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August 7, 2012

Don't rob us all of KP

Jarrod Kimber
Kevin Pietersen play some expansive drives during his innings, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day, August 4, 2012
Kevin Pietersen's hundred at Headingley was a typically violent game-changer  © Getty Images
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Recently I heard Michael Holding say that the players are the children and boards are the parents. It had nothing to do with Kevin Pietersen or the ECB but was about the disastrous relationship the WICB have with their senior players.

Cricket boards are usually run by older people, those with business or sports administration backgrounds. That, and their role as employer of the players, gives them a position an authority.

So when these very same people then spill the secrets of one of their own players for political or personal reasons, they should take the toughest fall.

KP has often been a bit of an idiot. He's an egotist. He likes money. Thinks of himself and his own interests more than most in a team environment. And does things on instinct. The ego, instinct and even the selfish nature of KP are part of what makes him a great batsman. He's far from the first great selfish batsman, in fact many of the greatest batsmen have obvious selfish tendencies. Just as many of the greatest cricketers have amazingly big egos. And instinctively doing things is how many athletes live.

But when KP walked into the ECB to speak about anything from captaincy issues, his future in the game or taking time off, no matter how stupid he was, no matter how insane and egotistical his claims were, he was within his right to believe that they stayed with his employers.

They haven't. Over and over again, KP's words have been fed to the media and not by the deputy assistant to the travelling secretary, but by people in high positions that should know and act better. Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt, and say that the leaks are accidental. It's just that they happen over and over again, and so it's either unprofessional accidental conduct, or a personal campaign against their own player.

While it's true KP is trying to - in his words - maximise his opportunities, it's not new. Money has always been a factor in cricket. Cricket's laws were founded on gambling. Amateurs were often paid more than professionals. Cricketers used to retire to get real jobs. Kerry Packer and rebel tours came about because of vast sums of money. And the latest instalment is when a player retires from international cricket to play in the IPL. If anything, KP is following in the footsteps of more than a few greats of the past.

Players have missed tours or Tests for resting, rehab, depression, family reasons and even to receive awards. In the past, players would miss Tests just because they didn't want to go to the subcontinent. Rodney Hogg liked being 12th man because he got paid the same and had more time to drink.

Even the rift in the changing room is nothing new. England changing rooms were segregated between amateur and pro, and old and new players. Big game players who cause a rift are not new either. Shane Warne openly didn't rate his coach and had a private feud with Australia's vice-captain, Adam Gilchrist. All players, regardless of their ability, need to be treated differently. The star of Swanny's diary is probably treated differently than Tim Bresnan.

Of recent times I've seen KP's two greatest hundreds. A hundred at P Sara in Colombo that gave England the chance to draw a series from behind and this hundred at Headingley. There is no back-up player, or even current player, that England have who has the ability to change a game so violently or anywhere near as fast. KP is something special.

He's also a professional athlete who only has so many years to make money from his trade. A young dad who wants to see his son. A cricketer who doesn't like ODI cricket that much. And a rash human being who makes his fair share of mistakes.

KP is not unique, he's just acted like a spoilt teenager who has been betrayed by his parents.

Both sides want what is best for themselves. Both sides have made mistakes. Both sides have egos and pride. I mean it's hard to say KP's ego is the only factor when the other side have Giles Clarke. What needs to happen now is a series of meetings with those inside keeping the information to themselves and trying to find a solution, not making scapegoats.

If KP stops playing for England, he robs himself of glory, the ECB rob themselves of a champion player, and the fans are robbed of something special.

KP leaving Test cricket for good is the worst situation for everyone involved, so why would anyone want that?

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

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Keywords: Controversy, Player management

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by KP fan on (August 21, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

Thank you Indian fans for not filling the comments area about SRT.

Posted by Louis Tevet on (August 16, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

Everyone else just turns up and plays. Being paid well for something you enjoy, excel at and are adulated for - what more could you want. Why make it so complicated.

Posted by Laura Angels on (August 10, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

KP though he is having a tough time with the situation (a row with ECB )but still you see he didn't take that state of mind in the ground while playing for England against South Africa in their 2nd test match.Can't ECB see how much is he loyal to his game and English Team .O.k he is demanding some relief for he needs it You see the most loyal people are treated as Knights(Honored and Praised)even by the Kings and the Queens . ECB should also treat him as a Royal Knight cause he is the only person who made English Cricket Team the Best. He is My Royal Knight will will remain the same for me Forever .Love You KP

Posted by peter on (August 10, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

How is that you never print my commnets. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure there are many who feel the same. I think you write the commnets and print it too. Shame on you.

Posted by A.Buckley on (August 9, 2012, 22:12 GMT)

It would be a shame if England were to lose KP just when his bowling is beginning to look useful. Strauss' embarassment as he kept getting people out was almost palpable...

Posted by faiz k on (August 9, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

KP has a reason to be arrogant , what is the excuse of the management ?

Posted by Sai Prasad on (August 9, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

I for one is suprised to see comments from English fans asking him to be sacked. Without this guy, you would have lost in SL, and lost the last test in SA. Kp is the guy who can attack the opposition into defensive mode. Really sad. After this fiasco I doubt whether any South African would be willing to play for England!

Posted by shahid on (August 9, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

Players like KP,Joanthan Trott and Eoin Morgan has infused new energy into England team. They are the one who brought England to their curent number one status. Players should be treated as individaul with thier needs and aspirations looked after.ECB is being too harsh on KP .

Posted by R.Srinivasan on (August 9, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

One of the find articles explaining a very balanced view. Whoever is commenting bad about KP, let them name atleast 10 players who are not selfish, money-minded and egoistic. The ECB has been acting childish by selectively leaking things only about KP. People with sane heads could have handled these things better, but unfortunately, none of the Cricket boards are headed by such people and that is the shame on the game.

Posted by Mark Wintour on (August 9, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

I think one of the main problems here is the length of the IPL. Why does it have to be two months? Giving all England players an IPL window, and then to add gaps in the international schedule for players to rest? You're suddenly left with significantly less time for international cricket.

And what about County Cricket? The ECB should have more of an obligation to that than the IPL.

I'd like a compromise to be found, but this should not involve the ECB caving in to all demands. And they have to be consistent with and fair to all players.

How about fewer international matches, with more time for rest, and a County Cricket window to support this vital part of English cricket?

Of course that won't work because all other boards have allowed an IPL window. English players are likely to demand the same.

The IPL is destroying cricket.

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