Pietersen to keep 'clowning' around
Kevin Pietersen intends to keep playing “like a clown” as he sets his sights on a third Ashes series win in four attempts.
Pietersen’s half-century in the warm-up match against Western Australia was the highlight for England on a challenging second day at the WACA.
The tourists lost four middle-order wickets for 29 runs on the way to 223 for eight declared, before Western Australia moved on to 109 for one at the close - a lead of 128.
Stuart Broad clubbed 53 not out in England’s innings and shared an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 64 with Graeme Swann in only six overs.
But it was Pietersen’s 58 that provided the main talking point and the batsman is increasingly confident he has his mind properly prepared for the challenges ahead.
“I’ve never really been a technical player. I play like a clown,” he said, recalling his trip to South Africa and chats there with coach Graham Ford which he believes have paid rich dividends already.
“It’s just my mental approach that I needed to change, just get a load of confidence back, and I’m on fire at the moment.
“I’m looking forward now; I’m not interested in what’s gone. I’m very happy with what’s happening at the moment.”
The first test of Pietersen’s returning confidence came today.
“I really enjoyed it. I’ve been working hard over the last six weeks,” he added.
“I came back from South Africa for a couple of weeks, and I feel top-drawer again.
“I hope there’s plenty more to come this winter.
“I love playing in Australia. I had some really good success here personally last time.”
Pietersen does not prize rehearsal runs especially highly - but will take them.
“That’s probably the second-highest score I’ve ever got in a warm-up game before a Test,” he said.
“I’m not too fazed. If the runs come in a warm-up game, okay; if they don’t, it only counts at the Gabba.
“I don’t think we’re pleased with the way we got out. But there are a lot of positives from today - a couple of the batters did spend at least an hour out there.
“Yesterday was fantastic, the way we started the tour. Today, there were a few hiccups - but quite a few positives as well.”
Pietersen knows a much bigger stage is beckoning, and is determined to keep raising his game.
He has always done so against Australia, and can even point to personal success when England last toured down under - and suffered a 5-0 defeat.
“I got 500 runs at 55 last time,” he said.
“But I’d take 350 and an Ashes victory, that’s for sure.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate to play three Ashes, and won two of them.
“I’d love to go three-four. We’ve got a very, very good unit at the moment - very happy in all our roles in the team.”
Australia are shaping up as less than formidable opponents at present, on a record-equalling run of seven successive defeats across the formats.
But Pietersen insists he has more important things to occupy his mind than Australia’s troubles - most recently in a one-day international series at home to Sri Lanka.
“I haven’t watched a single ball,” he said. “My computer is turned on to Skype, and I speak to my wife and my baby as much as I can.
“I haven’t even turned my television on in Australia; I haven’t read a headline, nothing.
“Somebody told me this morning that they lost, but that’s got nothing to do with us.
“We’re concentrating on our game; we’re playing Western Australia.
“You guys talk about them; you guys concentrate on them; we’ll concentrate on what we do.”