Monday, May 20, 2024

Ashes 2023: Walked up to McCullum and said please explain this to me, says Pietersen on England’s declaration

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has questioned the tactics of the hosts’ in declaring their first innings at 393/8 in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, saying he walked up to head coach Brendon McCullum and demanded an explanation from him behind that surprise tactic.

In the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston, England made a bold decision to declare their first innings at 393/8. The decision baffled many experts, despite a few overs remaining on day one’s play, their premier batter Joe Root unbeaten on 118, and the hosts’ still having two wickets in hand.

“We are at a time where Test cricket needs something to turn itself around because there is so much competition. But I am answering this slowly because I am still not 100 per cent sure No, I would never have declared. Because against Australia, first day of the Ashes, 393, thinking you’ve got enough on a flat wicket…”

“I love the positivity. But it’s just this series, in particular, that I still need to get my head around. I actually walked up to McCullum on the Saturday and said, ‘Please explain this to me because I don’t understand it’. I have done that my whole career. I gave you a spray in Australia in 2006. I was like, ‘Dude what are you saying and why are you saying this?’,” said Pietersen was quoted as saying by Daily Mail, in conversation with Nasser Hussain.

Pietersen added that he is yet to come to terms with the declaration made by England, who eventually lost Edgbaston Test by two wickets. “I am still a bit dumbfounded by it. And I know, deep down, you’re also dumfounded by it. As much as you might look at me with a smile on your face and say, ‘Oh, it’s the best thing that’s happened’, you know. 393 against the Aussies on day one of an Ashes Test match, you know.”

Pietersen, who hit 23 centuries while amassing 8181 runs in 104 Tests, isn’t of the opinion that England’s move to declare their innings in a surprise move was a reflection of his flamboyant batting style, though he added that the ultra-attacking style of the current team is capturing the imagination of fans.

“There was almost method in my madness. The way that I played, I wasn’t looking to throw the game away. I was looking to get the score going. I was looking to win. I’m just not 100% convinced yet in how extremely positive this approach actually is.”

“I was a real positive player and maybe I was reckless on a couple of occasions. But the enjoyment factor from the fans’ perspective is something that I acknowledged and I think this team is acknowledging,” he concluded.

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