Cow Corner

Should Kevin Pietersen be considered an England great?

Cow Corner

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He is the man many England supporters love to hate, the man known to opposing sides as 'The Ego', the man who has caused countless controversies with the ECB and his team-mates.

He has been hailed a "genius", as "the best batsman of his generation" and as a "ludicrously talented performer", but that will never be enough for his critics, who say that he is "selfish", "arrogant" and "self-obsessed".

Despite his unpopularity in some quarters, Kevin Pietersen is a brilliant cricketer. A batsman of prodigious talent and confidence to back up his supreme ability.

He has the career statistics to back up his opinion of himself, and a record that justifies his own hype.

On day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street, Pietersen became England's fifth-highest Test runscorer of all time. He finds himself in illustrious company.

Player Career Mat Inn NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 0
GA Gooch 1975-1995 118 215 6 8900 333 42.58 20 46 13
AJ Stewart 1990-2003 133 235 21 8463 190 39.54 15 45 14
DI Gower 1978-1992 117 204 18 8231 215 44.25 18 39 7
G Boycott 1964-1982 108 193 23 8114 246* 47.72 22 42 10
KP Pietersen 2005-2013 98* 168 8 7731 227 48.31 23 31 10
MA Atherton 1989-2001 115 212 7 7728 185* 37.69 16 46 20

Pietersen needed 24 runs to overtake another former skipper, Michael Atherton (7,728), and he did so with 26 before he was caught behind off the spin bowler he had dominated, Nathan Lyon.

With 7,731 runs from 168 innings midway through his 98th Test, Pietersen has made quite an impact for his country since debuting during the 2005 Ashes series at Lord's.

A highest score of 227 runs and an average of 48.45 with a strike rate of 62.35 do not, perhaps, do justice to some of the majestic innings that he has produced over the years, with 23 centuries to his name.

In Cow Corner's opinion, Pietersen thoroughly deserves to have the status of an all-time England great - not only for the statistics by which people judge careers, but for the flamboyance and charisma which make him unique.

Equally, it is one thing to score meaningless runs and to be a 'flat-track bully', but Pietersen has a wonderful knack of delivering when England really need him to, with no occasion demonstrating that better than his series-winning century against Australia at The Oval back in 2005.

The 33-year-old now has just Geoffrey Boycott, David Gower, Alec Stewart and Graham Gooch above him, all with inferior averages and from significantly more matches.

Regardless of whether he is to everyone's taste or not, Pietersen should be celebrated as he approaches his 100th Test match and continues to break records in an England shirt.

Do you agree that Pietersen should be regarded as an England great, or do you think he does not deliver enough to justify the hype? Post your comments below...

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