Pietersen’s inability to handle left-arm spin, not giant ego his Achilles heel

Friday, November 19, 2010

MELBOURNE - England batsman Kevin Pietersen’s inability to handle left-arm spin bowling with confidence has strengthened Xavier Doherty’s chances of playing in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

Australia A’s left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe troubled Pietersen in a tour match at the Bellerive Oval, reminding the talented batsman of his one real weakness.

Critics say that Pietersen’s giant ego is his Achilles heel, but statistics prove that it’s the left-arm spinners of the world that have troubled Pietersen the most.

Left-arm orthodox spin bowlers have dismissed Pietersen 17 times in his 66-Test career. They have also taken his wicket in 15 one-day internationals and six times in 28 Twenty20 matches for England.

England supporters are aware Pietersen’s weakness, which came into focus in March this year when the left-arm orthodox spinning duo of Abdul Razzaq and Shakib Al Hasan continuously had Pietersen unstuck during England’s tour of Bangladesh.

Pietersen was dismissed six times in five international matches on tour, with Razzaq and Al Hasan responsible for all six of them.

Pietersen’s vulnerability to left-arm spin in Bangladesh wasn’t isolated to the international arena, with part-timer Mehrab Hossain Jnr dismissing him in a tour match for just two runs.

Yuvraj, who has a Test bowling average of 53.87, has dismissed Pietersen five times at the international level and was one of the first bowlers to highlight Pietersen’s weakness against left-arm spin.

After dismissing him thrice in a one-day series in 2006, Yuvraj twice repeated the dose early in England’s tour of India two years later.

Such was Yuvraj’s dominance of England’s No.1 batsman that he would be thrown the ball everytime Pietersen walked in to bat. (ANI)

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