Former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen expressed his approval of the new direction in red-ball cricket that England national team adopts now. He views that the current approach would suit his playing style.
“I love the way the team are playing now,” Pietersen said. “It’s exciting, it’s positive and I think you’ll see it bring the best out of the players. If I been given the trust the players in this team have been given under the new management, I would have felt free to play as I knew I did at my best. I’d have loved to play under them, I really would.”
Pietersen even received a question about the possibility of joining the coaching staff for the team. Despite his rocky past with this national team, Pietersen said he would be “very happy to contribute in any way I can.”
Pietersen’s approval in England’s new direction may be good for the team as Pietersen himself was a valuable player to the England cricket team. He had a fallout with the national team after the 2013-2014 Ashes and ended his contract with them. He then continued to play with the franchise before retiring in 2018.
Pietersen made his Test debut in 2005. By the end of his Test career in 2014, he had collected 8,181 runs with an average of 47.3. His strike rate was also a healthy 61.7.
England new red-ball era
Under the new management, England has split its national team into red-ball and white-ball sections. The last time they implemented this system was eight years ago.
Ben Stokes is the captain for the red-ball group replacing Joe Root, while Brendon McCullum takes the position as its head coach. Fans dub this leadership combination “Bazball”. Meanwhile, the white-ball team is led by Jos Buttler and Matthew Mott as captain and head coach, respectively.
England’s red-ball team has delivered some wins in the past months. In early June, the team faced New Zealand in 3 Test series and won in a clean sweep. England led by 5 wickets on Day 1, by five wickets again on Day 2, and by seven wickets on the last day.
In the last Test against the rank 2 team, India, England managed to end the series with a 2-1. The team lost the first two matches in the fifth Test but could retaliate by winning on Day 3. On that last day, England defeated India by 17 runs.
England had seen a slump in the Test category for some time. Before New Zealand, they barely recorded a win. McCullum then decided to handle the team with an “unorthodox” approach and spark confidence and belief among the players. His approach leads to the team showing more aggression in the recent matches.
Stokes also contributed to the team by motivating his teammates. His leadership motivated other players, particularly Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. The two cricketers seem to come out of a rut after the change of leadership.
England now places 4th in ICC Test Ranking, rising one rank in the list. The Test team will face South Africa for another Test in August. The public’s expectation surrounding this new formation is high for the upcoming matches.