England's Pietersen dilemma

Magazine interview rebounds on Pietersen

David Hopps

August 30, 2012

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen play some expansive drives during his innings, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day, August 4, 2012
Kevin Pietersen: building the brand? © Getty Images
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Kevin Pietersen could find a dated interview comes back to haunt him when he tries to patch up his differences with England.

The ECB hierarchy will try to reach an understanding with Pietersen this weekend when Hugh Morris, England's managing director, and the director of cricket Andy Flower hold what is expected to be the first of several meetings.

As they seek confirmation of Pietersen's absolute commitment to England, they will be met with "fresh" criticism of their negative attitude towards IPL and read that he is revelling in his one-day retirement.

It was a brazenly confident Pietersen who spoke to The Cricketer magazine three weeks before the Headingley Test that brought about his downfall - and as that magazine is published this week, with his picture on the cover, he may cringe in hindsight at his comments.

Pietersen has since sworn allegiance to England in all forms of the game in a YouTube video, without his blandishments being returned, as England play hardball over what they regard as his disloyalty and disruptive influence.

But that love of the English season was not apparent when he spoke to the magazine three weeks before a Headingley Test against South Africa where his behaviour deepened divisions between him and his team-mates and led him to complain that it was "tough being me" in the England dressing room.

The magazine quotes him revelling in his enforced one-day retirement, referring to England's abandoned third ODI against West Indies: "Hey, a game called off in Leeds or 35 degrees on a beach in Portugal? It's a no-brainer."

Pietersen will find consolation in the fact that England's director of cricket, Andy Flower, has also called for an IPL window, but even so his veiled criticism of the ECB's hostile attitude towards the IPL will not please his masters.

"Test cricket is right up there, most definitely," he says, "but IPL and Twenty20 cricket is a matter of fact now. Every board has accepted it apart from the ECB, unfortunately. Some part of international cricket may have to give because the IPL is not going away. No one in their right mind would turn down the contracts I have been offered."

The implication, in his own words, that Pietersen is playing Test cricket largely to ensure his own brand awareness remains high will also leave England's managing director, Hugh Morris, aghast as he determines whether Pietersen can be part of a united dressing room under a new captain, Alastair Cook.

"The best players in Test cricket have got the best contracts in the IPL," he says. "You know that's where you build the brand."

Six weeks might have passed since he made those remarks, but when a new magazine is published, the words reappear as if they are still meant today. It is not about to make his negotiations any easier.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by maddy20 on (September 1, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

@VillageBlackmsith KP is possibly the best limited overs criketer in the current English team. Regardless of how much you BS about him, none of the Irish and other SA imports in the currnt team do not even one close. If England won their first T20 WC it is solely beause of that man. Now that he is gone, other teams will breathe a lot easier. As for admiring him, I never knew others are forbidden from liking good hard aggressive cricket, when the ECB thinks otherwise. You have to forgive me for that. Mark my words buddy. After ENgland is royally thrashed in the T20 WC and the India tour that follows, we will be the ones laughing our butt off and all those Poms taking cheap potshots at us will be off these forums. Regarding the rankings, as I am writing this, he is the only English player in the top 10 test batsman . http://www.relianceiccrankings.com/

Posted by   on (September 1, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

whats wrong if kp or anyone else wants to make money? what does the term professional cricketer mean? it means that's his profession and he needs to make the maximum amount of money from his profession. kp is right. ecb is being dumb in not recognising the ipl for the force it's become. and if kp wants to make his brand in the tests that's helping england cricket. becoz he will get more runs to make his brand and that will make his ipl brand as well. as i understand kp is an upfront guy who is not scared to speak his mind. he may not be right all the time but he says what's on his mind without being diplomatic or evasive. personally i like such guys who say what they want to say. sadly the ecb cannot handle people who speak their mind. they are only looking for sycophants.

Posted by   on (August 31, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

Why Can't england board choose players from their own country. Some people here are commenting over the ranking, but people forgot that he was in ALL time England X1.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 31, 2012, 20:18 GMT)

@ VillageBlacksmith- i have to habnd it to you. You claim to know me better than I know myself. Now that is arrogance!!! I am as English as anyone and tests are what I like the best. So...do yourself a favour and get off your sad little know all trip!!!

Posted by crickethung on (August 31, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

England is still living in the 19th century. Manage the difficult players, not get rid of them. You are just as dumb as west indies as with the Gayle issue. If it is difficult to handle....get rid of them. All forms of the game are here to stay. So not because you have a bias to one form or the other you treat it with slight. Can the ECB only manage ys men?

Posted by   on (August 31, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

Not to be rude, but if you don't have passion for the game then you don't know anything about test cricket. Please don't comment on test cricket unless you know what it's all about or go play football.

Posted by applethief on (August 31, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

"The best players in Test cricket have got the best contracts in the IPL," he says. "You know that's where you build the brand." - Everything you need to know about Kevin Pietersen right there,

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (August 31, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

@meety and maximum... kev has not been in the icc top 10 rankings for quite a while... and as I say, most eng fans have moved on... kev is only still an issue for non eng fans and ipl types as you are proving yet again..

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 31, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

@villageBlacksmith- Clutching at straws., mate, and plagued by a vivid imagination. KP may not be handleble in a rigid 2 dimensional system but if they bother to look after individual in a 3 dimensional system instead of trying to fit 1 size on all-very British-they may get somewhere witht the guy. After all ayou would not try and treat a gasfitter the same as a writer-or would you?

Posted by Meety on (August 31, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith - "... not even in the top 10..." - mate he is listed in the England All time XI!!!!

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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