England's Pietersen dilemma

Selectors consider Pietersen omission

George Dobell

August 11, 2012

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen fell to the second ball of day four, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 4th day, August 5, 2012
Will England risk dropping Kevin Pietersen for the third Test against South Africa? © AFP

The stability that underpinned England's ascent to No. 1 in the Test rankings is most noticeably absent as they select their side for, arguably, the most important Test they have played since the Ashes were decided at The Oval in 2009.

For several years, the announcement of England's Test squad has been a welcomingly predictable episode. Barring injury or prolonged loss of form, life contained few surprises.

But not this time. This time, as England try to select a team that must beat South Africa at Lord's in order to retain their No. 1 status, the selectors are faced with a major dilemma: do they drop their best player or retain him in the knowledge that his presence risks compromising team spirit. In short, do Kevin Pietersen's positive qualities outweigh his negative ones?

The news that he has exchanged texts with members of the South Africa team comes in the same week that his post-match press conference at Headingley revealed the extent of the tension between the two parties.

There can be, at this stage, no doubt that Pietersen's presence is a distraction in the dressing room. As if the speculation about his possible World Twenty20 inclusion was not enough, there is also doubt about his Test future and his relationship with other players. Whatever the content of text messages sent to players in the South Africa side, the episode has done nothing to diminish the growing division and suspicion building between Pietersen and his England colleagues. Some of them have been ambivalent about Pietersen for some time. This new episode - an episode viewed as a betrayal by some - means that ambivalence is now one of the warmer emotions expressed towards him.

He is respected as a player, though. If there were any doubts over his unrivalled skills - in England, anyway - with the bat, they were dispelled in Leeds. Pietersen was magnificent. He played the sort of innings that would demand inclusion in any team.

That should probably be the bottom line for the selectors. Rather than over-complicating the process with talk of principle or team spirit, the selectors should stick to picking the best 11 individuals and trust in the players' professionalism. Just as Pietersen and Andy Flower managed to work together after the debacle that saw Pietersen sacked as captain - and he was sacked as captain whatever revisionist ECB spin may suggest - and Peter Moores sacked as coach, so the players should be mature enough to work with those with which they may not naturally socialise.

In truth, recent stories amount to little more than playground tittle-tattle. Does it really matter if a few England team-mates laughed at a parody Twitter account or if Pietersen was mildly mocking of his team-mates in a private text message? It is surely more important that everyone within the England dressing room concentrates on winning the Test and does not use issues from the past week to further their own agendas against rival factions.

There is little doubt that the selectors are torn, though. Their appetite for Pietersen-related baggage is more than sated. If they could afford to be rid of him, they would surely take that chance.

There are faults on both sides. Pietersen has a legitimate gripe by complaining about leaks emanating from the ECB and it is hard not to wonder if, in a more sophisticated dressing room, he might not have been managed better. Surely Mike Brearley, for example, might have coaxed the best from him as he did such diverse characters as Sir Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott and Phil Edmonds. Perhaps a little more carrot and a little less stick might have worked wonders on Pietersen?

England, it should be noted, have won without Pietersen before. He played little role in the Ashes success of 2009 and none in the recent ODI victories over Australia. He is no more irreplaceable than any other England player of the past and, just as West Indies managed without Sobers and Australia managed without Bradman, England will manage without Pietersen.

Chris Woakes celebrates taking a wicket, County Championship, Division One, Uxbridge, 1st day, August 1, 2012
Chris Woakes is an option should England want to include an allrounder in the side © Getty Images

He is not easy to replace, though. With Ravi Bopara still absent for personal reasons - an episode that may have damaged his own Test career irreversibly - there is no obvious replacement for Pietersen. Jonny Bairstow, fresh from his century against Australia A, might be considered, so might Eoin Morgan, who has the character if not the technique to flourish at this level.

Chris Woakes is a more rounded solution. If Pietersen were dropped, Ian Bell, James Taylor and Matt Prior could shuffle up a position with Woakes coming in at No. 7. It is asking a great deal of anyone to come into such an important game against such high-quality opposition but Woakes has the ability, with bat and with ball, to shine. Just as importantly, he has a rock solid character that will not be flustered by the occasion. England will never have a moment of worry about the ego of Woakes.

