Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has expressed his frustrations about the handling of Joe Denly by the management. Joe Denly’s axing became imminent as he failed to post a substantial score in the first Test of England’s home season at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, making 18 and 29. While an unpopular opinion, Kevin Pietersen has slammed the English think-tank for dropping Denly precisely after he did what he was asked to.
While Joe Denly made his international debut back in 2009, it was after ten years that his first Test cap beckoned. The 34-year old has so far played 15 Tests, scoring 827 runs at 29.53 with six half-centuries. While facing over a hundred deliveries has become the hallmark of his gameplay, the right-handed batsmen have hardly made his chances count.
At number three, Denly has primarily played the role of wearing down the bowlers and taking the shine off the new ball, setting a platform for the batsmen after him. However, Zak Crawley’s success in the second innings of the first Test plus Joe Root’s return from paternity leave made the veteran’s spot untenable ahead of the second Test against the West Indies.
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen conceded England management’s suggestion for Denly to face 100 deliveries as ‘atrocious’. The 104-Test veteran recalled seeing the Kent batsman at the Big Bash League for Sydney Sixers, playing with attacking instinct. Pietersen added that his teammates at the Melbourne Stars could not wrap their heads around at what they were witnessing.
“The way that Joe Denly has been treated over the last two years, being told by senior management to just try and face 100 balls, is atrocious. I saw what Denly did in the Big Bash a couple of seasons ago. He turned up and started whacking everybody all around Australia. The guys at my team, Melbourne Stars, couldn’t believe what they were seeing,” Kevin Pietersen stated as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Joe Denly always looked to attack and get after the bowling: Kevin Pietersen
The 40-year old continued by saying that when playing alongside Denly for England in 2009, he always possessed the attacking gameplay. Kevin Pietersen remarked that he has got every shot in the book, including a luscious cover drive and a powerful hook and pull shot.
“I played with him in the first part of his England career, too. He always looked to attack and get after the bowling. He has every shot. He’s got a wonderful cover drive, he plays the pull shot, he plays the hook shot,” Pietersen stated.
He believes that the veteran must get an opportunity to express himself freely and play his natural game. However, Pietersen was entirely against making Denly face 100 balls and mould his technique and leave him out. The former English captain termed the handling as ‘abysmal’.
“I’d definitely like to see him be given the opportunity to go out and bat freely. If that doesn’t work then he’s not good enough for Test-match cricket. Good night. But you can’t tell him to change his ways, just face 100 balls, and then drop him because he doesn’t do it. It’s truly abysmal,” he added.