DUBAI: Swashbuckling England batsman Kevin Pietersen hailed his century on Tuesday as his best in one-day cricket, saying his hard work with spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed helped him overcome batting blues.
The 31-year-old hit a match-winning 130 to steer England to a four-wicket win after being set a 239-run target by Pakistan, giving his team a 4-0 clean sweep of the series.
Pietersen's knock was a total contrast from his tally of 67 during the 3-0 rout in the preceding three-Tests during which he struggled against Pakistan's spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman.
But since his transfer to Indian Premier League side Delhi Daredevils for this year's tournament was announced in January, Pietersen has hit back-to-back hundreds in England's wins.
Pietersen termed this week's as his best, surpassing his previous highest one-day score of 116 made against South Africa at Centurion in 2005.
“I am allowed to say it was probably the best one I've played,” Pietersen said on Tuesday.
“The hard work I've been putting in with Mushy has paid off. I've spent hours and hours with him. I came in early today, early the other day (to practise),” he said of his work with the former Pakistan leg-spinner.
Pietersen said he knew he had to bat through the innings after England lost captain Alastair Cook for four in the first over in their run-chase.
“I like to really calm things down and just watch the ball and play it. I thought that the total they had, if I batted for 50 overs and took the game deep and batted with a bit of experience, we could come close.
“I just wanted to take the game deep, and I wanted to target bowlers as well. I think that was the key to the success. You need experience, lots of it, in order to keep the situation very simple -- and back your ability.”
Nevertheless, Pietersen said he still has a lot to learn
“You need a lot of confidence in your ability. I am not the finished article by any stretch of the imagination. But wow, I thoroughly enjoyed it (the innings).”
Pakistan and England now play three Twenty20 internationals, with the first here on Thursday. The remaining two matches will be played in Dubai (February 25) and Abu Dhabi (February 27).