From one book, of everlasting importance to at least dozens of people, to another. Scripted by some of the finest writers of their era, quoted, analysed, counter-analysed, and argued over until the original point was long forgotten. There is, naturally, only one tale in the Bible that runs parallel to The Kevin Pietersen Saga: that of Jesus H. Christ.
A man capable of miracles, who made waves more or less from debut; sprung unto the world from seemingly nowhere. English cricket was staggering around like a blind man before 2005; his 158* at the Oval gave it sight. England had long been lepers in India; then came the Miracle Innings of Mumbai (capitalised) to cure it’s inadequacies. Walking on water; switch-hitting the world’s greatest off-spinner for six in a Test. How could anyone not love him?
Then the twist plot: Never entirely trusted by the authorities. Some severe man-management issues. Betrayal by friends, sacrificed to save others, denial from within the camp. Destined to never quite fit into the old way of thinking, Kevin Pietersen changed the boundary ropes of the religion of cricket.
Kevin Pietersen – Jesus Christ (who else)
Andy Flower – Satan (a complete mood hoover)
Paul Downton – Pontius Pilate (ultimately the man who signed the order, even if he inherited the situation – of course he handled it all appallingly)
Giles Clarke – Caiaphas (made a political calculation, suggesting that it would be better for “one man” (Jesus) to die than for “the whole nation” (ECB) to be destroyed)
Andrew Strauss – Herod the Great/Herod Antipas (there can only be one “King of the Jews”)
Alastair Cook – Barrabas (Jesus was sacrificed instead of this man, who was of course in significantly more murderous form)
Matthew Prior – Judas Iscariot (on the whole, probably not the most villainous character of the tale, but perhaps the one whose name will live on most in association with treachery and betrayal).
James Anderson and Stuart Broad – James and John (disciples in the ‘in gang’, Jesus disapproved them for being generally ill-tempered)
Graeme Swann – Thomas (the disciple better known as “Doubting Thomas”)
Duncan Fletcher & Michael Vaughan – Mary & Joseph (’nuff said)
Paul Collingwood – John the Baptist (a good egg also prematurely sacrificed by a Herod)
Shane Warne – Mary Magdalene (a dalliance that never quite seemed right)
Jesus Christ’s legacy lived on largely because there is no-one capable of replacing Jesus Christ. It wasn’t that the disciples were not as well-intentioned, or even not as capable of great acts or being martyred themselves – many were, they just weren’t Jesus. The establishment’s reaction to Jesus was that they were threatened, and their instinct was to protect their own standing. They turned something which could have been great for all, and created divisions within what they had.
Needless to say, KP’s film will be directed by Mel Gibson. Go easy on the torture.
I have also copyrighted the twitter username @KPJesus. Back off, disciples, you’re not sharing the account password with me.