Pietersen plotting world domination
Kevin Pietersen wants to be part of an England team which dominates world cricket just as the great Australia and West Indies dynasties of the past once did.
Pietersen knows from first-hand experience what it feels like to be thoroughly and ruthlessly outplayed, having endured a whitewash in the 2006/07 Ashes - after England had travelled Down Under with such hope they could follow up their 2005 victory at home to Australia.
But five years on, after England went top of the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings for the first time in their history on Saturday, he senses it is their turn to bury all opposition.
“When the great Australian and West Indian teams played for years and years they killed opposition,” said England’s mercurial number four batsman.
“I played against that Australian team in 2006 in Australia; I promise you now, every day’s play of those Test matches you weren’t looking forward to it - because you knew you were going to get dealt with. That’s what I hope we can do to opposition, but it’s going to be tough.”
Pietersen wants to start by completing England’s own whitewash, of India - the team they have just deposed at the top of those world rankings - in the fourth and final Test of this summer’s npower series at the Kia Oval.
“That is a target - a huge target - because I played against Australia when we did get hammered, and it’s a horrible to place to be. If we can inflict a similar defeat on India it would be amazing for us.”
He has no doubt England have all the talent and motivation required to stay ahead of the rest, by continuing to focus on collective rather than individual success.
“The team department is absolutely amazing, and all we need to do is continue that and not let it get affected by anything that happens or any success that is achieved.
“I think we’ve proved that by winning in Australia (last winter) and then coming back to England and beating India in England.
“We’ve obviously got a lot of hard work we’ve still got to put in, and the good thing about this team is we’ll put that in.
“We’ve got a real good structure in place and great people in place as well; the management and players - there’s a lot of mature players.
“You look at the number of games people have played, you look at the number of hundreds we’ve scored, look at the wickets the boys have started to take.
“We actually look like one of the senior teams in world cricket right now - whereas two, three, four, five years ago there were a couple of players who were experienced but we had a lot of inexperience too. So I think we’ve got all departments covered.
“You look at that engine room - (from) Matty Prior down to number 10, those guys there can score 150 runs and take the game away from you - we’ve seen it a couple of times already in this series.
“If we get ourselves into a bit of a hole at 120 for five or 80 for five we can still get 250 to 300 - and then back our bowlers to do the business.”
Pietersen appears to take even more pleasure from England’s current success than he did in his debut year and the heady days of that 2005 Ashes victory.
“I love it, I love playing in this team,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to have a good start to my career and score plenty of runs and get a lot of personal accolades.
“But when you stand on a podium and lift a World Cup [ICC World Twenty20 last year] there’s no better feeling.
“It’s a team game. We got that feeling in the Ashes and we’re going to have that at the Oval, and those are the kind of feelings I want for the rest of my career.”
There is a fine line between confidence and complacency, and Pietersen is convinced England are striking the perfect balance.
“I think you’ve got a lot of experience and you’ve got guys who - it’s wrong to say are certain of their places - but have done enough in this team to be sure of their own games,” he said.
“They warrant being selected through a bad run of form, to keep getting the backing of selectors because they have done so well over the last however many years.
“When you have that confidence behind you as a player, you’re not so worried about your place; you’re really, really worried about doing your job well - and also if someone else does well, there’s no jealousy.”