We need to talk about Kevin, again!

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iol spt aug16 K.P2 REUTERS England's Kevin Pietersen and THOSE text messages have dominated the headlines for the last week and a bit.

Several people wanted to talk about Kevin on Wednesday… again.

Kevin’s apology. Kevin allegedly calling his captain names. Kevin’s texting, Kevin’s hair, Kevin’s mood, Kevin’s dinner plans, Kevin’s house he wants to buy in Cape Town, Kevin’s press conference, Kevin’s future… Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.

Last week I wondered if Pietersen secretly regretted giving up on South Africa and taking his skills and all that other baggage to England. Watching the mighty Hashim Amla make 300, Jacques Kallis being Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn being all fire and brimstone and even one-time enemy Graeme Smith all grown up and comfortable in his own skin, Pietersen must be wishing he could be in the other dressing room.

South Africa, having witnessed the circus that has sprung up around Pietersen these last few days, are probably more than happy to be rid of him.

I was fortunate enough to attend a benefit dinner for the former Boland player and long time Warwickshire professional Neil Carter this week. These being challenging economic times, benefits for cricketers can be difficult to put together. Kallis and Steyn kindly gave of their time to assist Carter, interacting with an intimate audience and providing tales – not about texting – of their travails on the international cricket treadmill.

They were charming, entertaining and signed loads and loads of autographs. The freedom with which they talked made me think later that there was no way, as an England cricketer, that Pietersen could do this. He is, as he said in that bizarre staged interview released on YouTube at the weekend, someone who “shoots from the hip”. Well, he shot and he’s been fired.

It will be extremely tough for him to mend fences in that England dressing room. In fact, Andrew Strauss said many of them were relieved the distraction was ended by the England selectors.

The circus around Pietersen visited Lord’s on Wednesday. In their respective press conferences – Smith’s lasted 12 minutes and Strauss’s 13 – Pietersen was the subject for a combined 14 minutes.

“I don’t know anything or have information that can make your stories better or more interesting,” Smith sighed eventually, having answered a stream of questions about Pietersen.

Even Strauss had to bring it to an end – “I’ve tried to answer as many questions as I can about Kevin, this Test match is very important to us.”

Smith won’t have to worry after this Test – for Strauss the questions about Kevin will continue for a while yet. – The Star



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