The eccentricities of Kevin Pietersen still hover around the English cricketing camp even as his comeback marks an important rejoinder for the team days before the Ashes. His prolificacy has never been in question though his attitude to buck the system when least expected has made former players wary about Pietersen’s comeback to the English squad.
Though the coaching staff members believe that Kevin Pietersen’s comeback would only boost England’s chances at the Ashes, fact remains that if the star-player causes any clashes in the players’ locker-room it could disturb the easy-going tandem of the English team. There may have been a marked absence in the team on account of Pietersen’s injury but given the solidity of the team after their recent performances in tests, the team won’t lose out in case Pietersen oversteps his boundaries.
Furthermore, as it emerged in the light of the David Warner-Joe Root incident, the English team has also been quite stringent about disciplinary requirements from each of its players. Newcomers and experienced players alike have been expected to be committed fully in their off-field actions and behaviour as much as their on-field comport. Any lapses thus on Pietersen’s part – however inadvertent – would then not only hurt the player in terms of his continuity to play for his adopted country but also the team itself. After the David Warner incident, all aspersions may have been cast on the Australians but there was no doubt about the English player being in the wrong anywhere. Going into a tournament with such a strong mindset, England would then only want to avoid all unnecessary publicity that could potentially reflect in its performance in the upcoming test series.
But for now Pietersen holds the benefit of doubt. His return to active cricket playing saw him notch 177-runs for Surrey against Yorkshire, just a few days ago. His international cricketing comeback was also quite eagerly awaited with England scheduled to play their last T20 against New Zealand though rain put paid to these anticipations. With Pietersen’s selection to play in the first Ashes test at Trent Bridge almost imminent, the crowd too will hope that this flamboyance of Pietersen’s bat will speak and echo for his credentials more than his verbal ripostes that could sabotage and ruin his professional standing forever.