Langer wishes Kevin Pietersen was an Aussie

Updated on May 30, 2007 09:11 AM IST
Justin Langer has said Australia "would love" to have England's Kevin Pietersen in their side after the batsman enhanced his growing reputation with his maiden Test double hundred.
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AFP | By, London

Justin Langer has said Australia "would love" to have England's Kevin Pietersen in their side.

The South Africa-born batsman enhanced his growing reputation with 226, his maiden Test double hundred, in England's crushing innings victory against the West Indies at Headingley.

Only Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, widely regarded as the greatest Test batsman of all-time, has scored more runs in his first 25 Tests than the 26-year-old Pietersen's 2,448.

Former Australia opening batsman Langer was on the opposite side when Pietersen scored the first of his eight Test hundreds - 158 at The Oval - to wrap up a draw that secured England's 2005 Ashes series win.

And Langer, who retired from Test cricket after Australia's 5-0 Ashes series win earlier this year, was on hand to see Pietersen again score 158 in the Adelaide Test of that campaign.

"From an Australian's point of view the greatest compliment we can give an opposition player is that we don't really like him much," Langer, now captain of English county Somerset, wrote in his BBC column.

"And the reason we don't really like Kevin Pietersen is that he displays traits which rub us up the wrong way. He struts a little, he is aggressive in everything he does, he takes on any bowler and he stares you in the eyes with the confidence of a prize fighter.

"We would love to have him in our team, because we love the way he goes about his business. He is an outstanding player in that he backs his ability to the hilt and he makes the game go forward every time he is in the middle."

Pietersen's case for an England Test place was championed by another Australian in Shane Warne, his captain at Hampshire, and Langer, who in 105 Tests scored 7,696 runs at an average of 45.27, said Pietersen deserved all the accolades coming his way.

"I am pleased to see him enjoying his success because not only is he entertaining to watch but I have always found him to be a very respectful young man, who has an enormous thirst for knowledge of how he can become the best player in the world.

"As confident as he is on the field he is a very likeable person off it and while he makes an Australian's hair bristle when you compete against him, he is the sort of player we like to see doing well."

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