England news May 23, 2012

Pietersen fined for Twitter outburst


Kevin Pietersen has been fined an undisclosed sum for comments he made on Twitter about Nick Knight following a disciplinary hearing involving Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, and team director Andy Flower.

Pietersen has made no secret about his disagreements with Knight, the former England batsman who is now a Sky Sports commentator, and recently posted this remark. "Can somebody please tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for the Tests?? Ridiculous."

An ECB statement said: "The hearing considered recent comments made by Pietersen on Twitter to be prejudicial to the interests of the ECB and a breach of the England player conditions of employment in relation to clauses regarding public statements.

"Pietersen has been fined an undisclosed sum, part of which has been suspended for 12 months, in accordance with the terms and conditions of his England central contract."

Andrew Strauss, speaking ahead of the second Test against West Indies, said Twitter would throw up these situations. "There are always shades of grey," he told Sky Sports. "It does a really good publicising job but players can find themselves in hot water occasionally. There's a line they need to tread. You will get occasions when people slip up and they will be dealt with accordingly."

Pietersen's animosity is thought to originate from Knight's suggestion when his form was at its lowest that he was no longer worth a place in England's one-day side.

In January, Sky agreed a new four-year deal to show live international and county cricket believed to be worth about £280 million ($440 million) betrween 2013-17 with an option for a further two years. The deal provides the bulk of the ECB's income.

The ECB punishment of a player for rubbishing a member of the media is at the very least out of character, and perhaps unique. The justification is said to be that that Pietersen sinned for making a sweeping generalisation about Knight's ability as a commentator rather than attacking a specific comment.

Earlier this week Pietersen was asked whether he considered leaving Twitter. "No, not at all, no. I won't stop, no," he said.

It is the second time Pietersen has found himself in trouble over Twitter after he reacted to being dropped from the one-day squad in 2010 with an outburst which he said was meant to be sent as a private message to a friend. "Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20, and dropped from the T20 side too. It's a f**k-up ..." He was fined an undisclosed sum on that occasion, too.

In 2009 Tim Bresnan also caused controversy when he swore at a follower. He later apologised to Flower who said at the time: "If you are an England player you have obviously got to behave in a certain way It is pretty simple if you are on a public site like that - you have to behave yourself."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on May 25, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    KP has a point, some of the SKY commentary is pretty puerile and an international career does not mean that someone is necessarily lucid. I seem to remember Nasser, now a Sky stalwart having a go at the commentary team after being critical. Some of the snippets that make me cringe are indeed Nasser's "dissected the field" and the "preambulation" at Lord's being two that float to the top of the verbal septic tank. Sky does have some splendid commentators, Gower, Atherton, Allot and Lloyd, but others drag the standard down to that of Australian commentary and on really bad days, to IPL level. The overall poor quality of the sky commentary may well have lead to establishment of the hugely popular Test Match Sofa and continued to send listeners to the other TMS for their cricket chat. Overall, I don't think it's wrong for KP to be critical of the Sky commentary team, even though Sky may ultimately be where his pay comes from. I think it is Sky that should review its standards.

  • Prashant on May 25, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Did KP say any thing wrong? Nick has no business to comment on class of KP.. Nick is too far and unauthorised for it... Sorry KP..

  • Ed on May 24, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    Twitter is so lame, but whats more worrying is that KP just never seems to be bale to keep his mouth shut, and lets face it, he didn't exactly set the world alight in the last test. Plus Nick Knight played for England much more than Mark Nicholas did !, and KP has no probs with Mark. KP needs to concentrate on scoring runs, something he didn't do very well in the last test.

  • Roy on May 24, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    No-one has yet answered KP's question What is NK doing in the com box? Would be more suited for Womens test cricket (nothing wrong with that). Anyway why should I care as like many others turn the Sky commentary off and listen to TMS.


  • Rajani on May 24, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    I can understand how a tweet of an EMPLOYEE can upset the BOSSES. OTOH, we should SUPPORT the players who don't always toe the COMPANY line like KP and SANGAKKARA. Cricketers have become BORING these days as if they are working for the PR arm of a company... I also think KP would make an excellent commentator once he retires from cricket. He reminds me of JOHN McENROE who also had tremendous natural talent and became a good tennis commentator after his retirement. JM won ONLY seven grand slams and he was an underachiever considering the skills he possessed! One could say the same about KP so far. KP should average near SIXTY, not fifty.

  • Edward on May 24, 2012, 20:23 GMT

    I don't really know a) why he's lashed out at Knight when half the country said he should be dropped and b) why Pietersen is bothered anyway, as he's playing in the match not watching it on TV.

  • Mahidhar on May 24, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    whats wrong with it? If a commentator can speak about how worthy a player is, why not the other way round? Hippocrates huh!!

  • Martin on May 24, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    KP is pretty lucky. When Phil Hughes did it in 2009 he got the Black Spot from Ponting and basically that finished him as a Test cricketer. Pity really.

  • Keith on May 24, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    So the commentators can say what they want about the players, but the players better keep their mouths shut about the commentators.

  • James on May 24, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    He got fined for that. Just stupid.

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