Steve Harmison recalls when Kevin Pietersen silenced hostile South African fans

They ask the English fans when they first saw Kevin Pietersen and the vast majority will say he made it into Australia’s star bowling attack during the memorable Ashes series in 2005.

Former teammate Steve Harmison, however, insists he knew KP was special when he showed South Africa what it was about a few months before they triumphed over the Aussies.

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KP made the decision to represent England even though he was born and raised in South Africa

Pietersen, who was born in Pietermaritzburg, turned his back on his homeland to play international cricket with England, where his mother comes from.

He was called up to the English team for his one-day series against the African nation and inevitably got a stick from the local crowd.

Although it wasn’t just any old stick he got, the 25,000-strong crowd in Bloemfontein literally turned their backs on him at the second ODI.

As he went to the crease, he was mistreated under the sun, and then-English captain Michael Vaughan called the mockery the worst abuse he had ever seen firsthand.

A smaller mortal would have collapsed under the pressure, but Pietersen got none of it when he responded with a 108 that didn’t fail.

KP remained calm in an enemy Bloemfontein

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KP remained calm in an enemy Bloemfontein

Until he celebrated his century

Getty Images – Getty

Until he celebrated his century

And Harmison revealed what KP did to give it back to the boo boys from South Africa.

“I’m not funny, when this kid went into the locker room, we knew something special was coming,” said Harmison to the talkSPORT Breakfast on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t so much what he did in the Ashes ’05 beginning … I was the non-striker at Lord’s at the end and I was amazed at what I saw when he went up against Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath .

“But what came home was the six months before.

“We were in South Africa, Bloemfontein, 25,000 people. When he went out to hit everyone turned their backs on him. All of South Africa turned their backs on Kevin as he went out to hit.

“He got a hundred and it was fun. When he’s got the hundred he’s standing there with his helmet on, he’s got his stupid haircut, he’s got his bat in his hand and we say, ‘Don’t kiss the badge, don’t kiss the badge … oh no, he has the badge kissed the three lions! ‘.

This only annoyed the South African fans even more, but KP didn't care!

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This only annoyed the South African fans even more, but KP didn’t care!

“Suddenly the country wants to attack him even more. They wanted to get him even more! “

The abuse continued, but Pietersen continued to score big runs, reaching 75 in Cape Town and 100 not in East London, South Africa.

England may have lost the series 4-1, but KP had announced themselves and became an all-time great.

“A week later he went to East London and got one of the best hundreds I’ve ever seen. We thought, what do we have in our hands? Harmony added.

Pietersen is part of talkSPORT 2’s live commentary on the English test tour through India. The third test starts on Wednesday morning.

“Boy, we’re going to have an ego in this room. Kevin Pietersen and Darren Gough on this comment team will be invaluable! Said a funny Harmy.

It was a wonderful series for Pietersen and prepared him for a breathtaking career

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It was a wonderful series for Pietersen and prepared him for a breathtaking career

Listen to ball-by-ball commentary from England’s India Tour LIVE on talkSPORT 2.

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