Kevin Pietersen to play for South Africa?

Kevin Pieterson symbolized everything radical when he stepped into international cricket. His bright blue hair colour, his candid revenge against South Africa for turning its back on him and his intimidating style of batting – they all announced to the world that a new character has arrived in international cricket. England benefited from KP greatly and welcomed him with arms wide open. He served English cricket loyally and was a major part of their revival with Andrew Flintoff being the other partner in crime when they brought the mighty Aussies down in the Ashes. He grew in stature in the English ranks and even became captain as a reward for his loyal service to his adopted home.

But then started the friction which made him lock horns with the management and leadership of English cricket. He was not too gentlemanly to fit English cricket. He broke up with them. That period of separation proved to both parties that they are incomplete without each other. England needed a pillar in their middle order which became suddenly too fragile with Pieterson’s omission. Pieterson needed a stage to display his aggression and flair. On agreement that he will limit his aggression strictly to the batting crease and not to the board rooms, a patch-up arrangement took shape and he played for England again.

But this relationship was never meant to go the distance. England was always uncomfortable with the attention Pieterson demanded and Pieterson would not make peace with the administration. They split up again, this time for the good. But Pieterson got an alternative stage to display his wares. He played T20 cricket for franchise and became a mercenary. His recent exploits in the Big Bash prove that he still has a lot of steam in his engine and a lot of muscle in his shots. He has also entered the IPL again with a new franchise and a new setup now. He was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils in his earlier stints at the IPL.

Quite interestingly, a new possibility has emerged to renew his international cricketer as he becomes eligible for selection to the South African cricket team in a year from now. This is a possibility filled with a lot of curious expectations for both parties and the cricketing world. Nobody can forget how he made public his sentiments about South African cricket for ignoring him in his early days as a cricketer. If he has to be accepted by South African fans, he sure has to go beyond the cricket field and make peace with them.

South Africa, on the other hand, are not desperate to have him in their middle order but his credentials are too good to ignore. Imagine a batting order with Amla, ABD, Faf and KP, with Duminy and Miller to complete the top six. South Africa may consider him to bolster their team to win that World Cup in 2019 which has eluded them so closely ever since they first played for it. As the next World Cup is to be held in England itself, should this happen, it will give Pieterson a chance for a poetic revenge.

South Africa is no stranger to have players who have played for two international teams. Their former captain Kepler Wessels had a stint with Australia due to the apartheid ban but since then such a situation has not arised.

If KP is to fit into the South African team, it will most likely put the pressures of wicket keeping back on ABD, which he is openly not very comfortable with. Quinton de Kock is the most likely player to lose out to KP in that batting order. If de Kock has to play, Miller has to go because Amla, ABD and du Plessis are irreplaceable in South African cricket now whereas Duminy is their only claim to be an allrounder to attain the balance in the team. But Miller is considered one of the most promising youngsters in the team now and the management may not let him go for an ageing warrior.

If South Africa finds and answer to fit KP into their team and a heart to accept him as one of their own, the mercenary might as well find a loyal base to mount revenge. If that happens, Pieterson will go down in history as the only man to take revenge for both sides in battle. Interesting!

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