England cricket June 1, 2012

Players are professionals, not patriots

Kevin Pietersen's retirement from international ODI and Twenty20 cricket and the influence of the IPL on modern cricket
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Kevin Pietersen's decision to retire from international ODI and Twenty20 cricket has sparked ample comment, some of which has included perceptive analysis of ECB player policy and the influence of the IPL on modern cricket. The coverage has also, unfortunately, employed some depressingly familiar language - 'mercenaries' and 'hired gun' for instance - and proved yet again, that getting sports fans and writers to consider players as true professionals is a pretty difficult task. Whether patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel may yet be a topic for serious dispute, but what seems incontrovertible is that appeals to nation; national pride and national duty can still push buttons like nothing else can.

If Pietersen has decided that the best way to make a living, spend sufficient time with this family, gain recognition for sporting posterity, display professional excellence, and enjoy playing cricket (that is, work) is to concentrate on Test cricket and Twenty20 league cricket, the last criticism he should be subjected to is that he has somehow let down his 'nation'.

Rather, his decision should be treated with the same tolerance that most of us are used to displaying when it comes to professionals in other fields, who change employers, ask for salary raises and changes in working hours, and sometimes even immigrate to other countries, sometimes leaving behind family and friends. Sometimes these professionals take salary cuts to spend more time with their family. There are a whole host of actions that reasonably-minded human beings can take in order to increase their professional worth and personal happiness; by and large, we are used to indulging these, as we recognise the decisional autonomy of the worker.

But somehow this tolerance breaks down when it comes to sportsmen who 'represent their nation'. We accuse them of carpetbagging, of selfishness, of prioritising their personal interests above all else, and a host of other sins. Somehow, we treat national cricket boards as employers that can make demands over and above the ones other employers are able to, most notably by dumping guilt-trips on players for not being 'loyal to the nation'.

It is worth remembering that 'national' boards are wage-payers and workplace-providers like other employers; they should not get a free pass in our evaluation of their terms of employment just because someone 'represents the country' as their employee. For too long, 'national' boards have exploited this association with the 'nation' to get away with abusive labour practices. It is high time fans and journalists stopped aiding and abetting them by using a language inflicted with contempt to describe the choices that professional sportspersons make on a daily basis.

Much of the angst very visibly on display in most IPL-centred debates could be avoided if those participating in them could alter their perceptions of cricketers just a little: the players are not flag-clad patriots, but professionals with passports.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RohanMarkJay on June 5, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Samir Chopra nice article I concur. Love reading your write ups. They are excellent! Thanks.

  • Rupert Greaves on June 4, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    Kevin Pietersen has decided to retire from the shorter forms of cricket (Internationally). His reasons known only by him. Other players such as Malinga and Shaun Taitt have retired from one form in order to prolong life in the other form. There was no fuss then as far as I remember, so, what is the problem now? Shouldn't he be free to make his own decisions as he sees fit, or should a player wait until his country says "you are no longer being considered for selection?" People are peeved because they like to have a say in when a player should be dropped. Not so this time. Caught with the pants down. Remember when he was failing?

  • Paul on June 4, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    KP is a complex character-leaving South Africa, association with Nottingham, HAmpshire, Surrey, England--all of which has ended in tears at various times. Why? Is this the fault of the above clubs, associations that there has been [or will be] rifts and fissures. He is, a remarkaby selfish cricketer who takes that word to new heights. I look at him and an examination of his innings will-apart from his 158 many years ago-will reveal he is not someone you would want to guard your life with in a cricketing sense. The sooner England move on with players, less talented maybe , but who actually want to play for the team and their counties and country. Players of the ilk of Bresnan, Prior, Anderson,Cook are beacons of this sort. It is no coincidence that England are doing so well under Strauss/Flowers--they epitomise team first and self after. Not so with KP --forever a disruption, wherever he has gone and will go in the future-a talented cricketer but a very flawed personality.

  • Paul on June 4, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    KP is a complex character-leaving South Africa, association with Nottingham, HAmpshire, Surrey, England--all of which has ended in tears at various times. Why? Is this the fault of the above clubs, associations that there has been [or will be] rifts and fissures. He is, a remarkaby selfish cricketer who takes that word to new heights. I look at him and an examination of his innings will-apart from his 158 many years ago-will reveal he is not someone you would want to guard your life with in a cricketing sense. The sooner England move on with players, less talented maybe , but who actually want to play for the team and their counties and country. Players of the ilk of Bresnan, Prior, Anderson,Cook are beacons of this sort. It is no coincidence that England are doing so well under Strauss/Flowers--they epitomise team first and self after. Not so with KP --forever a disruption, wherever he has gone and will go in the future-a talented cricketer but a very flawed personality.