Graeme Swann is sure to be named in the team on Thursday - omitting him at Leeds was a huge error of judgement - with a late choice required over which of Steven Finn, Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan plays alongside Stuart Broad and James Anderson. All are likely to be named in the squad, with home ground advantage likely to favour Finn, despite a disappointing display at Leeds.

Whatever is revealed in Sunday's squad announcement, it seems we are coming to the end of the Pietersen story. In the long term, we may reflect on the episode as one of the great wasted opportunities in the history of England cricket. Talents like Pietersen appear rarely. That the ECB have failed to handle him - a man who must be considered one of their most precious resources - does not reflect well on them.

Make no mistake, though. However much England cricket misses Pietersen over the coming weeks and months, he will miss it more. His premature departure, at this point seemingly inevitable, will leave him many years to reflect upon the mistakes that have led him so far along this path. He will surely come to regret that he has allowed his pride and a series of petty incidents to have built up into a career-threatening scenario.

Pietersen might also reflect long and hard on his own role in his alienation. As Oscar Wilde almost said, to fall out with one team may be considered unfortunate, but to fall out with Natal, Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and England? You do not have to be a genius to work out the common denominator.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 11, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

I'm not sure if anything further has gone on behind the scenes. If not , it would seem strange to trust a player for the 1st 2 tests but not the 3rd test , especially after his 2st inns in the last one. If he is not picked then we must presume that further issues have happened.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 11, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

@Sunil Prasad on (August 11 2012, 16:31 PM GMT) I thought (acc to many comms on here) it was the start of England's downfall after he retired from ODIs/T20s. I think we're unbeaten in 8 or 9 since he retired and I know there will sure be times when we struggle without him but we're not doing so bad in ODIs/T20s so far

Posted by JG2704 on (August 11, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

@Jim1207 on (August 11 2012, 15:19 PM GMT) I wouldn't put the blame on KP if Eng don't level the series. Who actually knows what is said in the dressing room besides the players and coaching staff? Also what are the concerns/problems he raised exactly?

Posted by mcthots on (August 11, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

No one started this situation for KP but only him self may be he's thinking of playing for southafrica instead to make him self in to head lines AGAIN!

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 11, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

None of us for sure knows what is going on in the dressing room. What we do know is that KP thinks "its not easy being me." Of course he is of high value n a common ground should be found BUT I think the same thing would be done for Ian Bell (the most complete batsman in the Eng team), Trott (the solution to Eng long time #3 prob), Anderson (their leading quick), Prior (equally as irreplaceable since he is arguably the best test keeper-bat in the world) and Swann (does Eng have a better spinner...who can field? (sorry Monty). If we the fans, KP, or the Eng management feel that KP is the only Eng player who is mighty tough to replace n thus needs "special attention" there should be a re-think. Just so u know, Bell is my favorite Eng batsman n credit to him how he selflessly opened in the ODI's vs a good Aus side, in the midst of the KP drama n was very successful. Still he goes a bit under-appreciated. KP is a game changer but not more precious than Bell n others I hav mentioned.

Posted by Mcroos on (August 11, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

he is a south african!!!!! born in durban

Posted by bumsonseats on (August 11, 2012, 19:02 GMT)

you got to be joking leaving KP out of such a important game.george are you stoking the fire or is this a serious piece. has the feelings between him and some of the others got that bad, i know KPs a tit but this is beyond a joke. lets get this game over then let him go his way. great player but his attitude stinks.

Posted by ravikiran.bits on (August 11, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Its end of ENGLISH cricket if its and end to pitersen

Posted by epochery on (August 11, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

My opinions on Pieterson the criketer and the man are somewhat different. As much as I owuld love to see him continue in the English side I believe his actions have made this impossible. He has become a disruption to this team. As has been suggested his position should be taken up by Woakes alhtough it is a pity Tayor was not given a run in the side earlier becasue i fear Taylor batting at five with only one test innings to his name is what is a crucial test for England is taking a risk. But even if ngland do not manage to win the last test, by making this move, it will tell all professionals out thee that this is a team game and no one is above the team.

