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KP beats the virus, to play at the Oval

Pietersen was the rock star as the cameras were trained on him throughout the day on Wednesday, reports Rohit Mahajan.

cricket Updated: Aug 09, 2007 03:48 IST
Rohit Mahajan

Kevin Pietersen was the rock star as the cameras were trained on him throughout the day on Wednesday, capturing his every action, every flicker on his rather impassive face, seemed to suggest that very strongly.

There was not much to capture, actually the England superstar, the man who gave India a real scare at Lord’s before rain saved them, did not do much on the day after he missed practice due to a virus.

But he did bat in the nets in his usual robust manner, actually, which suggested that the threat is not over for the Indians.

“It was just a virus, picked up on the golf course!” Michael Vaughan said later, demystifying the episode over which Andrew Strauss had only managed to throw a veil with coy revelations a day before.

There was nothing coy about Pietersen on Wednesday, though he had a slow start to his day. Even as his mates warmed up in the morning, rugby style, throwing the ball around and shouting and whooping, Pietersen stood aloof, his blue jacket still on.

He went to have a bit of catching practice before heading into the nets. Even as the team began with catching practice, Pietersen got a bowling machine dragged to the nets and began his session. He started in a sedate manner, patting the ball back defensively, before warming up to the task at hand. Soon the stands were being showered with balls as Pietersen stepped out time and again and swung his bat like a mighty mace.

He batted for exactly 28 minutes, after which he disappeared the morning had begun sunny and warm, but the clouds were never far away, and Pietersen kept his light jacket on throughout.

The clouds finally obscured the sun completely in the afternoon, and it became a little cold, and that made Pietersen vanish. In the press box, they commended the man on his bravery, that so soon after his “debilitating illness”, he was back on the ground. Vaughan, though, did not exercise sarcasm.

“The doctor said that he only needs to get his tablets down and he’d be okay,” the captain said.

If not perfectly okay, then Pietersen was considerably okay on Wednesday and Vaughan called it a “huge relief for the team”. And a cause for mirth for the reporters, a cynosure of the eyes for the photographers. Health or illness, Kev does remain a rock star.