  • Rohit Gajaria on June 4, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    I support Kevin Peterson.The Reason Being that Cricket Players should be allowed to represent whatever form of Cricket they want to play.It's pretty much up to a player to decide because then he can give he can give his heart entirely to that form and KP has said he would like to play for England in the T20 World Cup but the ECB isn't allowing him.

  • Jayaesh on June 3, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    I fully agree with you Samir, i mean there is so much double standards shown by these so called fans,on one hand they love there Barcelonas ,madrids,man u's of the world but when same thing happens in cricket they are up in arms.I think entire oppossition to IPL is based not only on purist's dislike but an trrational fear that club cricket will take over country,even if it happens so what why one should treat our national team as some sort of holy cow.Lets take a example of upcoming Euro's(Football ) in June,most of the players are physically batterd after an ardous long 9 month season with there clubs and yet all these clubs are never questioned by the media weather long season has burnt out players for there respective national teams.Cricket fans/media need to learn from other popular sports who have club driven structure.

  • longmemory on June 3, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    @Zeeman: forget wikipedia, why don't you go just about anywhere in India and you'll get a much better sense of the "economic estimates for India for the next few decades." Guys like you are typical of many a middle class Indian convinced that we are the world's next great power when literally a majority of our country's citizens have no access to adequate food, clothing, shelter or bathrooms.

  • Chat on June 3, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    It is absurd to compare national cricketers to ordinary people working for a salary. Now, I understand KP's reasons for doing so. But, sportsmen represent their country. Fans adore them and respect them for that. Fans hold them in high esteem, just like they do the Armed forces during times of war. So, they have to be ready to take the praise as well as the blame. I do not think that any cricketer should be expected to put country before self. But, they have to manage both, period.

  • grizzle on June 3, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Zeeman: Why don't you look up the estimates for the per-capita income of India and the fraction of its population that are below the poverty line? I am an Indian myself, and recognize the strides that India has made in the last couple of decades, but these kinds of comments make my blood boil! In any case, this article has little to do with India or the influence it has on the world of cricket, and more to do with whether KP's decision was justified.

  • Ram on June 3, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    A sportsman represents his country, unlike an average John Doe who is employed in a company. What he does makes news and he is the role model for many. Imagine the impact it would have if Tendulkar could suddenly declare that he wants to play for England - many Indians became his fans because he was Indian and was proud to play in Indian colors - now if he jumps off to England because he got more pay, this would be disowning many of the fans. You want to enjoy the limelight ( made possible only because of fans without which a cricketer would be nothing) but you don't want to give back anything?

  • RohanMarkJay on June 5, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Samir Chopra nice article I concur. Love reading your write ups. They are excellent! Thanks.

  • Rupert Greaves on June 4, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    Kevin Pietersen has decided to retire from the shorter forms of cricket (Internationally). His reasons known only by him. Other players such as Malinga and Shaun Taitt have retired from one form in order to prolong life in the other form. There was no fuss then as far as I remember, so, what is the problem now? Shouldn't he be free to make his own decisions as he sees fit, or should a player wait until his country says "you are no longer being considered for selection?" People are peeved because they like to have a say in when a player should be dropped. Not so this time. Caught with the pants down. Remember when he was failing?

  • Paul on June 4, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    KP is a complex character-leaving South Africa, association with Nottingham, HAmpshire, Surrey, England--all of which has ended in tears at various times. Why? Is this the fault of the above clubs, associations that there has been [or will be] rifts and fissures. He is, a remarkaby selfish cricketer who takes that word to new heights. I look at him and an examination of his innings will-apart from his 158 many years ago-will reveal he is not someone you would want to guard your life with in a cricketing sense. The sooner England move on with players, less talented maybe , but who actually want to play for the team and their counties and country. Players of the ilk of Bresnan, Prior, Anderson,Cook are beacons of this sort. It is no coincidence that England are doing so well under Strauss/Flowers--they epitomise team first and self after. Not so with KP --forever a disruption, wherever he has gone and will go in the future-a talented cricketer but a very flawed personality.

