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Kevin Pietersen Betway blog: SA v England ODI series review 03 02 23

03 Feb | BY Kevin Pietersen | MIN READ TIME |
Kevin Pietersen Betway blog: SA v England ODI series review 03 02 23

The Betway ambassador discusses spending time with Jos Buttler’s team, his chat with Jason Roy and South Africa’s 2-1 win in the Betway ODI series.

The England environment is so different to my day

I got a message from Jos Buttler asking me whether I’d be interested in going to speak with the England squad before the ODI series last week.

I went along just to talk about whatever they wanted to talk about, be around, see the environment, and understand a little bit more about it for my purposes as well.

It was very informal, a few conversations with some individuals about batting and a chance just to be around the guys in case they wanted a chat with an outsider about anything.

It was brilliant to get an outsider’s perspective on the culture and how they’ve transformed the shortest form of the game.

The one thing that stood out to me is how supportive they all are of each other. That was an alien concept when I was involved, when everybody was just doing what they did for themselves. It’s so refreshing.

There were a couple of players under pressure, particularly Jason Roy, but you can see the heartfelt encouragement that each member of the squad and the whole setup was giving him.

The camaraderie in the camp is magnificent to see and it massively helps their performance, too, because there’s no fear of failure holding them back. If someone’s on a bad trot, they have all the love and support and time to turn things around.

I loved it, and it helped me understand how they’ve become a team that everybody fears.

I said to Jos and Matthew Mott afterwards that if they want me to be around the team in future, I’ll be there. If it happens again, it happens again. All good by me.

It’s a lovely environment to be around and I’m very happy to help out again if I’m asked.

I just reminded Jason Roy how good he is

What shocked me about Jason Roy was that when I saw him in the nets, he was doing things that a guy out of form would not be able to do.

He was hitting the ball as sweetly as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve known him a long time. He and Dawid Malan were batting at the same time and I was just thinking: “Goodness me, these guys are good players.”

If I’d just turned up to nets and wasn’t aware of any of the noise in the press, or among the broadcasters or social media, I would have thought Jason was in the form of his life.

He just needs to turn his mindset around and sometimes an outsider telling you how good you are can help.

You can sometimes get so consumed in everything that’s happening in your little space that you need a reality check. You need reminding that, hey, you’re damn good. There’s nothing actually wrong.

That’s what I told him, that he looks fantastic in the nets. Hopefully that helped him not chase the end result, which can always hold players back. If you go out too desperate to score, and worried about reaching milestones, you forget to actually do what you do well.

He was spectacular in that first ODI, it was vintage Jason Roy. I know he’s frustrated by missing out in the next two matches because you want to cash in on good form, but he’s proved what a good player he is and why he’s still a big part of England’s plans.

South Africa is loving its cricket again

The ODI series was excellent, with South Africa having that bit between their teeth with World Cup qualification on the line.

They rode the crest of the wave that the SA20 has provided. They kept sprits high and now they just need to do the business against the Netherlands to ensure that they’ll be there in India later in the year.

They could have had a wobble against England, there were times in both of the first two matches where it could have gone either way, but 2-1 was a fair reflection on the series in the end.

Something has definitely happened in the country in the last few weeks and it’s so good to see.

The crowds are back and people are coming out to see positive cricket. For the players, broadcasters, administrators and everybody else, it’s so good to see the grass banks full of enthusiastic supporters.

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Kevin Pietersen

World T20 and four-time Ashes winner, who retired as England’s second-highest run scorer of all time with 13,797 across all formats.

Kevin Pietersen

World T20 and four-time Ashes winner, who retired as England’s second-highest run scorer of all time with 13,797 across all formats.