Kevin Pietersen will return to Lord’s as a player after nearly a year © Getty Images
Lord’s will light up at its brightest for the Bicentenary Match between Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Rest of World (RoW) on July 5. In an encounter of the titans of the sport, there is one man for whom this will be more than a commemorative exhibition at Lord’s. Abhishek Mukherjee celebrates Kevin Pietersen’s return to the Mecca of cricket.
As the hype builds up around the much-awaited Lord’s bicentenary match, the giants of the sport are probably resting inside the comfortable refuge of their respective hotels. Almost all of them have had illustrious careers, and tomorrow’s match will, in all probability, mean little more than a carnival contest.
Somewhere in London, however, a 6’4” tattooed man is eagerly awaiting his return to Lord’s. The last time he had taken field on the ground was during on July 21, 2013: he had failed, scoring two and five, but hundreds from Ian Bell and Joe Root and a nine-wicket haul by Graeme Swann ensured England won the Test by 347 runs.
It has been almost a year. Kevin Pietersen has been, by all practical purposes, dropped from the England team after the 0-5 Ashes debacle Down Under. Following that, England has lost a home series against Sri Lanka, but Pietersen has not been recalled. He had waited for his time to come during his stint for Surrey, but it has not come. Yet.
Photo courtesy: Kevin Pietersen’s Facebook page
He is ready to take field, and is as eager as any starry-eyed teenager to go out to the arena. “My space reserved in the Lord’s Cricket Ground dressing room. Clothes ready & I’m so excited! I didn’t think I’d have this opportunity to play in front of a full house at Lord’s again. I still do hope that things change and I play for England here again. Time will tell…” he wrote on his Facebook wall.
He will be sharing the visitor’s dressing room, and since he would play for Surrey, it is unlikely for him to get a chance to visit the hosts’ dressing room again. However, Lord’s, in its full capacity, will rise in unison to acknowledge the return of their adopted prodigious son. He has, after all, scored 1,235 Test runs at the ground at 56.13 with five hundreds.
As for the man, what better opportunity will he get to prove his mettle in front of the national selectors?
(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)