West Indies v England: Kevin Pietersen questions Test quality of Yorkshire CCC’s Dom Bess and spin partner Jack Leach

Kevin Pietersen is convinced the team’s ongoing struggles are down to a lack of quality players rather than Joe Root’s performance as captain.

By Carl Livesey
Monday, 28th March 2022, 4:18 pm
England and Yorkshire's Dom Bess Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA
England and Yorkshire's Dom Bess Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA

Pietersen, who captained England between 2008 and 2009, believes the major problem lies with the overall ability of the squad, singling out spin bowlers Jack Leach and Yorkshire’s Dom Bess.

“As a captain you are only as good as your players,” Pietersen told talkSPORT.

“When Jack Leach and Ben Stokes put that partnership together at Headingley three years ago, Stokes played the innings of his life - I said then Leach is not good enough.

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Kevin Pietersen pictured during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's in 2019. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

“He can be remembered for his glasses and everything else, well let’s hope he’s not because he’s not a good enough spinner. He’s not. And who is second in line, Dom Bess? Are you joking?”

“So you are all pointing fingers at Joe Root at the moment, don’t point fingers at Root, understand the setup. The setup stinks.”

Root rode out the storm after the Ashes, with the axe falling elsewhere as Chris Silverwood, Graham Thorpe and Ashley Giles all lost senior roles behind the scenes.

But defeat in his first attempt at rebooting the team has put the Yorkshireman back in the firing line.

Vice-captain Stokes would be the obvious replacement but he is fiercely loyal to Root, while Sam Billings has gained traction as a leftfield pick and Stuart Broad has been mentioned as a short-term solution.

Pietersen continued: “How is he (Stokes) going to do any better than Joe Root? He can’t (do any worse) but you can have as many voices as you want, that’s what I am saying, how are you going to change?

“How are you going to get these guys scoring runs against the best bowlers in the world? Have you see what’s coming? New Zealand, India, South Africa. How are you going to get these guys scoring 200s? Number one, two, three, four and five, how are you going to get them scoring 200s when they can’t bat?”