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (August 11, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

Not a nice situation for England fans to observe, and both sides are at fault. Those who are suggesting Pietersen should be allowed to do basically whatever he wants because he is a cricket "genius" have a very limp definition in mind of that particular term. Bradman and Sobers were geniuses. Tendulkar and Warne are or were by comparison just very good. KP? In comparison he has a genius only for starting arguments, as Mr. Dobell implies. However, there's no question that England have managed him badly for four years, ever since the ridiculous decision to make him captain and then force him out from the same post a few months later. KP may not be bigger than the England team, but he may well be too big a problem for the limited management abilities of the ECB to handle.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

players of peitersen's caliber should be respected!!!!! these types of players rarely appear at the international level!!!! ECB and pietersen both should think about this through negotiations between them if they did not solve this matter quickly!!!!! this might have a very nagative impact on ECB and peitersen itself!!!!!

Posted by puppalagopikrishna on (August 11, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

"It is true that all the world is watching england cricket because of kp(king of play)............" the cricket was born in england but from that time to 2010 they doesn't manage to win a single icc event,but because of my hero kp they have win the t20 world cup...........if there is no kp the england will be at the 9th spot sharing 9th rank with bangladesh in points table thats for sure...at the time kp enters into england team when they are ranked 6 in odi and 5 in tests but now at this time when kp is going to leave the team the ranking is 1 in all formats..............thats kp for u..........i proud to be the fan of kp...........anybody in that team can't replace him because he is daring and dashing............hatsoff to u my god.......we will missss uuuuuuuuuuu darling..........

Posted by TRIN999 on (August 11, 2012, 18:31 GMT)

One thing I realised,"ECB" is simply searching for reasons to face the media after the 3rd test.Most probably SA is going to win ,it seems as if a draw will be too good for the "Green Mambas",and after that they will give some silly reasons like there was no harmony in the team,or someone like Swann will come out and say he doesn't deserve to be in the team,like he had earlier said KP was not meant to be the English captain.

Posted by depp17 on (August 11, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

Not sure what it means to the selectors but for me, KP is all, Cricket is about , If I am still watching english cricket it is just because of KP and his presence. His presence in the 2nd spot in the team has made wonders for England. He has to carry that attitute and that suits him the best, KP all cheers to you. I am sure there are good test players in english team like Cook, bell and trott but if he is gone the team will be a debacle.

Posted by depp17 on (August 11, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

Not sure what it means to the selectors but for me, KP is all, Cricket is about , If I am still watching english cricket it is just because of KP and his presence. His presence in the 2nd spot in the team has made wonders for England. He has to carry that attitute and that suits him the best, KP all cheers to you. I am sure there are good test players in english team like Cook, bell and trott but if he is gone the team will be a debacle.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

Why not KP return to play for SA??

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 11, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Amid all this brouhaha, I think it's pertinent to remember that KP has a track record when it comes to management. He seems to think that he is a special case, no matter where he is. Ask Notts. Ask Hants. Ask Peter Moores. Now he's decided to seek solace in the Saffer camp by sending them texts about his captain & manager. If any employee decided to act in this way, would you expect his management to tolerate it? BTW, I note with wry amusement that several Indian fans have such a high opinion of him that they think that the whole problem is to do with management not caving in to his spoilt-child-like demands. Well, that's what you do in India - put the individual before the team, so of course you are unlikely to understand it. That is not the way we behave in UK where contracts are contracts and no one can tear it up without first realising that there are consequences to such actions. KP should realise that if he does as he's always done, he'll get what he's always got: shown the door.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

i hope England get this KP fiasco sorted out soon, but that will mean another will will arise in a month's time, KP is a problematic great batsman ... idk what will happen but i feel KP days are over, i hope im wrong, great player are integral for success but so does stability so ECB has to choose great performances over stability !! KP has to go if that's the case, Bye KP, England will stay make it without you

Posted by screamingeagle on (August 11, 2012, 17:49 GMT)

Selectors and Cricket board officials. They are as a certain cricketer once said..''are a bunch of jokers''. Talk about blowing thigs up beyond reason. Let the guy play. Simple as that. Oh, and try not to needle him too much. The team and the English are as much to blame as Pietersen in this. Quite silly, and your Eng team will live to repent this as the turning point where they went from a No.1 team to average.

