Kevin Pietersen: Story of a Genius on Sky Sports Cricket
Watch all five episodes of our special documentary On Demand now
Last Updated: 17/08/19 12:26pm
He entertained, amazed, infuriated and divided. But for many England cricket fans, Kevin Pietersen is the greatest batsman they have ever seen.
He delivered four Ashes wins, a first ICC World Trophy, almost 14,000 international runs and was involved in his fair share of controversy.
In KP: Story of a Genius - which you can watch in full ON DEMAND now - Nasser Hussain charts the highs and lows of Pietersen's England career, as well as his upbringing in South Africa and plans for the future.
Episode 2 - The Perfect Stage (watch in the video above)
There could be no greater way for Pietersen to win over any doubting England fans than by helping his new country to regain the Ashes - and he did so in style with a resounding display in the fifth Test.
It was to prove a series and performance that would change his life, catapulting him to stardom and earning him and his team-mates a trip to Buckingham Palace to collect MBEs.
So how did it all come about? Nasser travels to Cannock CC to find out how Pietersen was when he first arrived in the UK and how he went on to top the averages for the first three seasons with Notts before leaving the county with a year left on his contract.
His performances, coupled to his three ODI hundreds against South Africa and a brutal 91 not out against Australia at Bristol in June 2015, convinced England skipper Michael Vaughan that he wanted Pietersen in his Ashes team even if he wasn't going to be one of the easiest people to manage.
From his lone hand in England's first defeat at Lord's to a resounding finale at the Oval, Pietersen showcased his incredible ability but trouble lay around the corner…
Episode 1 - Taking the Leap (watch in the video below)
Nasser heads to Pietersen's lodge in South Africa to discuss his early days in Pietermaritzburg. KP's childhood was dominated by sport - rugby as well as cricket - but he insists that he was a late developer.
We also learn why Pietersen batted so low in the order in South African domestic cricket, his views on the quota system back then - and about the time he collared Nasser and asked him to sort him out a county contract!
KP eventually moved to England and flourished, firstly in league cricket and then at county level with Nottinghamshire, before stepping up into international cricket in late 2004 and facing South Africa in early 2005.
What set me up for any Ashes battle was how loud the Wanderers was when I walked out to bat. I will never forget it but it set the bar for ‘this is how loud it will be, that is how much abuse you can ever take on any given day; the Ashes is down here’.
Pietersen says he was worried how the media and fans would treat him as he played against the country of his birth - and he was booed at the Bullring in Johannesburg as he strolled out to bat.
But by the end of the series, having struck three hundreds, KP was given a standing ovation - an England star had been well and truly born.
Next stop the Ashes...
Watch all five episodes of 'KP: Story of a Genius' ON DEMAND from Thursday or catch one episode per Test our Ashes coverage.
Watch every ball of the 2019 Ashes live on Sky Sports Cricket. Click here to upgrade now.