England in the land of make-believe

Kevin Pietersen is not the only English player struggling to come to terms with India's spin. That said, the team has the ability to solve the problem as long as it admits there is a problem in the first place.

updated: November 21, 2012 21:40 IST
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Kevin Pietersen did not have a lot of fun in the first Test match since his reintegration with the England team. In Ahmedabad, it would be fair to say KP was more reintegrated with his problems with left-arm spin than with his team-mates. Pragyan Ojha tortured Pietersen in the first innings and could have dismissed him in a variety of ways, narrowly missing having him stumped, lbw and caught close-in. Eventually, KP chose to be bowled in both innings, playing a remarkably strange leg-to-off across-the-line poke in the first innings, what has come to be known as the curtain rail shot in England. In the second dig, Pietersen played what could only be described as a premeditated slog-sweep, and Ojha saw the shot coming so early there was no trouble in defeating it.

Pietersen is perhaps the only England player in a swollen squad not to have addressed the media in the three weeks the team has been in the country. When he does, however, asking about his weakness against left-arm spin would be risky, for KP has consistently maintained that he does not have a specific problem with that kind of bowling.

And he’s right, after a fashion. To accuse Pietersen alone of having a problem against left-arm spin is unfair, when the entire team seems to be prolific at giving their wickets away to the breed. In the last five Tests England have played in India, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates, England have lost 43 wickets between them to Ojha, Rangana Herath and Abdur Rahman. If the entire team is hell bent on giving their wickets to left-arm spinners, how is it fair to single out KP?

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