Pietersen looks to produce against Proteas once more

Updated: 11 June 2009 07:19 IST

Kevin Pietersen has reserved some of his best performances in an England shirt against South Africa and the hosts will hope for more of the same.

Pietersen looks to produce against Proteas once more

London:

Kevin Pietersen has reserved some of his best performances in an England shirt against South Africa, the land of his birth, and the hosts will hope for more of the same at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

England face South Africa in their opening match of the Super Eights with Pietersen, who missed their shock loss to the Netherlands because of an Achilles injury, having played a key role in getting them to the second round by making a fifty in their victory over Pakistan.

Pietersen, 28, caused widespread resentment in South Africa by opting to play for England because he believed a racial quota selection policy was holding back his career.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of that decision, it was certainly a bold move to come to England and that innate self-confidence was on show when he first came up against South Africa in international cricket.

After a modest debut against Zimbabwe, he was chosen for the one-day series in South Africa in 2005.

Confronted by hostile crowds, the talented batsman responded with three centuries in five innings which showcased his ability for improvisation and excellent eye for the ball.

Having taken more than his fair share of verbal abuse from spectators, it was perhaps no surprise that, after scoring his maiden ODI century in Bloemfontein, Pietersen made a great show of kissing the England badge on his batting helmet.

And just in case there was any doubt as to where his allegiance lay, Pietersen announced afterwards he was going to get a tattoo of his England number and the national emblem of the Three Lions.

In the end Pietersen's talent appeared to have trumped the initial hostility to the extent that by the end of that series the jeers had turned to cheers.

That brilliant start against South Africa means that while Pietersen's career average in one-day internationals is 46.67, against the Proteas it stands at a mammoth 98.66.

But there is rather less Twenty20 evidence to go on, with Pietersen's lone match against South Africa in the format at the inaugural World Twenty20 in Cape Town two years ago seeing him run out for 15.

Last year, ex-England captain Pietersen had the satisfaction of making 152 against South Africa in the drawn first Test at Lord's.

After an enthusiastic reception from spectators, Pietersen declared he'd never felt "so loved".

Pietersen began his county career at Trent Bridge with Nottinghamshire where his three year stint ended in a bust-up and a move to Hampshire, who were then captained by his friend and Australia leg-spin great Shane Warne.

It is fair to say Pietersen did not always 'feel the love' at Trent Bridge, first time around. But spectators and England team-mates alike will be grateful if Pietersen gives the crowd cause to show him affection on Thursday.



Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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