Subhash Rajta, Nov. 9 -- Three Englishmen jumped to their feet, fervently celebrating a swashbuckling hundred by Kevin Pietersen.
This passionate celebration looked a little odd because, just a while back, they didn't sound great admirers of Pietersen. "Well, KP is someone England desperately need, not someone we really want," they said, trying to explain the paradox in their thoughts and action.
The three of them, who have travelled to India to catch cricketing action, brought forth what, according to them, an ordinary England fan back home feels about Pietersen, especially in the wake of the recent controversy.
"You could see it this way. (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi are the best footballers in the world, but Messi is liked more because he's a team man, never arrogant or selfish. You could call Pietersen cricket's Ronaldo," said Tony Ballaid, from Worcestershire, with the others nodding in agreement.
The trio, however, was in as much agreement that the South African-born batsman was a genius, though a flawed one. "That's how all of them come, a little screwed in their heads.but genius nonetheless," said Jonathan Fryer, 64, from Kent.
They thought it was his amazing ability with the bat more than anything else that brought him back after his "latest and almost unpardonable indiscretion".
"It is impossible for anyone without KP's abilities to get back into the side after he did what he did. England needed him back in the side; he's the only batsman who could scare bowlers and change the game in a session," said Antony Cuttiford, the third member.
Unlike England players, who took pains during a media session two days back to paint the all-is-well-within-the-team picture, the avid fans felt the reconciliation was still a work in progress.
"There's still some rift between him and Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad. It will take some time for them to have a normal relationship," they said.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.