~~Pietersen needs to hurt opponents more~~

Published: Sunday, March 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Kevin Pietersen is playing in his 10th Test and has time and again proved his match winning abilities but former England captain Mike Gatting is still not sure what to make of the swashbuckling right-hander, who he believes has not done enough justice to his potential.

''After 10 Tests, I am still not sure what to make of Pietersen.

There is no doubt he has outstanding natural ability, but he should be hurting opponents far more than he has done to date,'' Gatting wrote in the Guardian.

Gatting said Pietersen has had luck going for him in the recent past and if the law of averages holds good than the prolific batsman is in for lean patch in the coming times.

''If luck does even itself out, KP has got a horror spell waiting for him somewhere down the line after his adventures in the final Test of the Ashes series, being dropped badly again in Nagpur last week and surviving a clear caught and bowled thanks to a strange decision from the third umpire,'' he said.

The former England captain said Pietersen needs to improve the timing of his shots and stop throwing his wicket at crucial junctures.

''In England's innings on Thursday he was majestic in making 64 then slapped a catch back to the bowler at waist height. How frustrating was that for his team-mates and everyone watching?'' ''It's all very well to say 'that's the way he plays, get used to it', but if he continues in that vein he will never become a really important batsman,'' he cautioned.

Comparing Pietersen's luck to that of Shane Warne, he said the Aussie leg-spinner had luck going for him when he bowled the ''ball of the century'' to him.

''Perhaps Pietersen will continue to chance his arm, though, because Lady Luck appears to favour the big personalities: Flintoff, Botham, even Shane Warne.'' ''No one can tell me that 'Ball of the Century' he bowled me with at Old Trafford didn't contain just an element of good fortune.

Cracking ball, yes, but the first ball of his first spell in an Ashes Test? Come on! That can't simply be a case of the more I practise the luckier I get,'' he said.

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