KEV’S DOWNFALL BORNE OUT OF AN IDENTITY CRISIS
Kevin Pietersen is not renowned for allowing the possibility that he might be wrong. Following a revealing interview in a Sunday supplement last weekend, however, there have been widespread reports of people of many nations being knocked down with a feather.
More so, because the issue in question has been at the very heart of Pietersen’s controversial career from the moment he arrived in England to seek an alternative route to international cricket once he became convinced his road was blocked by the quota system in his native South Africa.
Having been born to an English mother he had every right to do so.
He was by no means the first born in that country to represent England, with Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott, Matt Prior, Robin Smith, Allan Lamb and Tony Greig among the most notable recent predecessors and the Zimbabwean-born Graeme Hick was made to jump through hoops to qualify. Generally speaking, very few people could have cared less so long as those players did their best for England which they all did.
But it seemed different with Pietersen, perhaps because none of the above tried quite so hard to prove that they were really English through and through as Kevin, even going through the pain of having a Three Lions tattoo inked on his arm.
The publication of a diary written by Australia’s Ed Cowan in 2011 added fuel to the fire when Cowan mentioned an incident during England’s match against Australia A on the previous winter tour.
According to Cowan, Pietersen ‘was heard to exclaim, as he cast his eye over the lunch buffet: “What the **** is this?”’ Cowan told him that, being English, he should recognise bread and butter pudding when he saw it, to which he claims Pietersen replied: ‘I’m not ****ing English, Eddie. I just work here!’
But now Pietersen seems to have realised he may have done himself no favours with his efforts to become something and someone he simply was not.
“You’re not born in Africa, Africa is born in you,” he told Laura Pullman of the Sunday Times, who describes what he said next as follows.
“Playing the ‘I’m England’ card was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made,” he told Pullman. “People said throughout my career ‘you’re South African’, and I always said ‘no, no, no’,” he says with a suitably authentic accent. “But,at the end of the day, I’m South African, I was born in South Africa, I lived in South Africa for 20 years. If you don’t like it then you’ve got no brains.”
“Every single time I did well I was English, every time I did badly I was ‘South African-born Kevin Pietersen’.”
England have moved on from their acrimonious split in 2014 and so has Pietersen, who recently claimed he was open to the idea of qualifying to play for South Africa in the 2019 World Cup, in England, of course, though at the time of going to press it had not been possible to confirm rumours that he has booked an appointment with Channel Four’s Tattoo Fixers to have their skilled artists turn the Lions into a single Protea. .
He is also throwing his celebrity behind admiral efforts to save rhinos in his native land.
One can’t help feeling, however that a lot of the underlying tension that led eventually to the break-up could have been avoided and that he would have been made far more welcome here had he not tried to conform to his idea of being “English” when most people really didn’t mind he was not, never had been, nor ever would be.
Now Pietersen seems to have realised he may have done himself no favours with his efforts to become someone he simply was not
English or not? Kevin Pietersen