We’ve known it for a while; we’ve also seen it unfold time and again on our television but the sight of Kevin Pietersen struggling against the left-arm spinners never fails to baffle our senses.
How does one of the best batsmen in the world struggle against what seems to an innocuous army of ‘pie-chuckers’? At his best, Pietersen is a sight fit for the cricketing gods. He can play every shot in the book, he can change the course of the match and he can make it all look easy.
But in the first Test against India, the look thing that looked easy was the manner in which India got him. In the first innings, he played all around the ball and got bowled. The second dismissal was even stranger, after the good start given by Nick Compton and Alastair Cook – Pietersen decided he wanted to hit his way out of trouble.
He tried to sweep but once again missed it completely. It was almost embarrassing.
On twitter, Pietersen gave vent to his frustration: HATE losing! HATE not contributing to the team in a game! 3 to go! Cook, Swann, @MattPrior13 outstanding! Chat soon guys…
But he might find some solace in the fact that left-arm spinners have troubled a lot of great batsmen over of the years and prime among them are India’s Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.
“Even though Pietersen’s approach was vagabond way of playing Test cricket, left-arm spin has troubled some of the best talents in the world. Derek Underwood would always bother Sunil Gavaskar. I think it’s do with the line along with pitching around middle and leg and turning it away. With this, you hit the blind spot more often and put batsmen who are very straight (like Pietersen) in some problems. You then try and play by instinct and that leads to mistakes.
Sports Editor Ashish Magotra and Ayaz Memon spoke at length about Pietersen’s woes and how it also seems to stem from a mental block with spin. Check out the video for the full conversation.