Former England captain Kevin Pietersen believes the Kolkata Knight Riders could well afford to do without Sunil Narine, should he be suspended, as the spinner does not have the same impact as in years gone by.

The 32-years-old West Indies bowler does indeed face the threat of suspension after being reported for a suspect action during KKR’s victory over Kings XI Punjab last week.  The spinner is allowed to continue bowling, for now, but another report to the Indian Premier League (IPL) would see Narine suspended until cleared by the BCCI Suspect Bowling Action Committee.

Narine had performed heroics for KKR after defending 14 runs off the final over, to help his team register a stunning 2 runs victory over KXIP.  Despite that, however, Pietersen insists the bowler has not quite been at the same level since his last suspension.  Narine was previously suspended in 2015 when he was ranked No. 2 on the ODI and T20 rankings.  His action was reported as suspect in successive matches during the Champions League Twenty20.  It resulted in his missing out on playing in the final for Kolkata Knight Riders, who lost to Chennai Super Kings.

“If I am honest, I am not so sure it (Sunil Narine absence) is a massive loss. Andre Russell is the guy you spend time talking about in team meetings. When he bowls, you are thinking about it. When he bats, you are thinking about it. It is the same when he is fielding,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.

“Sunil Narine has not been the same bowler for a few years now. He hasn’t had his best; he hasn’t had his real big spin. Coming to Sharjah, it is not something you are really worried about Sunil Narine. And then the bowlers have found him out in his batting. You bowl him short, he doesn’t like it,” Pietersen added.

 Shoaib Malik, Kevin Pietersen, and Babar Azam were all given the axe as the SportsMax Zone panel and Zone team homed in on the Ultimate XI T20 batsmen 3-5.

After much heated debate, two legendary Indian players Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were selected alongside South African smasherAB de Villiers as the players to go forward.  The specialist included cricket analyst Kerry Scott, regional umpire Chris Taylor and sports columnist Zaheer Clarke.

For the most part, Kohli and de Villers were universal picks with the battle for the third spot coming down to Dhoni and Pietersen.  Taylor tried to make the case for Pietersen, pointing to a strike rate of 141.51 and an average of 37.93 in T20 international cricket.  He found no support, however, from either his fellow panelist or the Zone team, with exception of Lance Whittaker who was the lone voice joining him in his quest to advance the case of the South African-born Englishman.  Some of the issues presented, in the case again Pietersen, stemmed from what was described as his overall lack of consistency, as compared to the others on the list.

Fans, called Fanalysts have a 30% weighted vote on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 team, with the SportsMax Zone having another 30% of the vote. The panel of experts’ vote will count for 40% of the overall votes.

Fanlysts can vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

Today the team will turn its attention to sorting through the list of quality bowlers.

 

There was no place for Marlon Samuels in SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 batsmen 3-5 after a panel of experts dumped the allrounder from a shortlist of 14 on the SportsMax Zone earlier today.

The panel consisting of David Brook, cricket commentator and reporter, Sachin Ramsuhbag, cricket commentator, and Chris Taylor, commentator and cricket umpire, felt Samuels, though a proven match winner, did not stack up with the consistency of some of the other batsmen in the list.

The panel also felt that Samuels’ strike rate (117.93) over the course of 187 games was not high enough, when compared to others in the list.

That list reads a veritable who’s who in the T20 game, with India’s Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni; South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and AB de Villiers; West Indies’ Samuels; England’s Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, and Joe Root; Pakistan’s Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik; Australia’s Glenn Maxwell; Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara; and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson all getting the nod.

From that list, du Plessis, Samuels, Morgan, Duminy, Sangakkara, Maxwell, Williamson and Root have all been cut.

That means Kohli, Pietersen, Babar, Shoaib, de Villiers and Dhoni are the men who will vie for three places, from the number-three to the number five positions in the batting line-up when another panel of experts makes a judgement on the SportsMax Zone tomorrow.

While voting fans, Fanalysts, just pick a final XI, if they were to pick a group for a final discussion, it might look a little different from the one the panel picked.

So far, the fans have favoured Kohli, de Villiers, Dhoni, Maxwell, Pietersen, and there is a toss-up between Samuels and Sangakkara for the sixth position.

For the fans, neither Babar nor Shoaib factor in their all-time XI.

Fans, called Fanalysts have a 30% weighted vote on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 team, with the SportsMax Zone having another 30% of the vote. The panel of experts’ vote will count for 40% of the overall votes.

Fanlysts can vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

Kevin Pietersen, of South African descent, was a similar precocious talent, bringing such inconceivable skill and swagger back into the gentleman's game.

His memorable knock in 2010 ICC World T20 finals helped England to take home their first ICC Championship.

