• KP on Archer’s Ashes: It’s just a game

    Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has reintroduced perspective, as fast bowler Jofra Archer’s near unrivalled pace headlines the ongoing Ashes series.

    Archer’s deliveries reached speeds of up to 96 miles (155 kilometres) per hour in last week’s second Test at Lord’s in London. He felled batsman Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne with fierce short balls. Smith has since been sidelined by a concussion.

    The Barbados-born right-armer reached similar speeds on day one of the third Test at Headingley in Leeds on Thursday, snaring six first-innings wickets.

    ‘It’s sport at the end of the day. Yes, it’s the Ashes, and everyone’s baying for blood, and everybody wants that theatre of Test match cricket,’ Pietersen wrote in a column for Betway.

    ‘But I’m currently on a family holiday and I can reflect and say, you know what, there’s so much more to life once you’ve finished a sporting career. Yes, it’s a job. Yes, it’s emotional at the time. But it’s just a game.’

    Pietersen, meanwhile, embraced the introduction of concussion substitutes in international cricket. The South African-born Labuschagne replaced Smith on the final day of the second Test – and was retained in the XI for the third.

    I think the way that the concussion tests are working is magnificent. It was dreadful what happened in 2014 and, goodness, where Smith got hit was so close to where Hughes was hit. It was ugly. And so the right call was made,’ added Pietersen, referencing the tragic death of Australian batsman Phil Hughes five years ago.

    Hughes passed away after being struck on the side of the head by a short delivery during a first-class fixture in Australia.

    Photo: Gallo Images

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