Got to hand it to Andy Flower. He’s managed something that eluded me: smoothing down the rough edges of unpredictability and flair that made KP such an awkward fit into Team England.
Lord knows I tried with that boy. I’ve lost count of the hours we spent in the nets. Me patiently explaining that, yes, it looks great when you move across your stumps and whip balls in line with off to the mid-wicket boundary, but you use a faction of that effort and risk if you dab them into the covers for a quick single.
But it was always in one ear then out the other with Kevin. You could guarantee next match he’d be back to celebrating a century by hitting the ball down deep mid-wicket’s throat. And then he wonders why no one thinks he’s English. When’s an English batsman ever been that interesting?
But now look at him. He made a double century today and most of the spectators wandering back to St John’s Wood tube would struggle to remember more than two or three shots during his entire innings. It takes a true English test match batsman to be that anonymous.
I’m going to put all lot of the credit for that down to the masterstroke of bringing Jonathan Trott into the side. That guy’s a great role model of how to integrate into the England team. No risk batting. No risk haircut. No risk interview quotes. He even took a swing at a Pakistani bowler to show he’d got that traditional English meat’n’two veg undercurrent of psychotic aggression.
Selecting him was like throwing down a gauntlet. There you go KP, look at that test average; this is the batsman you could be if you drained away all that pointless individuality.
Well today he did exactly that. Today we took a long lick of his batting and all we tasted was vanilla.
Plain, old fashioned, English vanilla.
[Side Note: Request highlights package of KP innings to show Sehwag when he arrives. Would SKY edit out boundaries if I ask nicely? Perhaps get MS to do that.]