Pietersen was dropped famously from the England side when it emerged that he had sent provocative texts to members of the South African team on their recent tour of England. Pietersen issued a public apology which seems to have been accepted and reiterated the point that he did not give away any tactical information which the ECB seems to have accepted.
The job now is for Pietersen to fit back into the team ahead of the winter tour to India. It is great news for England because their weaknesses against spin have been clear for all to see. Firstly, Pietersen has to get that respect back from the senior players which he can do in a number of different ways. It will be difficult for him to spend personal time with various individuals following what has happened but the first step he has to take is admitting he was wrong and trying.
He needs to circulate in the dressing room and network harder than he ever has done before. Already a lot of players have said they would welcome him back but ultimately there is still going to be a lot of mistrust which Pietersen has to rectify. Taking an interest in each individual’s life and career is a way he can going about addressing the issue. Bear in mind that Pietersen is a father so maybe it’s time he tried to set a stronger example and left his egotistical appearance behind.
That’s all he can really do. If certain players don’t want to accept him back into the team then they will play with him on the field and simply ignore him off the field. A good medium Pietersen can use, as this is initially bound to be the case, is to spend time helping younger players in the squad. Pietersen has massive experience with 88 Test caps and a batting average of just under 50.
It is clear that the likes of Johnny Bairstow and James Taylor need some serious guidance in the early part of their Test career. Pietersen has had his problems against spin but he is one of the few players who could be effective in India. It would go a long way to earning back that respect and proving that he is committed if he publicly shows that he is helping these guys to become better players which ultimately helps out England.
He has to show his commitment out in the public domain. One of the areas of friction between the ECB and Pietersen was the fact that he retired from playing ODI and Twenty20 cricket for his country so that he could go and play domestic cricket in other parts of the world to earn more money. This is nothing new and it’s something Andrew Flintoff did towards the end of his career.
The point is that Pietersen has no grounds to complain or argue. One of the stipulations of his return to the side is that he is available for England in all forms of cricket. It’s time for him to pull on the three lions and go out to India to make some massive scores. The limited overs matches against South Africa and the routine beatings handed to England at the T20 World Cup have shown that Pietersen is needed, it’s vital that he’s back. He now has a duty to see out his England career with respect and honour.
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