He has been a consistent club player and has played for teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Daredevils, etc. in Indian Premier League. He has also played in the Pakistan Super League for Quetta Gladiators and Melbourne Stars of the Big Bash League.

 

Career Statistics (2003-2018)

Full name: Kevin Peter Pietersen

Born: June 27, 1980, (40) Pietermaritzburg, Natal

Major teams: England, Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Dolphins, Hampshire, ICC World XI, KwaZulu-Natal, Melbourne Stars, Natal, Nottinghamshire, Quetta Gladiators, Rising Pune Supergiants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, St Lucia Zouks, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Surrey

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

 

T20I Career - England

Mat   Inns      NO    Runs     HS    Ave       BF      SR      100    50     4s     6s 

37        36        5      1176     79    37.93      831    141.51   0       7     119    32  

 

T20 Career

Mat     Inns    NO   Runs    HS      Ave       BF      SR       100   50   4s     6s  

200      193      25    5695    115*   33.89    4160    136.89   3     35   495   220  

 

Career Highlights

  • 4th most runs in T20I by an Englishman, 1176, avg. 37.93
  • 37 T20I Caps for England
  • Player of the tournament for 2010 T20 World Cup
  • 5695 runs at 33.89

Former England Test captain Kevin Pietersen does not want to see Ben Stokes made skipper should Joe Root miss a game against West Indies next month.

England are set to return to action with three behind-closed-doors Tests against the Windies at the Rose Bowl and Old Trafford.

However, current five-day captain Root may be missing for one of those fixtures as his wife, Carrie, is due to give birth, with the batsman conceding he would leave the bio-secure areas in Southampton and Manchester to attend the birth.

Root has not missed a Test since being named captain in 2017 but has backed current vice-captain Stokes to step up should he not be available.

However, Pietersen has advised against having all-rounder Stokes fill the void given his own brief experience of a role he had for only three Tests.

"Do I want to see Ben Stokes change from who he is and the current player he is? Probably not, Jos Buttler would be my guy," Pietersen, who resigned as England captain in 2009, told talkSPORT.

"The entertainers and the guys that have to carry the mantle in the team sometimes aren't the best captains and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.

"As a player you are looked at completely differently until that phone call comes and you are announced as the Test captain.

"Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes.

"I struggled with it, I absolutely hated it and I was rubbish. You have to change and I couldn't command the respect of the dressing room. You say something and it is frowned upon, it is a completely different story."

Prior to their memorable triumph in May 2010, England had endured a difficult relationship with Twenty20 cricket. They were always committed, but it had become complicated.

The England and Wales Cricket Board led the way with the format in the early 2000s, pioneering T20 as a vehicle to help counties attract crowds with a shorter, sharper product aimed at those less inclined to stick around and watch for a whole day.

Yet the head start on other countries failed to help at international level. At the inaugural ICC World T20 event in 2007, England plumped for domestic specialists and recorded just one win on South African soil in five outings.

It was still an unforgettable trip for Stuart Broad, though, as he went the journey during a Yuvraj Singh barrage that resulted in six successive sixes in one over from the seamer.

Two years later and England expected better on home soil. There was an improvement in terms of results, with the team recording two victories. However, one of those was not against the Netherlands, who shocked the hosts and the sporting world on opening night at Lord's.

So, when Paul Collingwood's squad travelled to the 2010 edition in the West Indies, expectations were about as high as the limbo poles found on the decks of the fabulous cruise liners floating around the Caribbean islands.

Still, timing is everything.

It was a key factor for Craig Kieswetter, who less than three months before the tournament made 81 in a hurry as the England Lions upset their senior counterparts in Abu Dhabi.

Born in South Africa, the wicketkeeper-batsman had only just qualified for England, yet served notice of his talents in front of an intrigued head coach in Andy Flower. Michael Lumb, his opening partner that day, also impressed, making an unbeaten half-century.

They would make their international T20 debuts together when England opened their campaign against West Indies in Guyana on May 3, a lively game ruined by rain as the hosts triumphed on the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Bad weather 24 hours later also cut short England’s other outing in the initial group stage, though the timing of the downpours perhaps worked in their favour. In reply to a below-par 120-8, Ireland were 14-1 when the match was abandoned. A point apiece meant England moved on to the Super Eights.

There, they quickly worked up a head of steam. Well, actually a lack of it. Rather than bowling faster, analysis had revealed the benefits of easing up on pace while still banging it in short. With a method to the madness, the slower-ball bouncer barrage came about.

Timing was suddenly made tough for batsmen, who swung around like a blindfolded child attempting to connect with a pinata at a birthday party. What summed up to no more than a long hop got surprisingly successful results; innocuous deliveries somehow picked up wickets, fielders often swallowing up poorly timed shots in the deep.

Still, perhaps the most crucially timed occurrence did not happen anywhere near a cricket pitch in the Caribbean, but back in England instead.

