Press Centre

Being Kevin Pietersen

  • Episode: 

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 19 Nov 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    10.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 47 2015 : Sat 14 Nov - Fri 20 Nov
  • Channel: 

    ITV4
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 10 November.
 
Being Kevin Pietersen
 
“My role as a player for England was to put us in positions to win games of cricket. I didn’t settle for mediocrity, and maybe I was a little bit too honest. I told guys, ‘Listen you’re not pulling your weight here.’ But if someone was doing something really well they’d know that they were doing it well too because I’d be telling them.” - Kevin Pietersen
 
This new documentary for ITV4 gets up close and personal with one of the most talented and yet controversial batsmen of his generation, going behind the scenes at home, on and off the pitch with Kevin Pietersen to gain a vivid insight into the cricketer’s life.
 
Being Kevin Pietersen profiles the cricketer’s rise from his upbringing in South Africa to winning the Ashes in 2005 and 2009, taking in his short-lived captaincy of England, his controversial exclusion from the national team in recent years, and his career in franchise cricket.
 
Featuring contributions from his colleagues, family and friends including Darren Gough, Michael Vaughan, Shane Warne, Piers Morgan and Jamie Redknapp, this documentary tells the tale of an iconic cricketer whose reputation for arrogance combined with his skill with the bat has led some to believe 'KP' is a misunderstood maverick.
 
The talented young batsman moved to England from his native South Africa in 2001 after becoming frustrated with his country’s old racial quota system for picking its international squad. By 2005 he was facing Australia in the Ashes, making 158 at the Oval in the final test as England won the series for the first time since the 1980s.
 
Legendary Aussie bowler Shane Warne, who he faced in that series, says: “I was very vocal before the 2005 Ashes saying, ‘this guy has got to be picked,’ because it was either him or Graham Thorpe that were going to be in that side. And I came out publicly and then I saw him get picked and I was very happy for him… the international cricket scene needed to see Kevin Pietersen because he was such a talent.”
 
With a bleached stripe in his hair and a Three Lions tattoo on his arm, Pietersen became a household name as a result of the series alongside players like captain Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff. England bowler Darren Gough, who was Pietersen’s best man, explains the story behind his famous tattoo. He says: “I always wanted tattoos and I used to have earrings – remember KP had his earring – yeah, he copied me! Then I started with the tattoo and I got the Three Lions and the crown. And we were in South Africa and he said, ‘I want to get that tattoo.’ And I said what? You’re South African, you can’t have that, your dad will kill you.”
 
Alongside his precocious talent, Pietersen was gaining something of a reputation in the cricket world for being flash and arrogant - both of which he denies. He says: “Well I’m not flashy, and arrogance is something that I think is just confidence.”
 
Darren Gough says it may be down to Kevin being too honest for his own good. But he does admit there is a certain arrogance to the man. He says: “I think Kevin sometimes is too honest for his own good. And he gets misunderstood because of the difference in nationalities. I think he’s tried almost too hard to be English, instead of just being what he is. 
 
“He’s the only bloke I know who fell in love with himself at sixteen and has been faithful ever since.”
 
In 2008, Kevin was made captain of England’s test and one-day international sides, an 
opportunity he says he couldn’t turn down. He says: “I don’t think you can. How can you 
turn down captaining your country? ‘No thanks lads, I’m fine.’ So I had to do it. It was 
never going to end well I don’t think, never.”
 
But after just three tests and ten one-day games, he left the role - and his wife Jessica says that was a particularly difficult time because he was vilified by the media. She says: “When he 
lost the captaincy, that was particularly difficult for us. He was painted as an absolute villain. 
It hurts me because I’ve not been able to develop as much of a thick skin as he has.”
 
On the pitch Kevin was still scoring runs but discord away from the crease, including a parody Twitter account and a row over text messages criticising Andrew Strauss, the England captain at the time, was followed by his controversial omission from the England set-up. 
 
Kevin’s friend Piers Morgan has publicly backed him, and says: “I defended him so vocally on Twitter and continue to do so because as an England fan I miss watching him bat. As his mate I think he was completely stitched up… He wasn’t dropped for cricket reasons, he was dropped because some people don’t like him. Well that’s not good enough.”
 
Shane Warne agrees, and says: “I thought it was poor management, poor captaincy, poor leadership from that group not getting the best out of Kevin Pietersen.”   
 
For now Kevin’s main focus is T20 franchise cricket - and he says he still enjoys going out to bat. He says: “I think the only reason I’m playing in these T20 tournaments now is because I still love batting. Fielding I’ve got so little interest in. Bowling I’ve got even less interest than that in.”
 
But Michael Vaughan says he hopes Kevin’s impact on the game is not forgotten. He says: “He’s just got that knack of knowing the crowd is watching him and it takes some kind of mentality and some would shrink under that pressure, some would worry about the fact that many people would expect special and great things from that style of player, Pietersen’s not that kind of man, he just loved it.”