Complicated Genius or a Flawed Willower? Kevin Pietersen says Goodbye


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No press conferences. No cold-shouldering of media. And not even an iota of suspended dust particles carrying the imminent news.
Kevin Pietersen’s retirement from the game lays testimony to his own character: bold, driven by a suddenness, but often well-thought of.
Perhaps there’s no irony in England’s Kevin Pietersen announcing his retirement on social media. He was, after all, their most expressive and sociable cricketing talents.
Few players have intrigued worldwide media as much as he ruled it; And not merely for his cricketing exploits. Fewer have gone on to become household names, not necessarily owing to the customary slap of the bat.
Whether it is a mark of his unshakeable stature or a celebration of blithe- we still don’t know- but perhaps Kevin Pietersen’s name shall always be mired in controversy that seldom eschewed his flamboyant persona. How often has cricket remembered a bloke with 23 Test hundreds and fired nearly 13000 international runs more for things he said to his mates and in the green room than for his international accomplishments?
Cricket has always loved a great character.
Whether it was the perseverance of Dravid, the flamboyance of Lara or the aggression of Merv Hughes. Lest it be forgotten that Kevin Pietersen was one heck of a character himself- unsullied by what the world thought of him, fiercely original and daring. It could be argued, his style of conduct was fluently essayed by his batting- relentless and capable of tearing apart any attack and uncompromising from the word go.
Yet, Kevin Pietersen- you instantly felt- wasn’t the greatest disciple of the subtle art of diplomacy.
Sometimes you ought to evade a bouncer, you simply duck the difficult one and don’t hurl your tongue at everything. His fans would still be dreading the idea regardless of how innocent it appeared to KP when he talked to Andy Flower about his team’s shared disagreement with their coach’s ‘ringmaster’ approach.
KP’s backers might actually be debating endlessly into the wee hours of the night “what if KP may have just stayed mum?”
After all, how did it matter to him especially at a stage where his career was progressing just fine. He had stuck Ashes hundreds, had been plundering runs in the World T20 and was by far, England’s finest hitter in the briefest format. But all said and done, you’ve got to appreciate the sense of candidness Pietersen had about him. He wasn’t duplicitous. Even as the side appears as a thick, close unit, they aren’t necessarily communicative.
With Pietersen, you felt there was an openness and frankness hitherto seen among first-rate international cricketers. KP derived pleasure from his heroics- most noticeably the memorable, rather once in a lifetime 2005 Ashes triumph- toward which he was a masterly contributor and remained frank about his follies as an international cricketer.
Few cricketers have been as vocal about their shortcomings with spin as Kevin Pietersen. He wasn’t just merely aware of the weakling he became facing spin rather was a curious student who seemed determined to conquer his abrasiveness. Quite like Lara, who prior to the commencement of his famous 2000-01 Sri Lanka tour rushed to Sir Sobers to reorient his technique, Pietersen found solace in the guidance of Rahul Dravid, contemporary of his who KP respected a great deal; and enjoyed Dravid’s regard in return.
Pietersen was more than the sum of the parts that attempted to describe him. He took to Twitter to share his gratitude to Dravid, explaining how the batting great’s advice helped solidify his approach to facing spinners. But that told, how should one of cricket’s freak geniuses of the modern age be remembered? Like Sachin, Waugh, Chanderpaul or Sangakkara, Pietersen doesn’t have the rare distinction of only possessing bouquets of respect or garlands of praises.
Pietersen has the dichotomy of generating brickbats and the soreness of having perhaps more critics than fans. Surely, it must not be the happiest feeling on earth.
To this day, KP’s histrionics with his teammates and his personal equation with Cook, Flintoff, Anderson and thereof possesses mighty fodder to drive cricket psychologists to pen an intriguing account of ‘whodunnit.’ Yet, at the same time, it puts some perspective among fans, administrations, and teams the ultimately decisive role that the concept of ‘team dynamics’ plays.
Thankfully, Kevin Pietersen leaves the game with the feeling of an uncompromising gladiator; a weapon-wielder of sorts if you like who could damage the enemy but couldn’t weigh up to his own army. You are moved in admiration that KP, birthed into cricket in arguably it’s most enigmatic rivalry- The Ashes- struck memorable fifties in his debut Test in 2005, the latter of his London fifties resulting in an unbeaten 64. How often have we seen Warne and McGrath sweating with exhaustion in attempting to conquer a bloke they would unabashedly identify as a true ‘adversary’?
Kevin Pietersen signified a rare genome for a cricketing talent; an audacious striker of the cricket ball who thrived on pressure and one whose sheer presence could downsize the collective impact of his opponents.
KP being well liked by a frenzied string of fans who seek, in cricket, an escape from everyday grind speaks well for his efforts to popularise a sport he thought of as his life. And this accumulation of fans and his keenness to interact with all-regardless of color or creed- perhaps serves a fitting testimony to an outstanding batsman who eventually became the equivalent of a man without a country. It echoes a silent triumph: that perhaps KP belonged to everyone.


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