Ashes - KP: Mistakes helped me grow

Kevin Pietersen believes his mistakes, as well as his successes, have brought him to the brink of a "surreal" 100th Test.

PA Sport
Ashes - KP: Mistakes helped me grow
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Kevin Pietersen believes he has learned from his mistakes.

England's most talked-about cricketer will reach a century of caps on Thursday at the Gabba, when Alastair Cook's tourists begin their bid for a fourth consecutive Ashes series triumph.

Pietersen will become just the 10th England player with 100 or more Tests to his name, and should be followed into three figures by Cook in Perth next month.

It all so nearly did not happen, however, for the South Africa-born batsman - because of last year's breakdown of working relationship with then captain Andrew Strauss, and coach Andy Flower.

Only a period of 'reintegration' subsequently ensured Pietersen's return for last winter's tour of India, and he has since added a historic series victory there and last summer's Ashes success to his CV.

Pietersen addressed a media conference at the Gabba on Tuesday, for the first time apart from in a post-match environment since Colombo 14 months ago, and did not seek to hide away from his lows as well as his highs.

The former include sending "provocative" text messages about Strauss to members of the South Africa touring team, at a time in summer 2012 when his differences with his employers at the England and Wales Cricket Board had become intractable.

Pietersen said: "I think as a person, you grow when you make mistakes.

"We've all made mistakes in all our lives.

"That's when you learn the most, and if I hadn't learned I wouldn't be sitting (here) on the eve of my 100th Test match."

He concedes mistakes, but not apparently regrets.

"The good has been good; the bad has been bad.

"There has been some really good stuff, and I've really enjoyed the journey.

"Where my career is at now, I don't think I can be any happier. I'm incredibly happy."

Pietersen stands on the verge of joining an elite group, and can scarcely believe the company - across all sports - he is about to keep.

Sachin Tendulkar's retirement after his 200th Test three days ago, and centuries reached by England footballer Frank Lampard and New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter spring to his mind.

"It's quite surreal actually," he said.

"Talking about 100th Test matches is a weird feeling for me personally.

"If you look at what happened last week with Sachin, saw in the rugby with Dan Carter and saw Lampard in the football - these are the kind of guys I look up to and wish I was.

"As a young kid, you grow up and see all these superstars."

Pietersen is pinching himself then, but is determined he will not be deflected from the very important job he has to do over the next six weeks.

"When it's you yourself... I'll probably look back on it when I've finished my career and see it as something quite special.

"But at the moment I just see it as the start of an important Ashes series.

"It's one we've come to win."

:: England's prospects appeared to improve on Tuesday when Matt Prior, able to bat in the nets 24 hours earlier, this time went through his wicketkeeping drills as he seeks to recover from his torn calf in time for Thursday.

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