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“I’m batting as well as I’ve ever batted”
England batsman Kevin Pietersen has dismissed rumours and speculation that he is considering following off-spinner Graeme Swann into retirement after only having scored 165 runs at a dismal average of 27.50 in the ongoing Ashes series.
Pietersen recently surpassed the 8,000 Test run mark and made it clear that he was “as good as gold at the moment”.
Pietersen’s comments come after legendary England captain Geoffrey Boycott called for him to retire from Test cricket and solely focus on his limited overs career in his column for The Telegraph.
“I’m 33 years of age,” Pietersen said. “I’m batting as well as I’ve ever batted. I’ll retire when I can’t get up to play for England. I’m as good as gold at the moment.
“I felt like a clown in Adelaide – when I hit that ball to midwicket off Peter Siddle – I just didn’t feel good at the crease at all. Some days you have them. Every other time I’ve batted on this trip, I’ve felt really, really good. I’ve got myself in every time I’ve batted and a couple of times I’ve got out, and a couple of other times fortune didn’t favour the brave.
“It’s just a case of making sure I keep doing what I do because it’s proved successful. If the situation dictates a certain way that I play, I’ve proved over the last however many years that I’ll play to the situation of the game. I haven’t got 100. Who knows? I might get one on Thursday and we might be sitting here, all nice and happy.
“I have the greatest admiration for Geoffrey Boycott, what he achieved for England, but I think the way Geoffrey played and the way I play are totally different. I said after the first or second Test, that you have good days, you take all the plaudits, you have bad ones, you take all the criticism, and I’ve had a couple of bad days. I’m so cool with it.”
Pietersen was also quick to dismiss suggestions that Swann’s remark about players having their “heads up their own backsides” was aimed at him.
“There’s a lot worse things I’ve been called,” Pietersen revealed. “You should come and field with me on Thursday or Friday and see what I get called on the boundary.
“Yesterday was a family day and I’m not giving any energy to what happened. The only energy I’ve got on this tour left in me is for Melbourne on the 26th, training today, training tomorrow, and Sydney.”
Pietersen also admitted that it “hurt” to lose the Ashes for the first time in five years, but added that the national team have to win the last two Tests in order to salvage some pride.
“We’ve been hurt,” Pietersen said. “We’ve been hurt big time here. Deep down, we are hurting as international sportsmen, as proud sportsmen and sportsmen who have achieved a hell of a lot over the last four or five years.
“I do think this team acknowledges we need to play a lot better this week. We owe it to ourselves and to a lot of people who’ve paid a lot of money to come and watch us.
“We’ve proved we’re world-class players. You don’t play three Test matches and become horrendous cricketers; you don’t turn up on an Australian tour and lose whatever we lost – 5-0 in 2006/07 – and never have a good day in your career again.
“I wake up every single day trying to improve. There’s a bunch of blokes in that dressing room trying to make ourselves better people and better players every single day. The pride is there; the passion is there.
“When you lose, there’s a lot of people taking pot shots at a dressing room. I’ve been in unsuccessful English dressing rooms, all around the world. I’ve also been in really good ones, and the way these guys are taking it now is really well.”