COLOMBO – He is not in the team hotel, neither is he seen anywhere in the vicinity of the England cricket team, yet a certain 6ft 5 in tall man responding to the name of Kevin Pietersen seems to be omnipresent.
Such has been his impact over the years, that from commentators, to British media and the players, no one has been able to get away from the proverbial ‘KP’ effect.
When England captain Stuart Broad came for a customary media interaction at the Nondescripts Cricket Ground ahead of his team’s match against Afghanistan, the third question invariably was what the dressing room feels like without Pietersen’s presence.
Broad didn’t seem to like the question but had to answer it.
“Well, obviously KP has been around for a long time but at the moment, he is not here. So we have to get along with what we have. We have 15 boys who are representing England and are keen to wear the England jersey. They want to star in a World Cup match,” was Broad’s curt response.
Young left-arm spinner Danny Briggs wasn’t allowed to let go without answering a question on the superstar who was discarded after sending out “provocative” text messages to South African players criticising his teammates.
“Have you guys followed his debut as TV expert,” quizzed one of the English scribes. A reluctant Briggs had no option but to answer the query.
“I mean a few boys were watching his post match show on Television,” was all that Briggs managed to say.
If that wasn’t enough, Ian Bell and Samit Patel went for a drink at a pub. As soon as they settled down with a pint of beer, the giant screen at the pub showed ‘KP’ dissecting alongside former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
Bell and Patel decided to sit on a couch which ensured that they didn’t have to watch the giant screen and indulged in their drinks leisurely.
But why only the current players, even former players are curious to know about what the South Africa-born batsman is speaking on air.
Before the start of India’s match against Afghanistan, former England skipper Nasser Hussain came down at the lunch arena where the TV was on and KP was doing a pre-match show from the studio.
Hussain was seen requesting the staff to increase the volume so that he could hear what the batsman was saying.
One thing is for sure, England’s performance and KP’s ouster will remain talk of the town while the defending champions are in this island nation.