Kevin Pietersen had just made a half-century – his second in as many matches – in the victory over South Africa when it was announced he would be flying back to London for the birth of his first child. His departure left a sizeable void and it was unclear if he would need to return – England had to beat New Zealand without him to progress.

While KP focused on family matters, his team-mates delivered against the Black Caps, allowing the in-form batsman to mark the recent new addition with another pivotal knock, this time in a semi-final thrashing of Sri Lanka.

Pietersen made runs in the final too, as did Kieswetter at the top of the order, though only after England’s seamers had put the squeeze on Australia in the first innings, aided – of course – by a friendly bumper barrage. A target of 148 was straightforward.

England, led by captain Collingwood and with a loyal crew following orders, had sailed away with first major trophy in limited-overs cricket, securing the spoils with a glorious seven-wicket win over their old rivals.

Those painful memories of what happened in 2007 and 2009 were suddenly banished. In 2010, England timed it just right.

Kevin Pietersen was as inspiring to England on the field as he was divisive off it. Tattoos, bleach-blond dyed hair, Pietersen was as different an English batsman as could be imagined and the powers that be were not having it. His career would be cut short by more complex controversies later on, but not before he showed himself to be one of the most brilliant batsmen the English game has ever seen.

Pietersen started in ODI cricket after coming over from South Africa, disenchanted with the racial quota system he felt wasn’t giving him enough opportunities. His performances forced the door to Test cricket wide open, but even then, his selection ahead of Graham Thorpe ahead of the 2005 Ashes was a significant talking point.

Pietersen answered with a stroke-filled 158 at the Oval that returned the Urn to England after some 17 years.

The following year, against Sri Lanka, Pietersen again scored 158 on his way to three consecutive century-making innings, becoming the first Englishman to do so since Graham Gooch in 1990. One of those three innings featured a switch hit, Pietersen turning around to slog-sweep no lesser a bowler than Muttiah Muralitharan over what should have been cover, for six. Reversing your stance was deemed illegal after the match but that was the nature of the man.

Standing at 6 ft, 4 in, he was not easily intimidated by big, strong fastbowlers and he ushered in a change of attitude to batting that has seen England today, one of the more dangerous teams in all forms of cricket, their once, conservative way of playing the game, a thing of the past.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Kevin Peter Pietersen

Born: June 27, 1980, Pietermaritzburg, Natal

Major teams: England, Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Dolphins, Hampshire, ICC World XI, KwaZulu-Natal, Melbourne Stars, Natal, Nottinghamshire, Quetta Gladiators, Rising Pune Supergiants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, St Lucia Zouks, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Surrey

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Height: 6 ft 4 in

 

Test Career:   England (2005-2014)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs   HS     Ave       BF         SR      100s   50s   

104    181     8      8181      227    47.28    13255    61.72      23     35

        

Career Highlights

  • Produced 8181 runs at an average of 47.28
  • Reached 5000 Test runs in record 4 years and 243 days
  • 2nd most runs scored in 1st 25 Tests (2448)
  • Scored 23 centuries and 35 half-centuries

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome says cycling is "in a great place now" but still encounters "negativity" due to past doping offences in the sport.

Lance Armstrong, who won seven straight Tour titles from 1999, was the subject of the biggest doping scandal in cycling's history after allegations throughout his career.

The American was eventually stripped of his honours in October 2012 and admitted to using banned substances the following year.

Other high-profile names were also found guilty in the same era, and Team INEOS star Froome acknowledges the sport has had to work hard to turn its reputation around.

In an interview on Instagram, former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen referred to Armstrong as he asked Froome about a period of widespread doping in cycling.

Froome replied: "We're still having to justify ourselves. It's 15 years on at least, and we're still talking about it. It did a lot of damage.

"That era has damaged the sport to a great extent, but I do really believe that the sport has turned the page.

"I don't think that I could have won the Tour de France four times if it hadn't changed. I think the sport is in a great place now.

"Of course, it's challenging with the negativity and always having to answer the same questions year in, year out to the sceptics who won't believe any performance.

"But at the same time, what can we do? We just get on with it and we know that what we're doing it right. We've got nothing to hide."

Comparing performances between modern-day riders and past dopers, Froome added: "Obviously we know what was happening 15 or so years ago. I'd say that the majority of the field were using something to go faster.

"The sport is 100 times cleaner, yet we're going faster up climbs than they were then. The best way to explain it is that as a sport we've evolved so much in terms of technology and nutrition and ways of training.

"As athletes, we're probably better than they were 15 years ago. Having said that, I don't think that our ability to recover is the way it was back then.

"Using whatever it was to manipulate their blood back then would have meant that they could have done that day in, day out.

