Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pietersen sympathises with Rooney

England's Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen has been helped by coach and friend Graham Ford

England's Kevin Pietersen has told the BBC he empathises with Wayne Rooney's plight and that sportspeople like him do not deserve to come under pressure.

Batsman Pietersen has also had his form scrutinised ahead of the Ashes series in Australia and went to South Africa recently to improve his technique.

"I look at the Rooney situation, he's getting killed every day," the 30-year-old told BBC's Sportsweek programme.

"He's a genius and should be backed. It doesn't help when people hammer you."

Rooney, who currently has an ankle injury, has performed below his best for Manchester United since the start of the season and was set to leave Old Trafford before signing a new deal with the club in October.


Meanwhile, Pietersen had a poor summer with the bat for England, only scoring more than 50 once, and was subsequently dropped for the one-day series against Pakistan.

Both the cricket press and public began to question whether he should be selected for the Ashes series.

"I wasn't fed up with the scrutiny, I found it funny," added Pietersen, who criticised his axing from the one-day squad on Twitter, for which he later apologised.

"The journalists get paid to make opinions and the punters have the right. But people don't realise we know as sportsmen if we're not playing well."

The South African-born batsman returned to his homeland in October to play two first-class games and rediscover his form with the bat with the help of friend and cricket coach Graham Ford.

"Fordy is someone I have known since I was seven," said Pietersen, who has scored 16 Test centuries and averages 47.80.

"It's about mental things. He knows me as a person. I haven't given a lot away about me as a person when I'm playing for England. But Fordy knows me as a person.

"He talks to me in a different way to perhaps anybody else in the country apart from my brothers and parents.

"He picked out one little technical thing I haven't been doing right and we worked on that little thing. I feel fantastic now."

Meanwhile, Pietersen said he was unwilling to get involved with a pre-series sledging row with Australia captain Ricky Ponting who said that there was a "big question mark" regarding the England's batsman form.

"This is my fourth series against Australia and every time in the lead-up things are said," he added.

"I'm not prepared to add any fuel to any fire."

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