August 26, 2012

English cricket

How to deal with Kevin

Andrew McGlashan

The major issue in English cricket, the future of Kevin Pietersen, continues to rumble along as the two parties prepare for the next stage of trying to reach a conclusion. As ever, Pietersen is splitting opinion with few being able to agree on the best way forward.

In the Sunday Telegraph, Steve James says that Pietersen has made some major errors but is starting realise his errors but he has to be honest with Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower.

Pietersen has been a fool. But it was instructive to see him at the Kia Oval last Tuesday, playing for Surrey against Glamorgan in the Tom Maynard tribute match. He was charm and politeness personified. He spoke generously with his opponents at such a difficult time. Of his own will, he signed hundreds of autographs. And he did not have a tense exchange of views with Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain beforehand. Rather he expressed his contrition, especially at his upsetting captain Andrew Strauss.

Meanwhile, in the Observer, Vic Marks says that both sides need to take a pragmatic solution to get Pietersen back in the team for the good of the game with his results on the field the most important point.

Overseas Richard Hadlee won a Test for New Zealand at Christchurch in 1987 against the mighty West Indies when he and his captain, Jeremy Coney, were not talking. (It was alleged that Hadlee had defied the team's agreements by not sharing his winnings.) Shane Warne merrily denigrated his coach, John Buchanan, in public, yet kept being picked.

Before today's brave, new world pragmatism usually ruled, which made life simpler. It enabled Geoffrey Boycott, Graham Gooch, Ian Botham, Andrew Flintoff or even Hadlee to continue being selected even if they contravened the odd "principle". At the end of the last football season the pragmatic approach may not have done much harm to Manchester City, Roberto Mancini or Carlos Tevez.

Matt Prior was the England player who picked up the phone to Pietersen to try and resolve the situation and his actions have been praised with some suggesting it shows an England captain in the making. In his column for the Sunday Telegraph, Prior says that he would love the challenge but has complete faith in Andrew Strauss.

I am not a big reader of the press but after the fiftieth person texted me earlier this week to say that an ex-England captain had said some nice things about me, I did have a look. Do I want to captain England? Anybody would.

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Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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