"Now we'll have one massive stage and you can visibly see that there's a change in pace for the next two to three days. The whole group needs to go slower."

Former England star Kevin Pietersen has named West Indies six machine Chris Gayle as the greatest Indian Premier League (IPL) batsman of all-time.

Generally speaking, the 40-year-old Windies batting legend has dominated T20 cricket on a whole, scoring more runs (13,296), sixes (978) and 100s (22) than anyone else.  Gayle has, however, reserved a special type of carnage-filled slugfest for the IPL.

 In 125 matches, he has put up a staggering 4484 runs, which is sixth overall but with fewer matches than everyone above him except David Warner.  When it comes to clearing the boundary at the Indian tournament, however, the big left-hander has no equal.  Gayle’s 326 sixes put him 114 clear of second-place AB de Villiers.  With such a prodigious talent to blast the long ball, it’s little wonder the West Indian commands the undying affection of a rabid fanbase.

“Gayle has lifted the IPL for a number of years,” Pietersen told the Uk-based Metro.

“He bats at the top of the order and has brought so much sexiness to the tournament and he has been very smart in the way he has approached his batting,” he added.

“He has seen off some of the good bowlers and against the one he thinks he can hit from Bangalore to Mumbai, he sends them all the way. ‘He creates so much excitement and he has an aura around him when you see him.”

Gayle also currently holds the record for most IPL sixes and the highest individual score in T20 with 175 off 66 balls, which was set at the tournament in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Pietersen says either James Anderson or Stuart Broad should be dropped for the Newlands Test against South Africa, but Jofra Archer is a doubt for England.

England were soundly beaten in the first match of the four-Test series after captain Joe Root won the toss and put the hosts in, South Africa easing to a 107-run victory inside four days.

With Jack Leach among 11 players struck down by illness, England played without a frontline spinner at Centurion but they are expected to rejig their attack for the second Test, which starts on Friday in Cape Town.

Archer took five wickets in South Africa's second innings while Anderson, England's all-time leading wicket-taker, managed only a single scalp in each dig on his return to Test action after injury.

However, Archer could not bowl on Wednesday due to a sore right elbow, though the fast bowler joined in with fielding drills and was fit enough to bat in the nets.

Root's side were rolled for 181 and 268 at Centurion and their former star Pietersen feels either Broad or Anderson should be sacrificed to strengthen a struggling batting line-up.

"England HAVE TO drop either Broad or Anderson for Newlands & play another batter, if they want to win...!" the South Africa-born former batsman wrote on Twitter.

Leach's Somerset team-mate Dom Bess is a spinning option for England, while Lancashire's uncapped leggie Matt Parkinson, 23, is also in the squad.

Reports have suggested England are likely to replace Anderson with Bess, with Ollie Pope also in line to return in the middle order at the expense of Jonny Bairstow after recovering from illness.

Cricket South Africa continued to follow the advice of Kevin Pietersen as they confirmed Jacques Kallis as their new batting consultant on Wednesday.

Kallis is the latest high-profile former South Africa player to take up a fresh role with the Proteas, after his old team-mates Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher were respectively named as acting director of cricket and head coach.

And all three of those appointments, together with Jacques Faul's arrival as interim CEO, were suggested by Pietersen in a tweet on December 6.

Amid huge uncertainty at the time, Pietersen wrote, "I can solve Cricket SA problems", before going on to recommend Faul, Smith, Boucher and Kallis for the positions they have since taken on.

The ex-England batsman, who hails from Pietermaritzburg, also put forward Makhaya Ntini and Robin Peterson for the roles of bowling coach and spin bowling coach.

On the evidence of the last 12 days, Ntini and Peterson may soon be getting calls from CSA.

 

West Indies opener Chris Gayle has quickly shrugged off the disappointment of not being able to land a place in the inaugural 100,and is still continuing to be one of the first names to be called when it comes to any new form of limited overs cricket.

Gayle is one of the names being touted as being part of the Ultimate Kricket Challenge in Dubai in February of 2020.

The event, a five-day extravaganza, will also include the likes of Andre Russell, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh, and Shahid Afridi.

The dates have been tentatively set for February 18 to 23 in a format that includes one-on-one cricket.

The two cricketers facing off against each other will face 30 balls and can be out five times. The matches will be determined by the number of runs scored.

“I can’t wait to have a practice run. It’s a new and exciting format and its growth depends on how we start the first edition,” said Yuvraj.

“This is going to be huge,” said Kevin Pietersen on Twitter, sharing the same sentiment as Gayle.

Gayle has been the main proponent of short-form cricket, dominating the statistics as a T20 batsman, leading compatriots of huge talent.

The Universe Boss, has so far, had the most runs in T20s (13,051), the most centuries (22), the most sixes (960), most man-of-the-match awards, to go along with the highest individual score (175 not out).

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