The last time England played a one-day series in India and lost all matches, Kevin Pietersen had scored an unbeaten century. That was in November 2008 in Cuttack, the night of the Mumbai terror attacks that curtailed a seven-match series to five.
The last time India played England at home in Bangalore, in the tied World Cup match, he was in an experimental role as opener before he went home midway into the tournament for a hernia operation. And when England played India at home last month and won everything, Pietersen was ‘rested’ for the limited overs series.
The explosive batsman has had a forgettable run in the 50-over format in the past couple of years but he feels fresh from the break.
Pietersen has mixed feelings about being rested for India’s series in England, similar to how medium-pacer James Anderson felt after he was rested for this five one-day and one T20-match series that begins here on October 14.
“It wasn’t my decision. I was offered the opportunity to have a break, I accepted. Rest hadn’t got much to do with it. Andy (Flower) and the authorities came and asked me if I wanted a break and I said ‘yes, please’,” Pietersen said, a day before England’ first of two warm-up matches against a Hyderabad XI at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here.
“The hard part about the decision then was my form. I was not playing the 50-over too well and accepting rest then was difficult. I know exactly what's wrong with my one-day form but I am not going to tell you,” he said.
“It’s not about the match days. Playing for England is amazing. It’s about some of the training days. They are just so monotonous sometimes that you don’t want to drag yourself out of bed. Then there is the travel. I train very, very hard but it can get very tiring at times,” said Pietersen, who in the last two years has averaged just 22.86 from 32 matches in ODIs.
But against India in India, Pietersen averages 52.18 in 12 matches. In the absence of Eoin Morgan, who has taken over the mantle of England’s key one-day batsman from Pietersen, his success in these conditions and his experience could make it a comeback to remember.