Bring on the bashers, says KP

2010-10-06 00:00

FROM a distance, it looked like a normal training session, with the usual suspects knocking about at Kingsmead yesterday.

On closer inspection, however, the imposing figure of an international stood out — if only because of the luminous streaks in his gear.

Kevin Pietersen, made in Maritzburg and matured in middle England, is back in town. And he is loving it.

Speaking exclusively to The Witness after a double session in the indoor nets at Kingsmead, the 30-year-old was in good spirits.

“It feels really, really great to be back. It’s been amazing, and I can’t wait to get out on to the park in Maritzburg,” the College old boy beamed.

Even the ironically English weather that has enveloped the province of late did little to deter his mood.

Pietersen, in his first full training session with the KZN Dolphins, bumped into a number of familiar faces, with even groundsman Wilson Ngobese getting a cheerful ‘Willie’ and wave.

“There are still quite a few very good mates of mine here in the set-up, and obviously there are some very good youngsters coming through,” Pietersen enthused.

Joined at the hip to the equally lanky Jon Kent for much of the session, Pietersen cut a relaxed figure at his very temporary base.

“I can’t wait to get out in the middle and get a chance to share some of my knowledge with the lads,” he added.

Pietersen also expressed his delight at the chance of showcasing his considerable talents in Maritzburg and Durban over the next two weeks.

“I think it’s great that the first game is in Maritzburg, where it all started, and then we come to Durban where I finished off,” the top-order wizard said.

Indeed, ‘KP’ said he is looking forward to a decent turnout over the weekend at the Oval.

“Hopefully there will be a bit of a crowd out there, and maybe even some bashers and greys from College will be in the stands,” he chirped.

The rare treat of seeing one of the world’s most explosive talents at close quarters — and for free — should certainly see a fair few more fans at the Oval than usual.

In full flow, the mercurial Pietersen is impossible to contain, and he has been putting in the hard yards with his long-term mentor and Dolphins coach, Graham Ford.

“He is the biggest reason I am here,” Pietersen said, matter-of-factly.

“Fordie is someone I have worked with since my school days, and he has been a massive, massive influence.”

It’s been a trying year for one of the world’s premier batsmen, and his pit-stop in KZN before the Ashes shootout next month has been designed to get him back to his best.

Pietersen admits that he has gone off the boil, but just as readily states his desire to get back to his flamboyant best.

“I struggled for runs during the Pakistan series, and this is a chance to get some time out in the middle and get back in form for a massive winter.”

Pietersen has stated that he is “quietly confident” about England’s chances in Australia.

With his iconic 158 to seal England’s win in the greatest ever Test series in 2005 as a mighty yardstick, Pietersen knows that he will need to be at his brilliant best for England to triumph.

And that’s why he is here, in familiar surrounds, as he attempts to get his groove back.

Pietersen’s team-mates for tomorrow’s SuperSport Series match against the Chevrolet Warriors [they only play the Titans next week] have also been named.

With Loots Bosman, Hashim Amla and young David Miller on national duty, Inland star Bradley Moses gets just reward for a highly productive winter.

Joining Moses are new signings Devon Conway and Divan Van Wyk, while left-armer Mthokozisi Shezi takes the place of Byron Whatmore.

The Oval has been under cover for longer than usual in the build-up to tomorrow’s game, and may have a little more in it for the bowlers than usual.

Then again, with sunny skies predicted for most of the weekend, there could be plenty of leather being pursued if a certain ‘visitor’ makes himself at home.


Dolphins squad: Imraan Khan (Captain),Divan van Wyk, Bradley Moses, Kevin Pietersen, Ahmed Amla, Daryn Smit, Jon Kent, Kyle Abbott, Quinton Friend, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Mthokozisi Shezi and Devon Conway.

Coach: Graham Ford.

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