Posted by StJohn on (August 11, 2012, 17:49 GMT)

Few people will really know what goes on in the dressing room, but if there's discord, disharmony or animosity, then it's not nice for anyone. Attributing blame is probably pointless: all involved will have made some contribution to the situation; there are two sides to every story. Most problems of human communication can be solved through frank, fair and candid dialogue, if the parties are prepared to compromise: nobody can get everything they want from genuine negotiation. In a team it's not easy to have different rules for different players, but KP has such rare genius (he reminds me of O'Sullivan in snooker: perhaps the most naturally gifted talent in that sport) that I hope both he, the ECB and his colleagues can get to a happier place. In the long run though, KP may regret early retirement most: to look back and spend the rest of your life considering that you might have been able to turn genius into legend would probably be a constant source of regret.

Posted by bennybow on (August 11, 2012, 17:44 GMT)

Common denominator? How about George has no 1st hand knowledge of what went on in those teams mentioned? How about poor management? Note that George has to go back 30 years to find a captain who has quality. No doubt the media witch hunt will continue, as it did for Boycott, Botham, Edmonds, Flintoff, oh yes, and Beckham, Gascoigne etc etc

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

Do the selectors drop KP from the side? No. Will the ECB string KP up and sell him down the river? Most likely. Whichever way you look at it, the moment the ECB shove KP aside will be the day I cancel any bookings I have with any Test Venue. He's the reason why bars are emptied and grounds sell out, and if you see an innings like the one he played at Headingley you instantly know he's the best player for taking a game to and away from any opposition anywhere in any conditions and in all forms of the game.

In short, if he's dropped, England can forget me watching the Test Match. The media will string KP along as they've always done irrespective of the decision. It's gone on long enough and it's getting long in the tooth. Write about something else. We no longer need to talk about Kevin UNLESS it's about his innings of sheer class. Go earn your bread writing about ducks swimming in a lake.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

Can pakistan have 'em? please ECB let it happen....

Posted by jackiethepen on (August 11, 2012, 17:29 GMT)

The Indian fans love KP more than the England ones at the moment. If he leaves England then he will spend more time at the IPL and maybe he will even play in an Indian league? They can see him play as often as they like. You just have to hope he doesn't start making scenes at his new club or with the Delhi Daredevils? Then they may see him in a different light. Good batsman yes, good cricketer no. He has just trashed the England team to the opposition. Surprised that Dobell thinks this is on a par of following a twitter account set up as a joke by nobody connected with the side. Ian Bell has been mocked by all and sundry but just carries on. He made a false stroke and it was described as a bag of vomit in a washing machine by Cricinfo writer Kimber. Kimber of course was full of praise for KP. At the Oval it was Bell who buckled down for five hours to try to save the day why KP made a few false strokes and got out without much of a fight. No vomit bag for him though.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

Kevin is one of the best batsmen England has ever had ! A South African trying to stop South Africa get to No.1. Now ain't that team spirit ? Respect Kevin !

Posted by Narkovian on (August 11, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

I notice that quite a few of the most vehement pro- Pietersen comments come from apparently NON English sources. In this day and age we seem to forget what real heroes( sporting or otherwise) should be. Have some humility. Like Federer, Bobby Moore, Henry Cooper, Michael Johnson, Tendulkar. Not strut around like a peacock - saying "look at me". He is of course a very good ( great? - probably not) player. BUT and a big but, his presence in the dressing room is obviously a disaster. He is obviously not wanted there. Why ? Not because he is better than them, but because he makes it obvious he regards the rest as inferior. Sorry folks, its a team game. Andy Flower shouldnt have to "deal with him". He should sort himself out. Get rid of him now. You folks in in IPL and Big Bash enjoy... good luck with him.

Posted by crisis_man on (August 11, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

Most of the people complainig about KP's attitude towards his employers and saying they would get fired if they did that to their bosses..just ask yourself one question-are you the best in this entire world in your business/profession? he definitely is & so he deserves what he's asking for! Plus, he's asking for special treatment after 7 long dedicated years in which he won you the Ashes after two decades & won you the first ever gloabal trophy something no one else could do! Its like the DRS technology that BCCI is opposing for reasons known only to them! Something is better than nothing, be it KP or DRS!!

