England's Pietersen dilemma

KP rift may take years to repair - Arthur

Daniel Brettig

August 22, 2012

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen and Andy Flower during England training, The Oval, July 17, 2012
"There's no one guy that's bigger than the team and England must've thought that KP had got to that point." © Getty Images
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Kevin Pietersen's fractured relationship with the England team will take years rather than weeks to repair if it can be mended at all, Australia's coach Mickey Arthur has said.

The breach of trust inherent in text messages Pietersen is alleged to have sent to his South African opponents during the recently completed Test series, among a myriad of other issues, forced the batsman's removal from the England dressing room. Arthur, a former coach of South Africa, told ESPNcricinfo that in the circumstances England's selectors had no other choice but to drop Pietersen.

"It takes time to mend," Arthur said of the rift between player and team. "They say trust and reputation takes a year to two years to really build, and you can lose it in two minutes. I think that's where they've got to with KP now.

"England have dealt with it in the best possible way. The way they've handled it has been clinical, its been ruthless, it's been very good. It did obviously upset their team a bit, but little Jonny Bairstow came in and got 95 and 54 at Lord's and played really well, another guy steps up to the plate and does the job.

"There's no one guy that's bigger than the team and England must've thought that KP had got to that point. It was tough for them, it was pretty unsettling, but I think they've handled it very well."

Arthur was a bleary-eyed spectator for the Test matches in England, watching the matches on television in his Perth home. He was not surprised by the success of South Africa's bowlers in tucking up Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook from around the wicket, but also lauded Vernon Philander for his adroit use of new-ball swing.

"I know from our last meetings with Cook and Strauss in 2008, we certainly came around the wicket to them," Arthur said. "Morne Morkel has been the one who has created a lot of problems from around the wicket, and that is certainly a line we'd explore to attack [against England]. What Philander did was he swung it, and anybody who swings the ball is going to be a handful.

"You want to try to play with the batsmen's feet, that's why you need to use your bouncer well, use it intelligently, that type of stuff. South Africa definitely did it very well."

Arthur's team are scheduled to be South Africa's next Test opponents in three home matches at the outset of the Australian summer, a prospect now rich with meaning since the winner of the series will be able to lay claim to top spot on the ICC's Test rankings.

"It looks like being another Test championship series and it is a mouth-watering prospect, certainly one I'm really looking forward to," Arthur said. "Our Test side's a really settled unit, to beat South Africa now you've got to play really disciplined cricket for a long period of time and hopefully we can have the preparation and be ready for that when the time comes.

"I know from our time together that the South African guys are a resilient bunch, they enjoy touring together, they're a really good team, a good team ethos going, they're well-led, and very well coached. I think they all believe in their ability now, they believe in their ability to win the big games, and I can't wait for that Test series [in Australia]."

In the meantime Australia have 50-over and Twenty20 assignments in the UAE and Sri Lanka, with Arthur leaving the ODI leg of the tour to his assistant Steve Rixon. Rather than marshal the team against Afghanistan and Pakistan, Arthur will be tuning his plans with George Bailey for the World T20, particularly the nuances of the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo where the Australians will be based for the group phase.

"I'm just clearing my head and getting a good idea in terms of the roles we want to use for players," Arthur said. "There will be a bit of opposition analysis in that, and just getting a real clear head around the way we want to tackle this, have a look at how successful teams have played at Premadasa, study that ground a little bit. I'm suspecting towards that back end of the tournament that the wickets will turn, so I'm just getting all the attention to detail right."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (August 25, 2012, 2:28 GMT)

"I'm just clearing my head and getting a good idea in terms of the roles we want to use for players," Arthur said..... Still???? Ahhh yes mickey, you leave rsa and they go to no 1... u arrive at oz and they are in freefall... a raft of clueless selections and non selections and zero prospects with you at the helm.. and langer??? well, that's even funnier...

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 23, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Oh woww.. KP making peace with ECB just for NOC and the contract.. It might be true too.. He doesn't have any other reason to make peace actually.. For that to happen after years need to have two factors in it.. 1. KP struggling for money and plead to come back to ECB hands down.. No way with T20 leagues and the crowd bringing capacity of KP.. 2. ECB should struggle to find a reliable player in middle order and with their ego, i don't expect to go to KP.. If it happens, it will happen sooner.. If it doesn't happen now, it won't..

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 23, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

@Yevghenny, Actually look at KP's stats, he normally gets a ton every 6 innings and when he does he usually gets around 150, however in between this he gets out for low scores, look at this year : 14 ,1,32,18,3,30,150,42,32,13,80,78,42,16,149,12... This is highly inconsistent, at the Oval he really should have gone on from 42 but thought he could smack Kallis into the stands, and it wasnt as if it was a rash shot, he tried it 2-3 times in a row until he got the final nick. while in a calendar year hes not averaged below 40, in a season he has on numerous occasions, with 2010 being his worst season.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

australia will be lucky to win a test v south africa, their batting is brittle, i dont rate warner as a test match batsmen, cowan is struggling to make the big runs at test level, they cant settle on a no. 3, watson is struggling with injuries, ponting is a long way past his peak, clarke the only batsmen i/they will worry about, hussey at 6 is past it, haddin also is past it and if wade plays he still hasn't convinced at international level with the bat. Australia though do have a decent bowling attack, hilfenhaus, siddle, pattinson, starc, cummins etc. but faced with quality in smith, amla, kallis, de Villiers they will be asked plenty of questions.

Posted by __PK on (August 23, 2012, 3:02 GMT)

What a load of nonsense, yourself, LillianThomson. This wasn't a private exchange, it was a professional one, regardless of any pre-existing friendship. If you texted sensitive corporate information (eg strategic weaknesses) to friends in competitor companies and your boss found out about it, you'd be justifiably sacked. Exactly the same situation.

Posted by Meety on (August 23, 2012, 1:43 GMT)

@Yevghenny on (August 22 2012, 11:16 AM GMT) - sis you just answer YOURSELF????? @Noball_Specialist on (August 22 2012, 12:39 PM GMT) - absolute classic! Man if they ever took those types of things to heart, they'd never be able to field a team!

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 22, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

KP has had a huge kick up the backside. I would think he will playing for us in IND if he grovels enough. An undoubted talent but we need him on our terms only. If it is on his terms this would be a detriment to the entire side. Eng don't have the luxury of many 'stars' in their side and focus on a team ethic has meant we have played better than the sum of our parts. KP in or out depends on him.

Posted by the_blue_android on (August 22, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Mickey Arthur, another show pony minting millions off people who have no clue what his real contribution is! Everyone knew that he always played second or third or 4th fiddle to SA players!

Posted by ElBeeDubya on (August 22, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

Team spirit is important when you are not doing well. Team Spirit is unimportant when you are doing well. It is as simple as that as the great philosopher Yogi Berra would say. Strauss, for example, got out in the 2nd inns of Lord's Test because of the things that were in his mind as the world's leading psychologist and ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST PAINTER Michael Vaughan OBE observed. When Strauss had a calm mind in the series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka earlier this year, we all knew how well he performed. Equally, Mickey Arthur, the great psychologist and critical thinker, correctly observes that trust is important. If Mickey Arthur had been the Australian coach earlier in the early 2000s, he would have banned Warne for several years for making comments (such as that that Mickey TALKS TOO MUCH??) and we all know how greater a team Australia would have been without Warne.

Posted by bumsonseats on (August 22, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

KP could do all the things supporters says but the thing he could not do was keep his mouth shut or his finger off his mobile. who in their right mind would text message the team hes playing against, it beggars belief. i think authurs comments are what most right minded cricket supporters would think.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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