England’s Kevin Pietersen says he won’t be quitting the Ashes tour mid-series like Graeme Swann has done.
Colourful. Ego-driven. Outspoken. Kevin Pietersen has been called many things.
But his critics won’t be able to add quitter to the list this summer after the England batsman announced he had no intentions of following Graeme Swann into a mid-series retirement.
The 102-Test veteran’s name was thrust into the news this week by the departing spinner Swann’s comments that some international players had “no idea how far up their own backsides they are”.
Swann tried to hose down concerns he was attacking his own teammates by saying he didn’t mean England players.
The Swann saga adds to England’s woes as the tourists trail three-nil going into Thursday’s fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.
No.3 batsman Jonathan Trott left the tour after last month’s Brisbane Test with a stress-related illness and Pietersen is averaging 27.50, compared to a career mark of 47.64.
“I’m 33 years of age, I’m batting as well as I’ve ever batted,” Pietersen told a news conference on Tuesday.
“I’ll retire when I can’t get up to play for England. I’m good as gold at the moment.”
Pietersen distanced himself from speculation Swann’s comments were referring to him.
“I’m not giving any energy to what happened yesterday,” he said.
“The only energy that I’ve got on this tour left in me is for Melbourne on the 26th, training today, training tomorrow and Sydney.
“My interest levels in yesterday are less than zero.”
Pietersen says the Aussie crowds have offered him plenty of advice this summer and so have the touring press.
“It’s great for you guys. I give you guys a lot of energy to give me a clout,” Pietersen said.
“Of course it annoys me.”
Now he’s getting some from former greats such as Geoff Boycott, who says he’s a mug and Australia’s bowlers are laughing at him.
“I have the greatest admiration for Geoffrey Boycott and what he achieved for England but I think the way Geoffrey played and the way I play are totally different,” Pietersen said.
While Boycott was regarded as a blocker, Pietersen’s 23 Test hundreds have included some of the most daring shots the modern game has seen.
Australia’s bowlers have played on Pietersen’s ego, setting traps such as two short mid-wickets and restricting the runs as they wait for the star No.4 to play a risky shot.
“I felt like a clown in Adelaide when I hit that ball to mid-wicket,” Pietersen said.
“Then a couple of times I got myself out and couple of times fortune didn’t favour the brave.
“It’s just a case making sure I keep doing what I do because it’s proved successful.
“I haven’t got a hundred. I might get one on Thursday and might be sitting here all nice and happy.”