Cricket

KP100th: England star set for landmark appearance

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Some things in sport are simply meant to be, meant to happen. So it certainly comes as no surprise that Kevin Pietersen - arguably the most talented batsman to play for this country - will make his 100th Test appearance in the opening match of an Ashes series. In Australia. At the Gabba. 

Pietersen couldn't have picked a bigger stage to join an elite number of Englishmen in the coveted 100 club. He will commemorate bringing up a different kind of century by using a bat that says KP100th on it when he enters the field of play.

He made his debut against the Aussies at Lords during the memorable 2005 series, scored his first ton in the fifth Test at The Oval to secure England's first series win over the old enemy since 1986 - and has since embarked on a long and winding journey that has had ups and downs along the way. 

He's entertained thousands, bullied bowlers off the park, had the occasional public spat with opposing players (and team mates) and switch-hit the best spin bowler to ever play the game (sorry Shane) for a huge maximum. That's just KP, and we love him for it.

But most of all he's endeared himself to English fans and the Barmy Army for eight years with countless match-winning performances. 

Now, he will reach a special landmark as he attempts to help his country defeat the Baggy Greens for the fifth time in their last six meetings, and he has been receiving warm support from sportsmen from all arenas as he prepares to step out on the hallowed Gabba turf. 

Team mate Michael Carberry tweeted: "Congrats to da big man @KP24 for tomorrow at the Gabba #kp100 #boom."

Ian Bell followed suit: "Huge congratulations to @KP24 on a massive achievement! Awesome bud! #kp100"

Other members of the England camp; Matt Prior, Joe Root, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Chris Tremlett, as well as former players Darren Gough and Mark Boucher all took to Twitter to congratulate the man who's scored 7,887 Test runs at an average of 48.83. 

Monty Panesar tweeted a photo with Pietersen, with the accompanying message: "Excited for @KP24 playing 100th test great achievement buddy happy for you... #KP100". What a couple of characters they are. 

Players from other countries also used the social media site to offer their congratulations to the 33-year-old. 

Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene tweeted: "@KP24 congratulations on ur 100th test big man!! Have a blast #Ashes".

And his old friend and fellow big-hitter Chris Gayle said: "Good luck in your 100th Test Match... Great achievement! Congrats @KP24... Bless up Peter! #kp100".

The adulations did not stop there, with footballer Tim Cahill and ex-Man United player Phil Neville - who claims he could've become a professional cricketer if he didn't choose football - also offering their congrats. 

He took the time to graciously thank every one of them, saying he was "incredibly proud, thankful and grateful" for the support from everyone, as well as his team mates. 

In his press conference on the eve of the opening Ashes Test, KP banished suggestions he could retire once the series Down Under was over; stating his intentions to help England win the World Cup in 2015 before attempting to complete a remarkable feat of scoring a ton against every Test nation home and away by notching a century against South Africa in the 2015/16 tour. Some may call that ego, but it's not. It's beyond that. 

When this great batsman retires from the international scene, the void he leaves in England's middle order will be similar to that of Wayne Rooney hanging up his Three Lions shirt for one final time. 

For now, we can marvel at his brilliance, be wowed by his array of shots, be entertained by his talent and be inspired by his passion. But most of all, be thankful he's still here, giving his all for the English cause. 

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Topics:
The Ashes
England cricket
Cricket
Kevin Pietersen

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