Posted by tinkertinker on (August 11, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

Have to laugh at all the Indian guys defending kp because he's an enthusiastic ipl cheerleader, reverse things lets say tendulkar sold out india and his teammates so he could play 20/20 cricket in england would you guys still support him?

Posted by dwblurb on (August 11, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

As an Australian supporter I hope England hang on to KP for as long a s possible. But I think they will do the right thing by the team and ditch the prima donna. He can then play the victim card in the same way he has done after every other team he has played for 'wronged' him. No doubt a lucrative career in the IPL backwater beckons, but I doubt the memories of hitting club medium-pacers for DLF maximums on postage stamp-sized grounds will sustain him in his dotage.

Posted by santosh89 on (August 11, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

its very bad to see the career of one of the great cricketer on the verge of end because of personal ego clash ....ECB should resolve the issue but i would love to see england loses the number one spot ...:D

Posted by crisis_man on (August 11, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

On what basis would you consider dropping a player who has Man of the Match against arguably the bet side in the world? Selection in the team for each match should only be for cricketing reasons & not on the basis of some rubbish ego problem of the Board! Different individuals have requirements! A strandard contract cannot address so please show some imagination and sort things out with KP.DOn't rob the fans of that genius please! We love him.

Posted by crisis_man on (August 11, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

Please value the fans, you admisnistrators of the game! you may think of him as brash, arrogant, self_centred but he's the one making money for you, whatever it is, we fans love him for what he is!! honest & upfront. Half the viewership for English cricket is created only because KP plays! and if he has problems with the admisnistrators, change administrators!! If anyone has to step down, its them for handling this issue so poorly! They're not the ones faced with the amount of pressure that a batsman faces when he's fighting a lone battle against world's best attack! Please don't let KP go! his pros outweigh his cons by a huge margin!!

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

England and the ECB should accomodate the genius that Pietersen is.

Pietersen loves Test cricket and the excitement & drama of the IPL. The ECB should release Pietersen for all IPL matches.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

I really do hope ENG drop their best player for the Lords test.. SA for the number 1 spot.

Posted by crisis_man on (August 11, 2012, 16:44 GMT)

Millions of people in India watch England play cricket only for Kevin Pietersen! don't rob us of that genius. And playing in the IPL over a test series against NZ is definitely not a money issue! May be KP likes the atmosphere, the challenge that IPL gives. Many of us like one job more than others. In case of KP's case its just that he's also getting paid a fortune for that other job. But for a person of his class, he surely won't make a decision for money alone & even if he does just ask yourself have you never done that? KP's a human after all...a very talented one though! and if he misses a single test series against a no.8 ranked test team, it would give a younger guy an opportunity too with no risk of losing the series!

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (August 11, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Too many incidents to continue in the team, sorry to say it but drop him and bring in Woakes. Englands improvement over recent years has been base on a strong team ethic and KP is trying to garner a deal that will damage the team politics.

Posted by mydearoldthing on (August 11, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

" trust in the players' professionalism"... what professional signs a contract for 12 months then 8 month's in retires from half of his obligations, suffers no financial consequences of this then has a 'justifiable'(?) complaint if 'not being looked after'? try that one on your boss on Monday and see if it flies, no matter how important you are in the company I think we all know the outcome

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

a pitty story but As Oscar Wilde almost said

Posted by meenuraghu on (August 11, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Scyld Berry recently mentioned that the title of best coach in Test cricket is being contested by England's Andy Flower and South Africa's Gary Kirsten. Gary Kirsten is winning hands down. Gary dealt very carefully with all the members of the Indian team taking them to No 1 position and winning the world cup. Though none of them are like KP in temperament, it must not have been very easy. He looked after everyone from veteran Tendulkar to new comer Kohli. There wasn't a set way for all. He is now helping SA on it way to No. 1. Flower appears to be highly principled but lacks imagination on how to deal with KP. Also, I haven't heard him or Strauss or for that matter others in the team showing concern about the leaks by ECB. I would be wary of having such employers. It is laughable that they are now concerned about private texts. Shane Warne had his differences with the coach/players but it was handled well enough for him to play and also make friend with Tendulkar. Let KP play.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

Staggering! This seems to have happened so often before in the England camp. John Snow & Phil Edmonds immediately spring to mind. You go down to the pub for a drink with your pals. You play to win if you are a professional test cricketer. Not sure about Strauss as Capt. Give any captain the 2008-2011 side and they would have done well. Strauss is no Brearley!

