Kevin Pietersen creates his ultimate Test cricketer in the spirit of Hublot’s art of fusion Kevin Pietersen creates his ultimate Test cricketer in the spirit of Hublot’s art of fusion

Kevin Pietersen creates his ultimate Test cricketer in the spirit of Hublot’s art of fusion

Luke Benedictus

To the uninitiated, Test cricket can seem like a mystifying business. As sporting occasions go, it’s often a slow-motion spectacle in which a single game can drag on for up to five days, then peter out in a lacklustre draw. In a time of ever-decreasing attention spans, watching 22 men in white chasing a small red ball around a green field seems like an anachronism from a quieter, simpler time.  Like pipe smoking, say, or not wearing a mask on a bus.

Yet for those of us brought up with the game, Test cricket exerts a baffling grip on our souls. In Australia, it is the soundtrack of the summer. For many households during this period, the TV will be permanently on in the background and every activity punctuated by anxious glances at the screen at each sound of willow on leather. That’s particularly true this summer because it’s The Ashes, the historic clash between Australia and England.

As an ex-pat Englishman who’s lived Down Under for the past 20 years, I’m not sure why I always get so excited about this series. After all, England’s record is forehead-slappingly dismal and things usually get very ugly indeed. To put things into grim perspective, England have only won four Tests in Australia this century and three of them were on the 2010-2011 tour, the last time they managed to win a series.

One of the men central to that victory was Kevin Pietersen, a hulking batsmen of extravagant talent who could reverse-sweep to the boundaries with a rare mix of violence and precision. “Some of the greatest batting I have ever seen in a Test match,” said Richie Benaud on Pietersen after watching him score his famous 158 at The Oval during an earlier series.  And the legendary commentator had watched his fair share of cricket.

Today, Pietersen has long since retired from the game and is committed to a very different mission. Determined to help protect endangered species, Pietersen started his conservation charity SORAI, whose name stands for Save Our Rhino Africa India. These efforts soon gained the attention of Hublot,  resulting in a collaboration to make two limited-edition Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI pieces – one in a sandy tones designed to match the dusty colours of Africa’s bushland and this year’s one in bottle green to reflect the vegetation of the savannah after the rains. Hublot donate a proportion of the proceeds from each watch to Care for Wild, the largest rhino sanctuary in the world, supported by SORAI.

Where am I getting to with all this? Well, Hublot’s brand motto is “the art of fusion” to reflect their boldness in combining materials in their watches. When I spoke to Pietersen through Hublot earlier this year, the conversation inevitably turned to cricket. So I asked him: if he could fuse together the ultimate Test cricketer, which players’ attributes would he choose? After a fair bit of head-scratching, this is what he said…


“From my early years, Jonty Rhodes was something remarkable,” Pietersen says. Known for his miraculous leaping catches, the South African insisted that saving runs was as important as scoring them and that it was imperative to leave the field with grass stains on your flannels.

“His energy, his enthusiasm, his flexibility and his athleticism were something remarkable,” Pietersen says. “Plus, how good he was at catching at backward point.”

The other contender in the mix for Pietersen in the field was Ricky Ponting. “He was just as good  as Rhodes, but what made him different was his ability to hit the wickets,” KP says. “He was a dead eye with his throw.”


“Easy, this is easy,” Pietersen insists. “Virat Kohli has to be the number one for any run chase. He’s a proven performer and match winner.” The fact that the Indian captain has contrived to occupy the No.1 spot simultaneously in Tests, ODIs and T20s would seem to speak for itself. (The only other player to have done so? Ricky Ponting.)

But Pietersen isn’t settling for the brilliant Indian. “If I had to pick someone to bat for my life, it would be Jacques Kallis,” he admits.

25,534 runs. 577 wickets. 338 catches.  The South African’s record as an all-rounder speaks for itself. “He could just bat for days and days and days and days with the same tempo,” Pietersen says in awe. “Kallis never got flustered and any bowler he just deals with them.”


“For a paceman, I’d go for Mohammad Asif, the Pakistan fast bowler,” Pietersen says. “He was someone who I never, ever, ever thought that I could possibly get a run against. He really, really did my head in actually – his ability to get the ball to move off the seam… He was just a phenomenal bowler.”

Renowned for bowling deadly out-swingers and in-swingers, Asif took 106 wickets in 23 Tests at an average of 24.36 and 46 wickets in 38 ODIs at an average of 33.13.

But when it comes to the best bowler he faced, Pietersen simply emits an exasperated grin. “It would have to be Muralitharan,” he says. “Especially in Sri Lanka, I had absolutely no idea which way the ball was going.”