Cricketers in India usually grow up dreaming of playing at Lord’s one day. And a few Indian cricketers may indeed made their Lord’s appearance something to cherish. However, Kevin Pietersen had a unique dream that he was happy to accomplish even if the stadium has undergone a revamp and that there were not too many fans to soak the experience with.
Kevin Pietersen has faced his share of troubles, on and off the cricket field. However, he says he aspired to play on one hallowed ground – the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the historic venue when South Africa returned from isolation following the period of apartheid. Perhaps that had something to do with why Pietersen was desperate to play at Eden Gardens despite a broken finger. After all, Pietersen defected to play for England after claiming that the quota system in the South African cricket administration was affecting the selection.
Irrespective of the origin of his passion to play at Eden Gardens, KP almost missed his chance after he fractured his finger during the fourth ODI between India and England at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Pietersen, as it turned out, played the Twenty20 match and top scored with a match winning half century that gave England their lone win on the mini tour of India. Before the revamp, the Eden Gardens was supposed to be an experience of playing on a beautiful turf in front of a 100,000 strong fans.
England missed the opportunity to play at the Eden Gardens after the stadium ran into trouble with the ICC over renovation deadline which meant that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 match between India and England was shifted to Bengaluru to the disappointment of Eden Gardens fans.
It should be noted that the last time Pietersen toured India, he was the England captain but lost his job shortly thereafter. But this time would not be a case of missed chances.Pietersen has faced a tough time since, and perhaps it would be also not wrong to assume that his playing here was fortuitous in more ways than one. Pietersen claims he had to beg the England coach, Andy Flower, before getting the opportunity to play despite the sore finger.
That Kevin Pietersen not only relieved his childhood dream of playing at Eden Gardens but also, made it a memorable outing for England would have been icing on the cake.