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

One of the worst Management I have ever seen... I hate this ECB. They dont know how to treat and respect the WORLD class player!!!. We dont want to miss our Mr. GREAT CRICKETER!!

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

This is the start of Englands down fall. Pieterson is a natural choice in any team of the world. Mistake of pieterson is to be born in England. Pieterson please go back to south africa as we all the cricket loving people love to see you play which ever team you play for.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

I want k.p.to play 4 southafrica in d future...k.p.has been missing j.kallis & dale steyn whom he called d greatest cricketer ever & called present south african team as 'fighters',whch doesn't go well wid strauss & flower...

Posted by ajayrcs on (August 11, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

Replace him with Morgan. Pietersen just a hype created by people but he is no good as cricketer.

Posted by mzshan78 on (August 11, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

This is all rubbish, KP is the best of the lot. ECB should recognise the fact that during KP's time what England have achieved is something they could not achieve in rest of the English cricket's history. KP is unarguably the best cricketer ever played for England there is no comparisons with others in the same team at the moments (rest are seasonal players while KP is a class to watch, He is a Crowd puller).As far as my memory works KP had said during IPL that ECB should be flexible enough to groom their players in a grand event like IPL by making sure their players participate in largely recognised the best premier league. this was KP's recognition of the greatness of event which ECB did not like and called him back home merely for preparation as though he was not playing cricket in IPL. this is not a loss of a player this would be a loss to cricket ECB shame

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (August 11, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

Dump him. They hate him so just make sure of it. Force his retirement and make him go back to South Africa, where he can play first class cricket there, be a professional T20 cricketer around the world and, in 4 years, maybe he can play for South Africa. England have been jerks to him so why should he stay?

Posted by LeftBrain on (August 11, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

Pietersen reminds me of Shoaib Akhter, great talent, ridiculous personality..... he wont be missed, rest assured. His talent is one thing, but how many games he won single-handedly for England? you can count on figures of one hand!!! besides, England is going down-hills regardless, his presence, or lack of it, wont make any difference. He is around since 7 years and England lost more tests then won despite his presence.

Posted by unregisteredalien on (August 11, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

Where's the line between selection and management? If Pietersen is dropped now, it can only be for reasons other than his performance on a cricket field. In that case, the selectors would not be making such a decision by themselves, if they were involved in it at all. Seems a bit like an excuse for another sensationalist KP piece and attempt to predict the time and manner of his exit. Hardly helpful to the cause of English cricket or to the man himself - not that I care too much about that!

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

Pathetic on English team selection. No English team is complete without KP. Eng will be sore losers.

Posted by battingaboveyouraverage on (August 11, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Replace Pietersen with what? Morgan, Bopara, Bairstow, Woakes? Fan of Ravi & Chris, but they can't fill Pietersen's shoes (fact). Strauss the most uninspiring captain ever for all his failures he should've been dropped long ago and handed the captaincy to Cook. Dropping Swann in the last test, which pitch were they looking at? While we are on Swann didn't he write a book discussing dressing room and team mates? Fact is Kevin is not bigger than England, but you can't replace him with the twaddle you have as no one has his skill or charisma with the bat. When I go to watch England I can't wait to see Cook, Pietersen and Bell bat. If I was playing against England the two biggest wickets I'd want are Cook and Pietersen. Dropping him will mean England selectors still call the shots for the future.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

Both india and england have found out how tough it is to stay at the top for a long period...india suffered heavy losses simply because they didnt have a long term plan...they persisted with oldies like dravid and laxman and result is for everyone to see...what teams need to understand is no player is more important than the team...stability within the team is far more important than anything else...pietersen has been a disruptive influence on the team and deserves to be punished...yes he was the top scorer in the previous game but no amount of runs will repair the damage that his relationship with the board and the team members is causing...english officials need to realise that their team got to the no.1 position with everyone's contribution not just pietersen's...unity within the team is more important than anything else and distractions such as this one will only have a negative impact on their performance

Posted by Exfactor44 on (August 11, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

I think Pieterson should be dropped. For a long time he has been a destabilizing influence in the team and England have constantly been forced to weigh up whether dealing with his personality issues is worth the chance of another performance.