  • Paul on June 4, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    KP is a complex character-leaving South Africa, association with Nottingham, HAmpshire, Surrey, England--all of which has ended in tears at various times. Why? Is this the fault of the above clubs, associations that there has been [or will be] rifts and fissures. He is, a remarkaby selfish cricketer who takes that word to new heights. I look at him and an examination of his innings will-apart from his 158 many years ago-will reveal he is not someone you would want to guard your life with in a cricketing sense. The sooner England move on with players, less talented maybe , but who actually want to play for the team and their counties and country. Players of the ilk of Bresnan, Prior, Anderson,Cook are beacons of this sort. It is no coincidence that England are doing so well under Strauss/Flowers--they epitomise team first and self after. Not so with KP --forever a disruption, wherever he has gone and will go in the future-a talented cricketer but a very flawed personality.

  • Rohit Gajaria on June 4, 2012, 7:09 GMT

    I support Kevin Peterson.The Reason Being that Cricket Players should be allowed to represent whatever form of Cricket they want to play.It's pretty much up to a player to decide because then he can give he can give his heart entirely to that form and KP has said he would like to play for England in the T20 World Cup but the ECB isn't allowing him.

  • Jayaesh on June 3, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    I fully agree with you Samir, i mean there is so much double standards shown by these so called fans,on one hand they love there Barcelonas ,madrids,man u's of the world but when same thing happens in cricket they are up in arms.I think entire oppossition to IPL is based not only on purist's dislike but an trrational fear that club cricket will take over country,even if it happens so what why one should treat our national team as some sort of holy cow.Lets take a example of upcoming Euro's(Football ) in June,most of the players are physically batterd after an ardous long 9 month season with there clubs and yet all these clubs are never questioned by the media weather long season has burnt out players for there respective national teams.Cricket fans/media need to learn from other popular sports who have club driven structure.

  • longmemory on June 3, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    @Zeeman: forget wikipedia, why don't you go just about anywhere in India and you'll get a much better sense of the "economic estimates for India for the next few decades." Guys like you are typical of many a middle class Indian convinced that we are the world's next great power when literally a majority of our country's citizens have no access to adequate food, clothing, shelter or bathrooms.

  • Chat on June 3, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    It is absurd to compare national cricketers to ordinary people working for a salary. Now, I understand KP's reasons for doing so. But, sportsmen represent their country. Fans adore them and respect them for that. Fans hold them in high esteem, just like they do the Armed forces during times of war. So, they have to be ready to take the praise as well as the blame. I do not think that any cricketer should be expected to put country before self. But, they have to manage both, period.

  • grizzle on June 3, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Zeeman: Why don't you look up the estimates for the per-capita income of India and the fraction of its population that are below the poverty line? I am an Indian myself, and recognize the strides that India has made in the last couple of decades, but these kinds of comments make my blood boil! In any case, this article has little to do with India or the influence it has on the world of cricket, and more to do with whether KP's decision was justified.

  • Ram on June 3, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    A sportsman represents his country, unlike an average John Doe who is employed in a company. What he does makes news and he is the role model for many. Imagine the impact it would have if Tendulkar could suddenly declare that he wants to play for England - many Indians became his fans because he was Indian and was proud to play in Indian colors - now if he jumps off to England because he got more pay, this would be disowning many of the fans. You want to enjoy the limelight ( made possible only because of fans without which a cricketer would be nothing) but you don't want to give back anything?

  • Zeeman on June 3, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    The old world is still trying to fight India. GIVE UP! Just go on wikipedia and look at the economic estimates for India for the next few decades...

  • TimelessTests on June 3, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    @John Duchausse: Absolutely. Spot. On.

  • Noman Aziz on June 3, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    I believe its not for the money he gets from the IPL. Buhahaha hahahhahahaha... !!!!! i'm creasing...

  • ven on June 3, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    Exactly! Cricket is not world war for patriotism to come into play. It is just a game (managed by idiots, played by professionals). Reality is, patriotism doesn't pay at the supermarket. So KP or anyone else must be entitled to choose what is best for themselves as long as there is no cheating(matchfixing/spotfixing).

  • Mustafa Moiz on June 3, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    I agree, which is why I never changed my opinion of Mohammad Aamer.

