After England’s poor performance earlier this month in the two-match Test series against Pakistan at home, which ended with the hosts sharing the trophy with the visitors, former batsman Kevin Pietersen slammed the cricketing board for losing focus on the longest format. Speaking to reporters, the 37-year old said that England’s dip in form in Test cricket will alienate fans of the format. “I don’t know which direction they want to go in. We won a T20 World Cup, we won the Ashes home and away, we beat India in India a few years ago,” the cricketer was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
The batsman said that with the upcoming World Cup in 2019 in England, the side led by Joe Root has gone on to focus on the limited overs cricket at the expense of the Test format. “England haven’t won a 50-over World Cup, I know that was the message a few years ago to do that and you can see they are driving towards that World Cup in England next summer, at the detriment of Test cricket. And I think it’s sad and frustrating for us as players who have played over 100 Test matches,” he said.
England are currently the top-ranked ICC ODI Team in the world. But Pietersen, who has played 104 Tests for the country, believes that the public are more interested in the Test cricket. “The public care a lot more about Test match cricket than they do about the shorter form of the game. The big series will continue to exist, the Ashes will be fine, India v Pakistan, Australia against South Africa,” he said.
The Three Lions are set to clash against Scotland for an ODI on Sunday, following which they will compete against Australia in the five-match ODI series. Talking about the ODI series, Pietersen said that the visitors need to win to forget about the aftermath of the ball-tampering controversy that led to the suspension of captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
“They have just got to win, when you win the media go with you, when they lose they hammer you. Australia are always the pantomime villain, no doubt the English are going to go after them, but that’s the nature of the beast, they always go after us when we go there,” he said.
England 1-1 series draw at home against Pakistan came a few months after they suffered a 1-0 Test series defeat in New Zealand and a 4-0 defeat in Ashes in Australia.