How long could YOU spend in an armchair watching the IPL when switching to Channel 401 brings you into contact with an innings by Kevin Pietersen.
Had Hamlet seen KP bat might it not have changed the Prince’s world view?
What a piece of work is a man, How noble in
Reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving
how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel!
in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the
world, the paragon of animals. and to me, what is
this quintessence of dust? Man delights me; and Woman too…
We require some awareness of failure to appreciate skill and form.
In this mini-series between Sri Lanka and England the skill and form has been provided by Jayawardene; at home on the Silk Route, as it passes Galle and Columbo.
But Kevin Pietersen provides something other than failure and susccess – neither man, angel nor god, nearer superman in the Shavian sense.
Can we find precedence? Do we need precedence? Does exception require contrast or relationship?
His physique sets him apart and into (for now) a small minority (but as sons continue to out grow fathers other will join those ranks). He has the eye of the very good batsman. Strength may substitute for fine balance. Because of his other talents it is difficult to isolate and judge these qualities which are so necessary to others. He may have them, but he does not need them.
His reason is acute. He has somewhere along the line torn up the coaching manuals and rethought batting from first principles. Regarding his career is like looking at a scientist test hypotheses, abandoning some leads and pursuing others to their logical conclusion. His mind is restless, inquisitive, arch, and commercial.
Then, there is his conviction – his extraordinarily developed sense of self-belief – however frail, it has an almost inexhaustible facility to renew itself.
Each of these qualities has allowed him to transform the way cricket can be played – or batting carried out.
Few, so far, have followed him, but they will. He has done the hard and courageous work, exploring the territory that his physicality has made accessible and which he alone has reached.
What is being described is an impact on the game similar to that of William Gilbert Grace. That impact is not yet fully apparent. It is as if we are watching cricket in 1878. A path has been trodden by one man, but a Golden Age is yet to come.
Here is Grace in the colours of his own London County Cricket Club. Watch out for Pietersen starting his T20 franchise. It won’t be long.)
Until then …
If this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to you a sterrill
Promontory; this most excellent Canopy the Ayre,
look you, this braue ore-hanging firmament, this Maiesticall Roofe,
fretted with golden fire: why, it appeares no other thing
to you, then a foule and pestilent congregation of vapours …
… try a little Pietersen.
Context of the innings:
KP arrived at the wicket with the score 213 for 2 and departed 212 minutes later for 151 off 165 balls ( 16 fours, 6 sixes) at 411 for 6. His strike rate was double that of the next quickest scorer in the match. He scored 50 off 59 balls, 100 off 109 and 150 off 162 deliveries.