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Pick of the one-day wonders


GRAHAM THORPE

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KEVIN PIETERSEN has showed with his back-to-back knocks against Pakistan and South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights,  that when fit and firing he is the best one-day batsman  in the world. The three best batsmen  in the world in one-day cricket at present are Chris Gayle, M.S. Dhoni and Pietersen  and, on his day the Englishman is the best of the trio.The confidence and swagger which has characterised his play since he roared on to the international scene back in 2004-05 was back for the first time since his Achilles injury, and that is crucial to his play.Pietersen has always been a confidence player and he overwhelms opposing bowlers with his unorthodox technique and his huge stride down  the track to throw them  off their rhythm.There were worrying signs in South Africa and Bangladesh after his injury that he lacked that same purpose and attacking instinct which stood him in such good stead earlier in his career.FlamboyanceWhen Pietersen is in full flight, he is a better all-round player than Dhoni and Gayle, who are both belligerent hitters, but have less guile  and flamboyance.KP has a unique approach  to an innings whereby he has no strict areas in which he looks to hit the ball, whereas Gayle is always aiming for long-on and Dhoni straight down the ground.There is no doubt in my mind that Pietersen has the ability to become the best  one-day batsman of all time  if he finds the consistency required to capitalise on his ability on a regular basis.He is clearly the most talented batsman in the world and it is how he manages  to utilise that natural ability and become more clinical in kicking on once he gets a start, in the manner of the likes  of Ricky Ponting.Pietersen rose to the occasion of a ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights match against the holders,  and it was a thoroughly impressive performance. KP virtually led England  to victory single-handedly  as he dominated the strike  and forced a very fine  Pakistan bowling attack  to wilt and go into their shells.PersonalityOf course, you cannot forget Pietersen’s exceptional catch  on the midwicket boundary  to dismiss Umar Akmal for 30, and his overall personality  and energy which inspires match-winning displays.It was very important  for world cricket to see Pietersen hit top form  once more, and we all hope  that his tournament doesn’t have to end due to personal leave with the birth  of his child.The fact that KP was injured with a bruised ankle during his match-winning knock against Pakistan made it all the more impressive, and the stage is now set for him to thrive.England’s hopes of winning the ICC World Twenty20 tournament and ending their 35-year hunt for a major ICC trophy rest on Eoin Morgan and Pietersen’s performances.Morgan in a few years’ time will become the best player in the world if he continues his rapid rise on the international stage, but for now Pietersen is the most talented player on the one-day scene.I believe that England can win the ICC World Twenty20, but Pietersen will need to continue to build on this form and show his true ability.If he does this he would secure his status as the world’s best one-day batsman.• Graham Thorpe is a former England batsman. This analysis is courtesy of http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

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