  • HedleyTufnell on June 3, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    It's fair enough for him to retire from ODIs and T20s. The unspoken truth about these formats is that England use them as a training ground for young players - to break the next generation in. KP has little left to achieve in these spheres aside from the statistical, and has been in patchy ODI form for a while. The IPL is a red herring - playing 8 or so T20 matches against a motley collection of nobodies and mercenaries can hardly compare to an international ODI tour. In many ways he demonstrates his love of his (adopted) country by focusing on the form of the game they love most. Chris Gayle et al are the real troublemakers, by playing the IPL instead of tests.

  • John Duchaussee on June 3, 2012, 0:28 GMT

    I am waiting for a cricketer to publicly state the following: Based on my present career status with my country and based on whats being offered by the IPL, I am presented with an opportunity to make much more money in a much shorter time period. So considering that there is only a small window for me to secure my family's future financially I am retiring from international cricket and wish my country all the best in the future." When I see this I will have more respect for that player instead of all the feeble attempts to blame the ECB, WICB, CA etc.

  • missing_a_bail on June 2, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    Excellent article. "Playing for your country" is becoming a very anachronistic concept. Given the unpredictable nature of professional sport, KP (or any other player for that matter) needs to make the best of it while he is fit and able. I enjoy watching him play and could care less which jersey he is wearing. Just stay in form and keep delighting your fans, KP!

  • Daniyal on June 2, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    @Timeless Tests Well you mentioned the role models, the million twitter followers, and that is exactly what I was saying. They are fickle, if he fails they will forget him.

    @Daniel Yes it is true that KP became famous playing for Eng. However, ECB should realize that now IPL is a huge draw which they cannot compete with.

  • valentino on June 2, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    A very good article.These cricket boards are not given players any choice if he does not want to play 50 over cricket why should he i dont see any one from the board on the field doing what these player go through every day, cricket is about money and making money.Right speed KP quit the test to an focus on the IPL and make money because the day will come when they will drop you like hot cakes. Lara.

  • khalid tanha on June 2, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Simply IPL has snatched another wonderful player from International Cricket. One of greedy players. Very sad very bad. A lot of disappointment. ECB should not select him for test team. IPL is destructive lege.

  • Madhav Vikas Sharma on June 2, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    A very good article which also happens to be nicely written. Cricket is on the brink of a change and like all other sports, professional leagues will slowly wipe out country tours. The Boards can't make a claim on "representing the nation". After all, the Board Chairman is not democratically elected. Sports have to be professional. You can make the national case only in the Olympics, the nation does not need to tour here and there to make money for the Board.

  • TimelessTests on June 2, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    @Uday. I like the team analogy with the workplace and also think that with a bit of measured negotiation a solution agreeable to all could easily have been found but, typically, KP wades on with a fait accompli and expects everything to move around him. I'm only surprised he didn't announce his decision on Twitter.

    Even so, in my job for instance there are three main aspects (same for my seven colleagues): a really great bit, an OK bit and a part that is something of a drudge. But they are all indisputably essential to the overall function of the team. It would be poor form indeed if one of us opted unilaterally to withdraw from the drudgery whilst keeping the glamorous parts. In fact a couple of years ago just this occurred and the ill-feeling festered until that person's retirement. Is this to be KP's destiny?

  • TimelessTests on June 2, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    @Gav. No one forced him to play for England - indeed he actively sought it out - and with the honour of representing ones country comes a responsibility. In that sense it IS different from other jobs. I agree with the 'work to live' sentiment but this should still be within the confines of a contract, the terms of which he was well aware of.

    @Daniyal. The public is fickle when it comes to form. Hero to zero overnight and all that. But throughout his run of poor form the selectors did not drop him! So not sure what point you are making. Fortunately the public do not select the team!

    @Mithun. Sporting teams are our new armies. Just attend any high profile sporting match (cricket, football, rugby) to learn the truth of this as the partisan sentiments flow. Ask any Mancunian about pride at the end of the recent Premiership season. "It's only a game"? Suggest - read Nick Hornby.

  • SkippyD on June 2, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    KP has publicly stated that he would have played in the 20-20 world cup. Please remember that it's the policy of the ECB that if a player does not play 50 over cricket then they can not play 20 over cricket. Flexibility from the ECB, maybe saying he was being rested from ODI matches until the 20-20 world cup, would have made everyone happy. Yes KP is arrogant and opinionated, but there's two sides to every story.

