Into the Lions’ Den: Who will Kevin Pietersen replace in the Surrey line-up?

12:59 08 May 2012

Kevin Pietersen is available for one Surrey game

Kevin Pietersen is available for one Surrey game

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“It will be exciting to see Pietersen in Surrey colours for only the fourth time in the Championship since he signed for the club late in 2010”

This week sees the return to domestic English cricket of one Kevin Pietersen. He’ll slot into Surrey’s side for the game against Worcestershire this week. Yes, that’s right, he’ll go from playing in the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi (capacity 48,000) with team mates Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene to playing up at New Road (capacity unknown, but until recently under several inches of water).

He’ll be in the side at the behest of the ECB, not because Chris Adams necessarily wants him to play. Having said that, why on earth wouldn’t he want a player whose last First Class innings were 151 and 42 not out against Sri Lanka, and who has just averaged 61 in eight IPL matches?

The question is of course, who will he replace? On the face of it, that should be a no brainer. Mark Ramprakash has averaged 10 from his six visits to the crease this season, with a high score of 24. His latest attempt to recapture some form, for the Surrey second eleven, was cut short on 13 due to a ‘longstanding club commitment’, whatever that means. Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tom Maynard aside, all of Surrey’s batsmen could be considered vulnerable, but Ramprakash is more vulnerable than most. Ultimately though I suspect Adams will give the veteran another crack of the whip, and it’s hard to argue that Ramps hasn’t earned a few chances over his Surrey career.

It will be exciting to see Pietersen in Surrey colours for only the fourth time in the Championship since he signed for the club late in 2010. And I’m sure the players will be itching to get some tips from one of the finest batsmen in the world. I’m just not sure many fans will be welcoming him back with open arms. He has very little connection with the club and by extension the fans. A cursory glance at his Twitter feed tells a story, mentions abound for his IPL team the Delhi Daredevils but not a peep about Surrey’s early season travails.

Pietersen’s not really a Surrey player, and I’m sure he himself would admit that. I enjoy being able to watch a great player turn out for Surrey occasionally but to me he’ll always be an England player, not really one of ours.

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