Pi­etersen plays for him­self: Buchanan

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

AUS­TRALIAN coach John Buchanan has ac­cused Eng­land star Kevin Pi­etersen of self­ish­ness dur­ing this Ashes se­ries by dis­tanc­ing him­self from his team­mates and dic­tat­ing where he bats.

In a ver­bal barb sure to spice up next week’s fi­nal T e s t i n S y d n e y , Buchanan said he had not s e e n a n y e v i d e n c e sug­gest­ing the tourists’ best and most con­fi­dent bats­man was a team player.

Eng­land yes­ter­day con­firmed Pi­etersen bat­ted at No. 4 in the sec­ond in­nings of the fourth Test in Melbourne be­cause he was tired of bat­ting with the tail, which he had done reg­u­larly this se­ries at No. 5.

Be­fore Thurs­day, Aus­tralia had ques­tioned why Eng­land had waited un­til the fall of the third wicket be­fore send­ing in their most de­struc­tive bats­man, and Buchanan said Pi­etersen would be de­ter­mined to bat at No. 4 so he could im­pose him­self on the fifth Test, which starts on Tues­day.

‘‘I would be ex­pect­ing Pi­etersen to be con­stantly chip­ping away at (Eng­land coach) Dun­can Fletcher about where he bats and how he can im­pact on the game,’’ Buchanan said.

‘‘Now he has got the op­por­tu­nity, so let’s see him de­liver that in Syd­ney if that’s where they stick with him.’’

In a fur­ther backhander, Buchanan said Pi­etersen of­ten ap­peared re­moved and dis­tant from his team­mates on the field, given he was a good in-fielder but spent a lot of his time pa­trolling the bound­ary.

He s a i d d i f f e r e n t char­ac­ters were es­sen­tial to any side, but made a point of sin­gling out the high-profile Pi­etersen.

‘‘Pi­etersen cer­tainly talks about him­self as a team player and I don’t per­son­ally see any ev­i­dence of that, but that’s f r o m a d i s t a n c e , ’ ’ Buchanan said.

‘‘I’m not in their dress­ing room but he could be one of the great­est team men of all time.

‘‘That’s a ques­tion for you to pose to Pi­etersen or Eng­land team man­age­ment.’’

Pi­etersen spent 2005 bat­ting at No. 5 for Eng­land, bat­ted No. 4 for most of 2006 and then dropped down for the Ashes se­ries.

He av­er­ages over 50 in both po­si­tions.

Fletcher said Pi­etersen felt most com­fort­able bat­ting at No. 5 but had asked he and cap­tain Andrew Flintoff for a pro­mo­tion be­cause he did not want to be again stranded with tailen­ders.

In four of seven in­nings t h i s s e r i e s w h e r e Pi­etersen bat­ted at five, he ei­ther holed out chas­ing quick runs or was left not out af­ter run­ning out of part­ners be­cause of Eng­land’s woes in the lower or­der.

Pi­etersen dis­cussed a pro­mo­tion with Fletcher and Flintoff half­way through the MCG Test.

‘‘He said ‘I’m bat­ting with the tail a lot, I’d like to bat four’,’’ Fletcher said.

‘‘We said ‘are you sure you want to bat four and move up?’, and he said ‘I’d pre­fer to bat at four in­stead of be­ing caught with the the tail we’ve got at the mo­ment’.

‘‘So we said ‘go in at No. 4’. Kevin will bat four right through the Syd­ney Test match.’’

Fletcher said Paul Colling­wood had been sup­port­ive of swap­ping po­si­tions be­cause he recog­nised Pi­etersen was the tourists’ best bats­man.

DEATH RAT­TLE . . . Kevin Pi­etersen doesn’t need to be told he’s just been clean bowled

by Stu­art Clark on day three of the fourth Test at the MCG

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