  • VincentWong on June 2, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Mr Samir, great artical. Point blank to the target. KP is also human, made his decision which is his alone to make but based on what the board rules and regulations on players commitment. A lot of people miss the obvious and voice out just because its KP. His life so he decides so why should he care. He didn't care when SA didn't want him, he didn't care when he op for England with so many calling him names, he didn't care when his form were down, he didn't care when centuries were back and everyone was his friends again, so why should he care now if he decides to take care of his body, family and in the process earn some money.

  • VincentWong on June 2, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Mr Samir, great artical. Point blank to the target. KP is also human, made his decision which is his alone to make but based on what the board rules and regulations on players commitment. A lot of people miss the obvious and voice out just because its KP. His life so he decides so why should he care. He didn't care when SA didn't want him, he didn't care when he op for England with so many calling him names, he didn't care when his form were down, he didn't care when centuries were back and everyone was his friends again, so why should he care now if he decides to take care of his body, family and in the process earn some money.

  • Sriram on June 2, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Lets say in our alternate universe, instead of IPL, it was English T20 league that was the most popular. Would the same "patriotic" and "loyal" English fans and former players still question the "patriotism" and "loyalty" of KP for his renegotiation of working contract with ECB. If not, 1. It's just sour grapes on part of "patriotic" and "loyal" fans and former players that IPL is popular and 2. This may be little bit hard and sensitive to accept but it just shows erstwhile imperialistic and colonial attitude of those English fans and former players.

  • Sriram on June 2, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    If ECB thinks like most people here i.e. as KP got fame playing for England and as they are the ones who gave him a chance to play, they alone have powers to say when he cannot play and he should display absolute loyalty for this - this is equivalent to bonded labour. It's good that the laws of this nation don't allow this non-sense but I am sure all those "patriotic" fans, former players and bosses at ECB surely think that this what KP has signed for when he was given a chance to play for England. I am sort of zapped when former players say that he should now prove his "loyalty" to Flower and Strauss that he will continue to play in Tests. Sorry to say but KP is not slave - your "loyalty" to anyone comes only when you can "trust" them. KP asked flexibility in his working contract by not wanting to play in ODIs - ECB said that you cannot do that and offered their version of the flexibility. KP has taken it. What's wrong here - if anything is in question, it is ECB's inflexibility.

  • Gulu Ezekiel on June 2, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    Samir, big fan of your writing. But have to disagree with you on this. An office worker does not wear the nation's colours when he goes to work every day, he does not appear on TV in those colours and earn name and fame from representing his nation. Apart from that, any nation's cricket board spends a lot of time, money and effort in nurturing grassroots cricket. A future superstar gets to play in these tournaments and then when he reaches the top, he kicks the ladder from underneath him. How could Kerry Packer and the IPL franchises pay much more than national cricket bodies? Simple, their role was merely to pay top dollar to these superstars, they were not subsidising schools, college cricket, etc. Pietersen deserted his country of birth as he felt he was not getting adequate opportunities. English cricket opened its arms to him. Now he is all set to be a gun for hire and will play BBL Down Under. This is indeed ingratitude. At least he should be honest about his real intentions.

  • Daniel Segura on June 1, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    KP owes his stature in world cricket to England and not the other way around. He has turned his back on the national team that put him in the position to make the $$$ in the first place. I have no time for such mercenaries. Perhaps for him it was an easy decision as he is not English in the first place and $ and fame are what matter to him. English cricket should turn their back on him and same he has turned his on them.

  • Jonathon Josephs on June 1, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    The reason why people are enraged at this is because of the reason he gave. The "rigors" of international cricket. The man is only 31 years old and has been in amazing form. It is also insulting because his decision came right after coming out of the IPL. The break between the Sri Lankan tour and the West Indian tour, he should have been resting his body. Instead, he played the IPL. Yet he chose to retire from England Limited Overs cricket and continue playing in the IPL. The IPL has snatched another player from International Cricket.

  • Uday on June 1, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    @TimelessTest - Even with the higher expectations that sportspersons carry, Samir's point stands - A players decision, at least to decide when and which format to retire from, should be his own, as in the case of any normal employee. Anything short of this would be tyrannical.

    Using the comparison with a normal employee however, may not completely absolve KP. Cricket is a team sport, similar to teams one finds in the regular workplace. It is the norm for employees to plan resignations and retirements around the reasonable needs of the team. Similarly, KP and the ECB should have waited till the world cup this year to defend their 20/20 title (From the point of building a team for the 2015 ODI world cup, KP's timing cannot be questioned).

