By CricketCountry Staff
London: Aug 5, 2012
Former England captain Alec Stewart lavished praise on batsman Kevin Pietersen for his “masterful display” on the third day of the second Test at Headingley.
“Love him or hate him, it was impossible not to have enjoyed Kevin Pietersen’s batting yesterday,” said Stewart. ”He has a touch of genius about him and it was on full show in front of a packed Headingley crowd.”
Stewart continued to commend Pietersen’s knock, likening him to English greats.
He was quoted by Mirror as saying, “His wonderful century was a masterful display from a man who writes his own headlines.
“The 21st ton of his Test career takes him to within one of the all-time English record held jointly by Geoffrey Boycott, Ken Barrington and Wally Hammond.”
The English batsman was highly praised by former cricketers after his 21st century that brought closer to South African score of 419 runs.
Stewart though expressed disappointment of Pietersen’s unavailability in the limited-overs format. He said,” A player of such rare talent should be appreciated and it’s a shame that we are now deprived of seeing him in the international limited-over and T20 arenas after his premature retirement from the shorter form of the game.”
The former England wicket-keeper posed a question to the South Africa-born middle-order batsman to reconsider his decision to retire from limited overs cricket.
He added, “Surely he must now be told to reconsider that decision and allow his talents to be available to England?
“At the end of his career he should want to look back and be very proud of his achievements and the impact he has had on the world game – and the last thing he should have are any regrets”
When Pietersen was on 85 he became the eighth English batsman to score 7000 Test runs. His 21st Test century -- his third against South Africa -- came in the first over with the second new ball.
Stewart feels the milestone of 10000 runs is not far away for Pietersen.
He said, “During his innings he also went past 7,000 Test runs to take him to seventh on the all-time run-scoring list and his ambition to reach 10,000 runs before he eventually calls it a day is easily within his grasp.”
The most remarkable thing about Pietersen, according to Stewart was the fact that it came against the best bowling attack in the world.
He said,” South Africa have been the better side in this series so far, but once KP strode out to the middle the tables were turned.
“From ball one he looked like a man on a mission and his mission was to destroy the visiting bowling attack. He played some quite outrageous strokes, none more so than just after the second new ball was taken, with a straight six off Dale Steyn which went back over the quick bowler’s head.”
Stewart added that the hundred by the English batsman helped the debutant James Taylor to ease into his innings. He wrote, “The debutant James Taylor had the best seat in the house for most of the KP masterclass and he played his role in a highly entertaining fifth-wicket partnership.
“Taylor only came into the side after the late withdrawal of Ravi Bopara due to personal issues, but the diminutive newcomer showed a good temperament along with a sound technique, and now has the chance to make the number six spot his own.
“He couldn’t have picked a tougher attack to start his international career against, but he will have grown in confidence and valuable experience the longer he stayed at the crease. There is still plenty of cricket to be played in this absorbing match and, so long as the rain stays away, a result remains possible.”
England might have lost the Test series opener but former England cricketer feels they still stand a chance to win the series.
“England’s record of seven home series wins on the trot is still under threat, but the way KP led the attack it is very evident that they do not want it to end,” Stewart concluded.