Kevin Pietersen spoke exclusively to talkSPORT on Thursday.
The former cricket star gave his thoughts on who should open the batting for England following Alastair Cook’s retirement, dismissing Keaton Jennings’ credentials with a brutal put-down.
He also welcomed reports Stuart Broad will be left out of the squad for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, claiming he should have been axed a year ago, while he had some kind things to say about Cook despite their fall-out over the end of his own international career.
Here’s what he had to say to Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on Drivetime…
Who should open the batting for England in Sri Lanka?
“It is brilliant that Rory Burns is predicted to go on the tour of Sri Lanka. That is going to be wonderful.
“Jennings can’t bat, I’m sorry. They are going to have to find somebody else. Cook is a big loss. I know he has been wishy-washy over the last couple of months but he finished on a fairy tale ending, which is brilliant for him but to replace that kind of guy at the top of the order, it is going to be difficult.
“I just don’t see county cricket producing Test cricketers at the moment. The issue is deep-rooted.
“All the best players in the world now are not playing county cricket. They are earning their cash in franchise cricket. Therefore, the standard of county cricket isn’t great, the standard of county batsmen is poor, and it is causing a massive issue in cabs on the rank for batting places.
“I’m not a massive fan of Vince, if I’m honest. He had his chances. I watched him play down under last year. He played nicely, but I just didn’t like the way he went about his business on a couple of occasions when the ball started to bounce. For the tour of South Africa next year, the ball will bounce.
“I like Jason Roy. He has got oomph, he has got guts, he has got runs at the top of the order in Australia. He scored that brilliant 180 at the MCG. It is about how guys score their runs and what their personalities are like. I would be all for Roy at the top of the order with Rory Burns.
“I don’t think Moeen Ali is a number three. He wasn’t playing his natural game [against India], he is more free-flowing down the order.
On Alastair Cook’s international retirement:
“I think he is tired. Goodness, he has played 160 Test matches. I played 100-and-something Test matches and you get incredibly tired and it is actually not the batting that gets you down, it is the monotony of the dressing room, being on the road all the time, the warm-ups, the fitness testing, all the nonsense around the set-up which you have to do.
“Technology has taken over and I’m sure these guys have to be monitored 24/7 in terms of what they are eating, what they are drinking, how far they are running. The monotony of all that stuff can break a person down mentally and after 160 Test matches, he must have been completely broken.”
On reports Stuart Broad will be dropped for the tour of Sri Lanka:
“I would have dropped him last winter. He doesn’t perform that well away from home. He had one good Ashes series and what he delivered for England in the big Ashes series last year was hopeless. I’ve been on tours of the sub-continent, he doesn’t like touring the sub-continent so it wouldn’t surprise me and it would be a very good move if they dropped him.”
Is James Anderson England’s best ever cricketer?
“I wouldn’t say he is the very best just because he has bowled most of his overs in England with the Duke ball and if you want to be a fast bowler anywhere it is with the Duke ball in England.
“I talked about Alastair Cook the other day saying he deserves the fairy-tale ending. He has played 160 Test matches and has had to face a brand new Duke cricket ball against some of the best bowlers in the world for 12 years. He deserves that fairy-tale ending. Jimmy Anderson, on the flipside, a wonderful bowler, he is one of the best and facing him in the nets was an absolute nightmare. His wrist position, the way he swung the ball, he is wonderful. Is he the best? I don’t know.
“Best are the guys that did well in the sub-continent, did well in Australia. I think that is the mark of the best. But he is right up there, his numbers prove that.”
Kevin Pietersen spoke to talkSPORT following the news we have won the exclusive radio rights to the series in South Africa – his homeland – series in 2019/20. You can listen to the full interview above.
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