    Of course, KP wanted to do so and has only been prevented from playing in the world cup because of the contract clause. Sadly, with a little flexibility from both parties, we could have seen KP in action at the world cup. The blame lies equally

  • Daniyal on June 1, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    @timetests

    My friend, "the man as already earned more than most sportsman have worked for" perhaps, (although, footballers and american baseball pay higher I think), but you cannot ask someone to stop earning just be saying they have earned enough! KP is human, he too has wants.

    National expectation? role models? so let me get this straight, some time back, KP has a wretched run of form, and people were calling for his head. So the public and the board can ditch him whenever they want, but he must be at their beck and call?

  • Mithun on June 1, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    Totally agree with the article. Sportsmen are not soldiers, they don't affect their countries or their fellow citizens in any way by their actions or results. People who think that outcomes of sporting events determine the glory or pride of their countries should get their heads examined. Cricket is just a game, after all. Sportsmen should not be faulted for making decisions that are best for themselves and their families.

  • Gav on June 1, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    Timeless Tests, I think you're missing the whole point. Yes he has followers, and yes he plays for England. Have you heard that old saying - you work to live, not live to work. That applies whatever you do. You forget these guys are normal people who have families, they just happen to be in a profession where they carry the tag of playing for country. If this is what KP chooses to do, not sure why people have a problem. Truth is - British public and the ECB still see him as a Proteas, no matter what poor guy does.

  • ADD on June 1, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    It's funny how so few seem to think ODIs need to be scrapped altogether. Perhaps this is how that might happen. KP has taken the lead, Clarke might soon follow, and eventually only Tendulkar, the Bangladeshis and the Irish will be left playing the format. Cricket's future lies in the longest and shortest versions only.

  • ultrasnow on June 1, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    I disagree Samir. I'm an Indian fan. I think if one of the top Indian players were to do the same he would be labelled greedy and non-patriotic by emotional Indian cricket fans. As a Tendulkar fan I want him to go on and on until he's batting out there on one leg and needs a runner. I think Dhoni would be a prime candidate to emulate KP's move. It would be interesting to see the reaction from Indian fans if Dhoni were to do something similar.

  • Martin Walker on June 1, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    I think KP's decision to retire has less to do with the IPL & More to do with the mis management of the ECB. To let go of your talisman prior to defending the World T20 cup is shocking, considering the (lack of) batting arsenal available at England's disposal. KP probably wanted to sit out of the 50 over format & continue with the T20 Model and has been booted out for his brutal candour (read clarity) in communicating it with the team management, unlike a Strauss or a Cook neither of whom find favour in T20s albeit the latter captains the 50 over format. Perhaps KP should have kow towed the line of the establishment and not be an individual - that would have cut out all the furore about him being forced to quit BOTH and not one format only

  • Lourens on June 1, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Thanks for this post. I have posted on regular basis on cricinfo articles, but you said it so much better Samir. These are not the days of amateur sports with a series every few years in one form of cricket. It is a fulltime job. If you have lost time with your family and are burned out the cricket bodies will do nothing about it, except "appointing" someone else in your place.

  • TimelessTests on June 1, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    I disagree. The difference between most workers negotiating a change in pay or conditions and KP is thT the average worker does not represent their country. He does not carry national expectation with him when he goes to work. He is not made an idol or role model by countless youngsters (and not so youngsters). He does not carry the image of his country abroad under the media glare and scrutiny. He does not have a million Twitter followers. To claim that KP needs to maximise his earnings in his remaining playing years in frankly absurd as the man has already earnt more than even most sportsmen would hope for. And as many have pointed out before he can't be too overworked if he volunteers for seven extra weeks of IPL cricket each year. Sorry Mr Chopra: in the sporting world professional and patriotic go hand in hand and the rewards justify this requirement. It is clear that KP's main interest is KP and that is too narrow for demands of the post.

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  • TimelessTests on June 1, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    I disagree. The difference between most workers negotiating a change in pay or conditions and KP is thT the average worker does not represent their country. He does not carry national expectation with him when he goes to work. He is not made an idol or role model by countless youngsters (and not so youngsters). He does not carry the image of his country abroad under the media glare and scrutiny. He does not have a million Twitter followers. To claim that KP needs to maximise his earnings in his remaining playing years in frankly absurd as the man has already earnt more than even most sportsmen would hope for. And as many have pointed out before he can't be too overworked if he volunteers for seven extra weeks of IPL cricket each year. Sorry Mr Chopra: in the sporting world professional and patriotic go hand in hand and the rewards justify this requirement. It is clear that KP's main interest is KP and that is too narrow for demands of the post.

