England October 6, 2012

KP's non-apology apology

In which England's star batsman bowls a googly

Big Brother Flower is watching you. Well probably not you, unless you happen to have a central contract, in which case he definitely is. Or at least, he's following you on Twitter, he knows where you live and he has someone whose job it is to rewrite your biographies. And I'd definitely take a closer look at that complimentary porcelain statuette of WG Grace that the ECB sent you; the one that keeps making those clicking and whirring sounds.

Most people who leave Team England are never heard of again. But although English players are brought up to know that they are dispensable, it seems some players are less dispensable than others. Recently, KP discovered that life in the commentary box is not as exciting as Bob Willis said it would be. Coincidentally, around the same time, Team England realised they hadn't got any batsmen. Rapprochement was on the cards.

And so it was that on Thursday, Giles Clarke of the Inner Party read out a statement to the effect that the ECB are satisfied that Winston Pietersen didn't convey any derogatory messages about the England captain, the England Team Director, the ECB, Andrew Strauss' friends, his caddie, his chauffeur, his cocker spaniel Elizabeth or his choice of new wallpaper for the second bathroom. And then it was Kevin's big moment.

Now the apologiser has many options. He can go for the simple: "I'm sorry I spilt my Bolognese sauce all over your new blouse," or the heartfelt: "Forgive me darling, I was a fool! I'll never vote Liberal Democrat again!" Then there's the politician's apology: "Of course, I take full responsibility, but…"; the lukewarm apology: "I'm sorry if my behaviour directly or indirectly led to you being upset," or even the ice cold apology: "I'm sorry you're upset."

But KP appears to have invented the non-apology apology.

"I apologise for the situation that has arisen."

I like it. Perhaps I should have tried it all those years ago, when my football broke the window of a neighbour:

"I am sorry for the situation that has arisen, regarding the broken window and the ensuing recriminations. However, I can give a binding assurance that I did not break the vase with an axe, a mace, a spade, a hand grenade or a stuffed badger, so I hope we can draw a line under the whole thing and move on. And can I have my ball back please?"

Even taking it at face value, the statement was confusing. He was apologising for the situation. But the situation is that he has been thrown out of the England team. Since the ECB is responsible for the situation, shouldn't they be apologising?

The only thing that all parties were agreed upon is that somebody needs to apologise for something because drastic situations require drastic measures and nothing is more drastic for a man than admitting in public that he was sort of wrong. In this sense, Kevin's apology is not really an apology as we know it; it's a verbal sacrificial offering, a lucky charm with which it is hoped Team England will be able to ward off the threat of civil war in the dressing room.

And while we're on the subject of not really apologising, it is also worth noting that Giles Clarke once again failed to apologise for not returning the £2.2 million that his organisation accepted from a man who organised "a fraud of shocking magnitude" and who is currently serving a 110-year jail sentence in a federal prison. An oversight, I'm sure.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England