Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has termed the handling of Joe Denly as “atrocious", saying he is an attacking batsman and asking him to curb his natural game and then dropping him after his failure in the first Test is “truly abysmal". The 34-year-old Denly, who has played 15 Tests for England, was dropped from the ongoing second Test against the West Indies after scoring 18 and 29 in the two innings respectively in the series opener at Southampton.
Denly, who spent nine years before making it to the England Test team for the 2018 Sri Lanka series, has stayed at the crease for 100 balls or more on nine occasions, something that according to reports he was asked to do by the team management. In fact, the term ‘Dentury’ was coined to describe Denly’s innings of more than 100 balls.
“The way that Joe Denly has been treated over the last two years, being told by senior management to just try and face 100 balls, is atrocious," Pietersen, who has scored 8181 Tests runs at 47.28 for England, wrote on ‘BetWay’. “I saw what Denly did in the Big Bash a couple of seasons ago. He turned up and started whacking everybody all around Australia. The guys at my team, Melbourne Stars, couldn’t believe what they were seeing."
“I played with him in the first part of his England career, too. He always looked to attack and get after the bowling. He has every shot. He’s got a wonderful cover drive, he plays the pull shot, he plays the hook shot." Pietersen, who has played 104 Tests, 136 ODIs and 37 T20Is for England, said Denly should be given the opportunity to express himself freely.
“I’d definitely like to see him be given the opportunity to go out and bat freely. If that doesn’t work then he’s not good enough for Test-match cricket. Good night," he said. “But you can’t tell him to change his ways, just face 100 balls, and then drop him because he doesn’t do it. It’s truly abysmal."
The 40-year-old South Africa-born cricketer feels the current England team has not been able to score 400 runs regularly, terming it a “bigger talking point" than their bowling. “Having done pretty well in South Africa, England didn’t play as well as they should have done at the Ageas Bowl," he said.
“It’s so easy to start talking about the bowlers particularly the absence of Stuart Broad but the bigger talking point should be how they go about scoring 400 runs. They have a huge issue in the batting department and have done for a while now. “England used to score 400 regularly. Cook, Strauss, Trott, myself, Bell. We used to cream 400 runs. It is a strategy issue, for sure."