Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

My Mentor: Kevin Pietersen

KP.jpg

The England legend explains how cricket coach Graham Ford transformed his game

I’ve known Graham Ford since I was five.

He was one of the coaches at my first school in South Africa. He brought me through the ranks, he watched me as a kid, he believed in me and guided me. He helped me through the academy in Natal [in SA], and used to work with me away from the game, too. He built up my confidence.

He’s got absolutely no sense of ego.

He’s one of the most humble, helpful people I’ve ever come across – he was brilliant for me technically. He treats everyone exactly the same – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played a first-class cricket match or played 150 Test matches, he’ll treat you exactly the same. He’s just a great role model as to how one should be. He’s there just to give, give, give.

There’s one piece of advice he gave me that sticks out…

He once told me, “Be yourself, be the person you are, don’t live somebody else’s life through yourself. Be you.” I’d speak to him on the phone fairly often or I’d message him. We would talk cricketing stuff. He was the coach of the Sri Lankan side for a few years, the coach of the South African side before that, he was the director of Natal Cricket before that, too. So I’d speak to him more on the phone than I’d see him because our itineraries would clash. But now he is my coach at Surrey, so we speak to each other regularly.

He turned my game around.

When I was really struggling with my game in England about three years ago, I flew to South Africa to work with him, and he really helped me. Within 10 minutes of working with him, he identified an issue – a technical hitch I had got myself into – which he corrected. You’ve got to have somebody you can call up in times of trouble, and also in the good times. Someone who can keep you grounded and also build you up when you’re not feeling so good.

Wherever he goes, the players always love him.

You just have to look at the transformation at Surrey Cricket this year. We’ve looked after some of the youngsters and brought them through, but we’ve also looked after the older guys. Graham’s work ethic is something to be admired, and he’ll work hours and hours and hours. He is a giver, a doer and a winner.

Sign up to join ShortList's project to mentor young men in need

KP: The Autobiography by Kevin Pietersen is out now, published by Sphere (£20)

(Image: James Eckersley)

Related

duvall.jpg

My Mentor: Robert Duvall

piers2.jpg

Piers Morgan’s Top Five Underrated Sportsmen

crickethero.jpg

Worst Cricket Innings Ever

h_00888367.jpg

My Mentor: Noel Clarke

button1.jpg

My Mentor: Jenson Button

cloughie.jpg

The top 15 sporting egos ever

Comments

More

Whatever happened to the FA Cup Final song?

Time for the 80s and 90s staple to make a comeback

by Tom Victor
27 Apr 2017

Barton makes valid points, but that doesn’t mean his ban is wrong

The situation is more nuanced than some claim

by Tom Victor
26 Apr 2017

It's exactly 19 years since the most disastrous own goal of all time

As if we needed an excuse to look back at this blockbuster

by Matt Tate
25 Apr 2017

Introducing the world's most blatant handball courtesy of Preston

You are not the goalkeeper. Repeat, you are not the goalkeeper

by Gary Ogden
25 Apr 2017

This is the goal that every centre-back dreams of scoring

All that defending, all that discipline, worth it for this moment alone

by Dave Fawbert
24 Apr 2017

Incredible snooker trick shot wows the Crucible

Can't stop watching

by Matt Tate
21 Apr 2017

Martin O'Neill, a naked right-back & the one of the worst tackles ever

"The technique and distance covered would surely have qualified for the long jump at the Olympics"

by Phil Catchpole
21 Apr 2017

Tennis match hilariously interrupted by a couple having very loud sex

"IT CAN'T BE THAT GOOD"

by Matt Tate
20 Apr 2017

How to run a marathon even if you're useless at sport

Out of breath after climbing the stairs? Don't worry, you can still do it

by Dave Fawbert
19 Apr 2017

Harry Redknapp's Greatest Video Moments

'Arry's finest moments of magic in front of the camera

by Dave Fawbert
18 Apr 2017