- The Ashes
Pietersen: I'm confident, not arrogant
As he gets set to mark his 100th Test, Kevin Pietersen insists the Australian media have mistaken his natural confidence for arrogance - and revealed he hopes to keep playing for England until 2016.
The batsman also admitted to make mistakes in his career - most likely a reference to the 2012 'textgate' scandal which saw him dropped from the England squad.
But having made his debut in the 2005 Ashes, Pietersen says he is feeling happier than ever in the England set-up as he gets set to mark a personal milestone at the Gabba on Thursday.
"We've all made mistakes in our lives, and if I hadn't learned I wouldn't be sitting here on the eve of my 100th Test match," Pietersen said. "Where my career is right now, I don't know that I could be any happier. Clearly there's been some bad stuff which has been well-documented. When you're riding the crest of a wave and everything's going really well for you, it's hard to learn. But when you make mistakes in life, business, anything, you learn."
Pietersen had clear-the-air talks with his former skipper Andrew Strauss on Monday in an attempt to heal the rift formed last year.
"Do you ever look at things and think why you've done things? We all make mistakes," he reiterated.
After the Brisbane Courier Mail put Pietersen on their front page with a headline claiming even his own teammates don't like him on Monday, he laughed off a Twitter exchange with one of the paper's journalists attempts, where he tweeted about no one knowing where Brisbane is.
"I actually respect the Australian journalists for the way they come at oppositions," said Pietersen. "I think it's fantastic. I've had it for however many years, and I know when I walk out to bat the Gabba's going to clout me.
"It's actually something I laugh about, that's why I responded the way I responded yesterday, [saying] I would have preferred a front page in Sydney. It was tongue in cheek, just a laugh, a joke. I respect the journalists in Australia for having a go at the English and certainly trying to club me, it's brilliant. That's what Ashes cricket is about. I think I'm on today as well, they've dressed me up as something. Sydney tomorrow please."
Pietersen also had another playful dig at the Australian media. When asked if front-page appearances were good for his ego, Pietersen replied: "It was for the journalist. I hopefully got him a few (Twitter) followers. Well done. I've forgotten [his] name."
He also denied suggestions he was arrogant. "I call it confidence, you guys call it arrogance. It makes for a better headline," Pietersen said
"I've got to be confident in my ability. Clearly as a South African coming into England I had to really fight some tough battles and I had to be single-minded in achieving what I had to try and achieve. I can't help people thinking I'm arrogant. A lot of great sportsman have that little bit of something to them that makes them try to be the best and want to be the best and wake up every single day wanting to improve. I call it confidence; confidence in my ability; wanting to perform every single day and that starts on the training field."
Pietersen will become the 10th England player to play 100 Tests for England, with a third Ashes tour and fifth series against Australia.
"It's quite surreal actually," he said. "If you look at what happened with Sachin, we saw in the rugby Dan Carter, we saw [Frank] Lampard in the football, and these are the sort of guys that I look up to. But at the moment I just see it as the start of an important Ashes series, one which we have come to win. So yeah, talking about my 100th Test Match is a weird feeling for me personally. It's just about coming out here and doing what we have to do to win a game."
With rumours he may soon retire from international cricket, Pietersen insisted he is aiming to reach the 10,000 Test runs mark, and play in the tour of South Africa in 2016.
He said: "The World Cup in 2015 is something I'd love to have a go at with England. So there's that, and I've got home and away hundreds against each major nation apart from South Africa. The tour to South Africa's in '15-16, so if the old man can survive until then, I'd like to get there."
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