If you contrast him with other players, almost everything he talks about centres around him: What he wants, when he wants it and why it should be given to him.

However I look at KP or try to empathize with him, be it KP the struggling genius or otherwise, I find it difficult to place him in a unified focused team.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

England MUST approach this vital, series defining game with a UNITED FRONT. They don't need any distractions ahead of their monumental challenge of beating a thus far superior team. They must work as a team, not as individuals. Pietersen is a magnificent player, but to mention him in the same breath as Sobers and Bradman is doing our noble sport a grave injustice! I would argue that Pietersen should be dropped for this game, and his future should be discussed (and hopefully resurrected) during discussions post series. England need to go in with a positive mindset of picking a team capable of taking 20 wickets. Chris Woakes is one for the future, but it is unrealistic to expect him to make an impact in a one off game of this importance. England should take a gamble. A top 6 of Strauss, Cook, Trott, Bell, Taylor and Prior should be able to make enough runs on a flat Lords track. Then pick the 5 most attacking bowlers available: Broad, Swann, Finn, Andersen, Onions. Game on!

Posted by AjayB on (August 11, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

Do what the coach of the 4 x 100 women's relay team did for the Americans. Took the best four and made them perform at an optimal level. The KP saga is as much a failure of the team management as anyone else's. I, for one, will not blame KP one bit. That he is an egotistic prima donna is well documented. That he is an exceptional player is even better documented. The coach's job is to stoke egos and handle high calibre players and elicit synergies out of them. See what a Gary Kirsten is able to achieve and what Greg Chappell did. It would be a shame and an excercise in pathetic team management if KP were to be dropped - because such a move will not do anyone any good. I would tend to agree with KP that the team management failed him. Of what value is the think tank if it is not able to anticipate such an outburst and mitigate the damage either before or after it happens? The mantra "everyone is equal" is not true. Some are always more equal than others and people have to live with it.

Posted by anuradha_d on (August 11, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

on what basis will they drop him ?.....because sent an sms to SA players whose contents cannot be legally validated ??........or to appear to be in conrol and sack himin the guise of some rules ( whihc ones)...knowing very well that he is gonna go anyway?......how else would they justify droppping a man whose last inning on overseas soil ( in Lanka) saved them from losing their No.1 ranking as did his last test match on home soil

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

.. do they drop their best player or retain him in the knowledge that his presence risks comprising team spirit.

What are you trying to say?

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

ecb has taken a good decision by the way he was speaking. but a very poor decison for the team and they will miss him a lot in the whole indian tour and the left pretoras series. bye bye pietersen don't think we will see u on tv live now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by sohaibahmad on (August 11, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

some players dont realise how lucky they are to play cricket at this level successfuly, they are always have some issue to grind, something to complain abouit, not enough rest, not enough money etc. there are thousands of qualty players who never had a chance to play the top level cricket and i think any player who is not thankful, should be immediatly replaced

Posted by Rafelgibt on (August 11, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

Come on what are thinking about????????Just omit this selfish cricketer........He is no longer deserve to be played for ENG>>>>

Posted by Jim1207 on (August 11, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

While you think of Pietersen as a distraction, did you try to notice what are other serious distractions lurking inside the english dressing room or board politics that led him to this situation? in what way would you consider England's ascent in rankings as stable one? It might have been stable so far because Pietersen kept his cool for the country to take precedence before everything even his ego. Now that he has come out talking frankly, he is termed as distraction in the dressing room and he needs to be sacked? Would sacking pietersen solve the problem even if other players play well and win 3rd test? If that happens, media would term him as the sole reason for every single problem that has come out. If England could not win 3rd test and they lose the series, he again would be accused of main reason for the debacle. Either way, you go wrong if you do not acknowledge the concerns raised by him and try to resolve those problems rather than putting all the blame on this chap.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (August 11, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

Pietersen should be punished for his insubordination. No one is bigger than the collective. Pietersen's actions are jeopardising the 5 year plan.

Posted by dheerajshetty on (August 11, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

Bad news for England, a quality like Kevin Pieterson who is at the peak of his cricketing career cannot be dropped.

Posted by   on (August 11, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

set pietersen free... let him be the next chris gayle. let him travel around the world..

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