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Sight Screen

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Pietersen effect

Even the Aussie press is beginning to view England's latest wunderkind as something more than a pretty face with freaky hair.
Yesterday was the first I got to watch him bat; something about his bottom-handed style of play got me curious. Check these wagonwheels out:
1. 91 not out off 65 versus Australia at Bristol June 19. 63 of his runs on the on side, 44 of those in the midwicket arc
2. 116 off 110 versus South Africa at Centurion February 13. 84 off those 116 runs on the on side -- 37 through midwicket, 40 through mid on.
3. 108 off 96 versus South Africa at Bloemfontein, February 2. 62 runs on the on, 42 of those in the midwicket arc.
Does it give you the sense, as it does me, of a predominantly bottom-handed player whose comfort zone is on the front foot to deliveries pitched up and on line of the stumps, swinging the bat through the arc onto the on side? Of the Aussie bowlers who bowled at him yesterday, only McGrath and Brad Hogg kept the ball outside off, and a tad short of driving length -- it could be coincidence that these were the two bowlers he didn't really get hold of.
Then again, it could also be that the Aus think tank didn't take him as seriously as it should have, didn't do the due diligence. For me, a major point of interest in the next match-up between these two sides is the line the Aussies bowl to him, and how Pietersen copes.

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