Why Kevin Pietersen Is Easy to Understand

Sam HampsonContributor IMarch 30, 2009

Kevin Pietersen is talented, he's vibrant, he's outspoken, and he's honest.

But when reduced to the most basic level, he's made up of only two things—pride and emotion.

His latest comments and general demeanour stem from both.

His pride was hurt when he was ditched as captain, and he was emotionally wounded by the very public process that went on.

Even before then he was playing in a team that couldn't buy a win, and that continued even after a change in continent.

Any of the England players would have been hurting because of that. Their collective pride was attacked as every hundred was compiled against them, or as every six went sailing over their heads.

Pietersen's form suffered as his team did (or maybe some people would say his teams form suffered because his own did), and with no aggressive batsmen ready to stand up in his place the team never look liked seizing a game with the intent and directness with which KP would have done.

The form batsmen of the winter have been Strauss and Collingwood, neither of which demolish the morale of the opposition in the way Trescothick, Flintoff or even Vaughan did a few years ago. Sitting on the balcony seeing your team-mate punishing the opposition and dragging the game away from them lifts any players spirit, and that was the sort of spark that was missing to ignite Pietersen.

The management had no choice but to turn down his request to return home. However, knowing KP—as surely his teammates must—Strauss and Flower would have shown great bravery in telling him to go home before he needed to ask.

Delaying dropping Vaughan and Bell meant their poor form extended over too many series, and if Pietersen had been taken aside and told to go home, rest, and prepare himself to beat the West Indians at home, then win the World Twenty20 and then for his finale demolish the Aussies, KP's emotions would have chance to recover and his pride would be fired up by the captain's instructions to be the man to lead England to a great summer.

In his place, England could have called someone up for this one day series who was fresh and ready to stake a claim.

This is why Pietersen is at the end of his tether. For years, the England team ethic hasn't been as innovative and assertive as it could have been. That's exactly why Pietersen isn't still captain, and why he's lonely in the squad.

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