  • Lourens on June 1, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Thanks for this post. I have posted on regular basis on cricinfo articles, but you said it so much better Samir. These are not the days of amateur sports with a series every few years in one form of cricket. It is a fulltime job. If you have lost time with your family and are burned out the cricket bodies will do nothing about it, except "appointing" someone else in your place.

  • Martin Walker on June 1, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    I think KP's decision to retire has less to do with the IPL & More to do with the mis management of the ECB. To let go of your talisman prior to defending the World T20 cup is shocking, considering the (lack of) batting arsenal available at England's disposal. KP probably wanted to sit out of the 50 over format & continue with the T20 Model and has been booted out for his brutal candour (read clarity) in communicating it with the team management, unlike a Strauss or a Cook neither of whom find favour in T20s albeit the latter captains the 50 over format. Perhaps KP should have kow towed the line of the establishment and not be an individual - that would have cut out all the furore about him being forced to quit BOTH and not one format only

  • ultrasnow on June 1, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    I disagree Samir. I'm an Indian fan. I think if one of the top Indian players were to do the same he would be labelled greedy and non-patriotic by emotional Indian cricket fans. As a Tendulkar fan I want him to go on and on until he's batting out there on one leg and needs a runner. I think Dhoni would be a prime candidate to emulate KP's move. It would be interesting to see the reaction from Indian fans if Dhoni were to do something similar.

  • ADD on June 1, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    It's funny how so few seem to think ODIs need to be scrapped altogether. Perhaps this is how that might happen. KP has taken the lead, Clarke might soon follow, and eventually only Tendulkar, the Bangladeshis and the Irish will be left playing the format. Cricket's future lies in the longest and shortest versions only.

  • Gav on June 1, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    Timeless Tests, I think you're missing the whole point. Yes he has followers, and yes he plays for England. Have you heard that old saying - you work to live, not live to work. That applies whatever you do. You forget these guys are normal people who have families, they just happen to be in a profession where they carry the tag of playing for country. If this is what KP chooses to do, not sure why people have a problem. Truth is - British public and the ECB still see him as a Proteas, no matter what poor guy does.

  • Mithun on June 1, 2012, 20:40 GMT

    Totally agree with the article. Sportsmen are not soldiers, they don't affect their countries or their fellow citizens in any way by their actions or results. People who think that outcomes of sporting events determine the glory or pride of their countries should get their heads examined. Cricket is just a game, after all. Sportsmen should not be faulted for making decisions that are best for themselves and their families.

  • Daniyal on June 1, 2012, 21:36 GMT

    @timetests

    My friend, "the man as already earned more than most sportsman have worked for" perhaps, (although, footballers and american baseball pay higher I think), but you cannot ask someone to stop earning just be saying they have earned enough! KP is human, he too has wants.

    National expectation? role models? so let me get this straight, some time back, KP has a wretched run of form, and people were calling for his head. So the public and the board can ditch him whenever they want, but he must be at their beck and call?

  • Uday on June 1, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    @TimelessTest - Even with the higher expectations that sportspersons carry, Samir's point stands - A players decision, at least to decide when and which format to retire from, should be his own, as in the case of any normal employee. Anything short of this would be tyrannical.

    Using the comparison with a normal employee however, may not completely absolve KP. Cricket is a team sport, similar to teams one finds in the regular workplace. It is the norm for employees to plan resignations and retirements around the reasonable needs of the team. Similarly, KP and the ECB should have waited till the world cup this year to defend their 20/20 title (From the point of building a team for the 2015 ODI world cup, KP's timing cannot be questioned).

    Of course, KP wanted to do so and has only been prevented from playing in the world cup because of the contract clause. Sadly, with a little flexibility from both parties, we could have seen KP in action at the world cup. The blame lies equally

  • Jonathon Josephs on June 1, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    The reason why people are enraged at this is because of the reason he gave. The "rigors" of international cricket. The man is only 31 years old and has been in amazing form. It is also insulting because his decision came right after coming out of the IPL. The break between the Sri Lankan tour and the West Indian tour, he should have been resting his body. Instead, he played the IPL. Yet he chose to retire from England Limited Overs cricket and continue playing in the IPL. The IPL has snatched another player from International Cricket.