Kevin Pietersen: A Pioneer of Cricket, But Has He Reached the End?

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJanuary 7, 2009

When Michael Vaughan made a teary departure from the England captaincy in August of last year, it marked the end of a successful era of England cricket which, of course, included the fantastic Ashes win of 2005.

Just a few days later, the intense speculation regarding Vaughan's successor was brought to an end as the charismatic Kevin Pietersen took over. It marked the start of a new era, and hopefully a successful one.

It certainly started well, as Pietersen helped England to a 4-0 series victory over South Africa, scoring a wonderful century in his first match as skipper.

It soon went downhill, however, after a 5-0 ODI series whitewash against India, cut short by the Mumbai terrorist attacks, and another defeat when they returned for the Test series.

More recently, Pietersen has been involved in a power struggle with coach Peter Moores. It was evident that one would have to leave eventually, but who was it to be? Would player power win, or would the ECB back their coach?

Their decision? Both should go.

Pietersen quit as captain earlier today amidst the furore, citing the recent events as his reason, while the ECB sacked Peter Moores later in the day.

Andrew Strauss will captain the England side that will tour the West Indies later this month.

Pietersen is by no means a stranger to controversy, but his feud with Moores could have been the latest in a growing line of landmark stages during Pietersen's career.

In many ways, he has been a pioneer for the game.

He starred in the aforementioned Ashes series of 2005, creating a buzz around the game of cricket the likes of which had not been seen since the "Botham's Ashes" series of 1981.

In short, Pietersen, along with a few others involved in that team, namely Andrew Flintoff, had made cricket popular in this country. Men, women, and children around the country who would have never dreamed of watching cricket before were actually sitting down and watching hours of it.

Last year, Pietersen was named England captain, and so led them into the most lucrative game in the history of cricket: The Stanford Super Series. The idea had the potential to be one of the most revolutionary ideas in the game's history, and Pietersen was again there on the front line.

He created yet more controversy and brought about a new way of thinking with his now infamous "switch-hit" shot, in which he changes the hand he bats with as the all is in mid-flight.

This had never been seen before, and the ability to be able to hit a six with either hand could play a huge part in the future of the game. I would be surprised if some coaches aren't teaching their own players to do just that as, if used correctly, it can be a devastating weapon.

Then you have this situation with Peter Moores. Had he won, he would have proved that it is player power that reigns supreme in cricket. It, once again, could have been a big day in English cricketing history.

Now, however, we could have seen it all ending. Pietersen resigning as England captain have led some to question his future. They don't think he will play for England ever again, some think he doesn't deserve to.

Personally, I think it would be a major shame if we had seen Pietersen in an England top for the last time. He is an unpredictable, exciting player, and could become one of the best ever.

Who knows, whoever the new permanent captain may be, he might want Pietersen back in the set-up, while the coach doesn't, and that could open up a whole new can of worms...


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