – in his very considerate means – his one mistake with Kevin was transferring away from him when he turned skipper. That he ought to have caught nearer to him, have had Kevin on the internal circle however, the extra he pushed away from him, the extra they clashed.
I needed a journalistic angle on issues for the documentary, and Paul Newman from The Mail says the actual fact Pietersen bought the 2012 London Olympics off the again pages that summer season – albeit for the incorrect causes – reveals simply what a box-office sportsman he was.
A expertise forward of his time
It is why I finish the present with the road ‘you had been very watchable’, as a result of that is what he was.
And that is what this recreation is all about. We neglect that typically. It is about making an attempt to entice folks to placed on their TV to look at, folks spending their hard-earned money to come back and sit within the crowd. Pietersen bought folks to try this.
We speak in regards to the ‘Dumb-slog Millionaire’ moments he had; no person appeared to polarise opinion greater than KP. We’d get emails in to Sky saying, ‘that is best participant we have ever had’ after which as quickly as he would get out to a rash shot, it could be ‘get that foolish South African out of the facet’.
However with the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes dominating English cricket now, Pietersen may argue – and he does within the documentary – he launched the attacking model of cricket that has simply received a World Cup.
Goughy, says as a lot: “How many players now are trying to play like KP? All of them.” Pietersen was a cricketer means forward of his time.
IPL turning heads
Whose head wouldn’t be turned by a million-dollar IPL deal?
Kevin needed what this England crew are getting now, gamers going off and taking part in franchise cricket – bettering themselves as cricketers.
Strauss, Flower and the ECB weren’t satisfied. There’s at all times that balancing act, of doing what’s greatest for the crew and greatest for the person as nicely, and it was a distinct period again then.
I wouldn’t be stunned if over the previous couple of years, Kevin has seen folks being rested for Checks right here and there for the IPL, and has a little bit smirk to himself, saying ‘hey, that is what I was making an attempt to do’.
He was taking part in all three codecs for England and being requested to play franchise cricket – the one England participant in that period, together with possibly Andrew Flintoff – and so he needed his schedule sorted.
In case you are the one one being provided that, and you might be being held again from it, in fact it turns into a tough scenario.
It made a participant who was already fairly onerous to deal with much more tough.
‘The higher he bought, the more durable to take care of’
I was in a lucky place, in that I first noticed Kev on our tour of South Africa means again in 1999. He was taking part in for Durban, he got here as much as me for a chat and mentioned even then how he needed to come back over and play county cricket.
Pietersen did very nicely out of England. A boy from Pietermaritzburg, taking part in initially for membership facet Cannock within the Birmingham league, after which a little bit of county cricket, he ended up with 104 Check caps for England and making some huge cash. England additionally did very nicely out of him.
However I suppose it was Mick Newell [then coach of Notts] who mentioned, the higher Kevin performed, the more durable he bought to handle. In talking to numerous folks, that appears to be the sample his profession adopted.
Jason Gallian, his former team-mate at Notts, is somebody I performed with and nonetheless see now – a really likeable, calm bloke, who very not often loses his rag – and for him to choose up Pietersen’s cricket gear and throw it off the balcony suggests he was tough.
The proof stacks up in opposition to him. Not simply Gallian, however Newell, Peter Moores, Strauss, Graeme Swann, Matt Prior.
From Kevin’s perspective, with England, he felt a bit bullied by the quartet of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Swann and Prior; he says others had been too, and that he was actually damage by a pretend Twitter account that was set as much as mock him. Strauss admits he in all probability ought to have clamped down on that.
However the place does it finish? When do you begin to suppose it is you that’s the drawback, Kevin? He even acknowledges that within the documentary, reflecting that typically it was his fault, but in addition stands by that being simply the best way he was.
The ending was very acrimonious. There was numerous damage on the finish of the 2013/14 Ashes tour.
Some individuals who we needed to talk to for the documentary, like Flower, Alastair Prepare dinner, Prior, didn’t wish to speak to us. It’s nonetheless moderately uncooked.
When England had been successful, nobody ever talked about Pietersen as a problem, however the second they had been shedding, taking place 5-Zero within the Ashes, it was his fault.
There was no silver bullet, it appears, as to why he was unnoticed after that tour, simply speak of whistling and of staring out of home windows at crew conferences, seeming fully disinterested.
The 2 events had simply grown aside. There was a scarcity of belief from Kevin within the crew, and the crew in Kevin.
Regardless of all the problems, the documentary is a reminder that KP was a genius with the bat – somebody you’ll pay to look at – and in some ways forward of his time.
Watch all 5 episodes of ‘KP: Story of a Genius’ ON DEMAND from Thursday or catch one episode per Check throughout this summer season’s Ashes sequence.
Watch each ball of the 2019 Ashes reside on Sky Sports activities Cricket. Click on right here to improve now.