MCC vs ROW: Kevin Pietersen’s tryst against left-arm spin of Daniel Vettori
The vulnerability that Kevin Pietersen has had against the left-armers is more than enough to give Daniel Vettori the necessary edge © Getty Images

 

By Devarchit Varma

Kevin Pietersen will set his foot once again at the Mecca of cricket, Lord’s, when he takes the field for the Shane Warne-led Rest of the World XI. The England discard would be raring to go out and play some quality cricket after a long back, his party may get spoiled by his weakness against the left-arm spinners, as in the opposition side of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), there is the New Zealand veteran Daniel Vettori.

A couple of days ago, Pietersen, one of the most active personalities from the cricket world posted a photo on his Instagram page, showing his cap and the team dress for the Lord’s bicentenary match between the Rest of the World (ROW) XI and MCC. Along with the photo, Pietersen wrote a long caption, something that seemed to have come out straight from his heart. Pietersen wrote, “My space reserved in the Lord’s dressing room. Clothes ready! So excited about tomorrow. 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…….”

Pietersen was unceremoniously dropped by England after the debacle in Australia. He was blamed to have spoiled the dressing room and there were far too many issues surrounding the maverick cricketer. However, Pietersen took the axing in his stride and has since then has played some County cricket, meanwhile concentrating on his business.

The star batsman would certainly find himself short of match practise, like the other cricketers in the two sides who are no more active in cricket. And combined with his struggle against the left-arm spinners – a chink in his armour – he is likely to find the going tough against the left-arm spin of Vettori. While the Pietersen fans and supporters may argue that the New Zealand veteran too hasn’t played much of international cricket of late, but the vulnerability that Pietersen has had against the left-armers is more than enough to give him the necessary edge.

The issue was said to be a technical flaw in the England batsman at the start, but over the period of time the world realised that the issue had graduated into a mental one. Now, if we rewind what transpired in Australia during the return Ashes, with Pietersen sticking to his original game of attacking cricket, it becomes a little bit of worry for the ROW captain Shane Warne.

Pietersen kept going for his shots despite England’s repeated pleas that he spends more time in the middle. In the end, it was bowlers who had the last laugh. One good counter-attack measure that Pietersen has is the switch-hit, but it is too tough to implement at regular intervals. Away from cricket, Pietersen terms the 186 that he scored in Mumbai during the India tour in 2012-13 as one of his best, but in that series too, the right-handed batsman was troubled by the left-arm spin of Pragyan Ojha.

Vettori might be excited to bowl to an out-of-sorts Pietersen, but he too hasn’t had any great past either. He has been away from international cricket and his return will only be witnessed in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). However, like many former cricketers in the MCC and ROW squads, these two greats also promise an exciting contest on Saturday.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)