August 25, 2012

Kevin Pietersen and a microphone

A story of self-love, snippiness, and scuffles with D Morrison

Alex Bowden's cleverly conceived expose earlier this week was not only jolly funny, it had the additional virtue of being informative. After being given the inside scoop on how KP's team of advisors go about their work, everything is clear. What other explanation could there be for his decision to take a job as commentator at the World Twenty20, than that a coin had been tossed in a Durban hotel room. A rational response to such an offer at this particular career moment would surely be a polite no. But the coin had spoken.

It is an intriguing prospect. I'm not sure if Danny Morrison has been enlisted for this particular Asian jolly, but the prospect of a Pietersen-Morrison commentary axis holds a terrible fascination, like the entrance to a recently uncovered ancient Egyptian tomb or perhaps the opening scenes of a notorious horror film. It will be dark, it will be spine-chilling and there will be a certain amount of screaming, but you'd still like to know how it turns out.

Then again, given Kevin's somewhat less-than-affable personality, how long will it be before he has alienated his fellow microphone jockeys? Viewers tuning in for some top-quality Twenty20 action might instead find themselves treated to long awkward silences, showy on-air resignations and the occasional scuffle in the booth.

And how precisely will his return to the England fold be helped along by spending two weeks pointing out that Ian Bell is holding his bat wrong and that Ravi Bopara isn't playing the switch hit enough? Not a great deal I suspect, although we could have some fun reading between the lines and filling in a few more names on our "Kevin's Cricket Enemies" wall charts.

On the face of it, it's hard to see why he doesn't get on with the rest of the England team. I've never met them so I'm no position to judge, but they seem a harmless enough bunch, perhaps a touch pleased with themselves, but then they'd plenty to be pleased about. At least they did until recently. In fact, I'd say that Kevin's dislike for his team-mates was almost entirely irrational. I say "almost" because the man who will be leading England's Twenty20 defence in Sri Lanka has not done himself any favours this week with the following tweet:

"Just heard Ocean Drive by the Lighthouse Family and it has made my day! Proper tune!"

The Lighthouse Family? Seriously? Did Michael Holding spend his spare moments kicking back to the easy listening stylings of Barry Manilow? Does Dale Steyn have the complete works of Daniel O'Donnell on his iPod? It's no wonder you were falling short pace-wise this summer, Stuart. If that's the kind of thing you've been listening to, I'm surprised you managed to stay conscious. The Lighthouse Family? I suggest an emergency diet of raw meat and thrash metal for the next six months if you want to avoid that fateful April day when you open the new Wisden and find yourself listed as "medium-fast".

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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