England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge May 24, 2012

Strauss shows his diplomatic skills over Twitter

Not for the first time, the England captain has been left discussing Twitter, which he knows is important but has no intention of joining
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Andrew Strauss has always given the impression that if cricket had not intervened, he could already have forged a successful career in the diplomatic service. His discretion was to the fore as he considered the Twitter imbroglio involving Kevin Pietersen that has imposed itself upon England's plans for the second Test against West Indies.

Not for the first time, Pietersen is established as the rascal in the England set-up, his dismissive tweet about the Sky TV commentator, Nick Knight, viewed as improper conduct worthy of an undisclosed fine thought to be £3,000 ($4,700) and no doubt a private rebuke. His sin, for those who have been concerned over the past day or two by weightier matters, went thus: "Can somebody PLEASE tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Home Tests?? RIDICULOUS!!"

Knight is an inoffensive chap. But he is an inoffensive chap with a modest Test record who when Pietersen's one-day form was at its lowest, questioned his right to a place in the team. Pietersen respects stardom and celebrity and seems oblivious to the fact that Knight was one of the most effective England one-day players of his time. It is curious how long this has rankled.

Strauss' reflection on the balance between free speech and corporate responsibility will surprise those who still live under the illusion that our national sportsmen and women are untamed spirits, determined on the field and off to accept no limits, live life to the full, soar to the heavens, or whatever latest catchphrase their kit companies come up with.

"That is the way of the world," Strauss said of Pietersen's fine. "If you sign an England contract you can have opinions on things but you can't say them publicly."

Having laid down the boundaries, he defended them: "There are good reasons for that. Any employer would expect their employees to be aware of sensitive issues for their employer and that is the way it is."

Anybody who has worked close to the England set-up is aware how extreme that sensitivity can be. It takes a player of considerable character to refuse to become as anodyne as the ECB prefers, indeed trains, them to become: mouthing platitudes, sticking to set formulae, officially encouraged to drain the life from their own personalities. Strauss can speak intelligently within strict limits, so it suits him; Graeme Swann has a maverick's ability to sail close to the edge; others are noticeably suppressed by their upbringing.

Pietersen attempted to recover lost ground as the Trent Bridge Test approached, referring to Knight's fellow Sky commentators, Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Ian Botham, David Gower and David Lloyd as "legends," at every opportunity. Or, to adopt KP's tweeting style, "LEGEEENDS!!!" might be more appropriate. The implication was clear: if the ECB had accused him of attacking Sky TV, the host broadcaster, it was simply not the case; it was far more personal than that.

Pietersen assumed that Twitter gave him a convenient vehicle for retaliation in an intrinsically personal capacity, only to find like many before him that the corporate world is now so aware of social network sites these days that, if you are in a certain kind of job, you are no longer as free as you think you are. The illusion exists that you are sharing personal thoughts with your followers, but in actuality you are tweeting into a world awash with rules and regulations. The validity of the argument that you represent your employer at all times is a legal debate that runs far wider than England cricket.

One of the more intriguing aspects of this foolish affair is that Strauss repeatedly referred to the fact it was the ECB board, chaired by Giles Clarke, that decided action was necessary. They had any number of codes to consider: the ICC code of conduct, England contracts, informal dressing room codes on Twitter, agreements with broadcasters, all of them precluding free expression to some degree.

But it is quite possible that no one on the ECB board is on Twitter. Clarke should be, because it could be enormous fun, but that is another point entirely. The board has therefore passed judgement on Pietersen's use of a social media platform that it does not fully understand. It has gained popularity as a looser form of communication, which seeks to capture a current, often transitory mood. Only by using Twitter, and appreciating its boundaries, can you intelligently judge whether these boundaries have been crossed.

"It is obviously a difficult one," Strauss said. "Twitter is a great way for individuals to express opinions on things and to garner positive publicity for the game of cricket. That's where it can be really helpful.

"But obviously we have conditions of employment that don't allow us to talk about everything. We can't criticise the ICC, we can't criticise umpires, and in this case the board obviously wasn't happy with Kevin's comments about our broadcaster. That is their right as a board and so Kevin has received a fine because of that.

"You can understand that the board is concerned with making sure that their sponsors and broadcasters are looked after. It was a tough one. There were shades of grey. But the truth is that the board were unhappy with it and that is the situation.

"We also have our own informal code of conduct with regard to Twitter and generally it has worked very well. You are going to get the odd occasion when somebody oversteps the mark and somebody says, 'Sorry mate, that's outside the boundaries,' and you are going to have to pay a price for us."

Pietersen was part of the group that accepted such guidelines, but then so was Stuart Broad when he called cricket writers during a recent Lancashire-Nottinghamshire match liars, jobsworths and muppets. He was not fined and few seriously thought he should be because such tension between the media and those they write about has occured since the first newspaper rolled off the press. In the blogging era, the readers pile in, too. For Pietersen, though, the rules seem tighter. Ever since he lost the England captaincy he has become to the authorities the individual who occasionally needs taming.

For Strauss, it is just another situation to manage, one that he does not really care about. He does not tweet. "I am just too boring," he said. "I can't think of anything interesting to say. It wouldn't be useful to me."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • General_Fadi_Basem on May 25, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    KP should abandon the poms and join his homeland eleven before it's too late. The tide is turning and he will be left behind otherwise.

  • on May 25, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    I think KP was being a little sensitive. It's Nick Knight's job to analyse and discuss these things and to play devil's advocate and put forward the possibility of Pietersen losing his one-day place. It wasn't a personal attack, though KP clearly took it as one! It's never nice to be criticised, but the commentary team are doing their job.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 25, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Strauss is the best captain in world cricket, he leads England to victories with a tough but sportsmanlike way,

  • ElBeeDubya on May 25, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    If STUART BROAD who behaves offensively on the field can make statements calling the ENTIRE press LIARS, JOBSWORTHS and MUPPETS and goes unpunished as well as keep his ODI captaincy, why should KP be punished for making a much milder comment about ONE commentator? RIDICULOUS!!!

  • JG2704 on May 25, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Think others have hit the nail on the head. Knight did question KPs position in the OD side and KP , NKs position in the commentary box. Neither used foul or abusive language - It should either be ignored or Knight maybe could have his say.

  • JG2704 on May 25, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @Munkeymomo on (May 25 2012, 09:49 AM GMT) Was pleased that Somerset finally won a CC game yesterday. Great win as it looked like heading for a certain draw. Hope ESPN publish this as there were no comms boxes for the Somerset/Durham game

  • on May 25, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    To summarize: Nick Knight is paid to give his opinion. His opinion was that KP should not be in the team. KP was upset with this.

  • on May 25, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    @ryanharrisgreatcricketer:-if u count gautam gambhir in ordinary players then watch out ur English team. More than half f ur team keeps on changing with ordinary players.

  • 200ondebut on May 25, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    I can't see the problem. NK didn't think KP should be in the side; KP thinks he shouldn't be in the commentary box. The big difference is that spectators flock to watch KP perform but the same could not be said of Sky viewers and NK. NK, whilst a jolly nice chap, comes accross a bit "Tim Nicebutdim".

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on May 25, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Nick Knight is just like Gautam Gambhir. ordinary test player. managed to get score runs in oddis which dont ur technique. and immediately felt that an ok ok odi record meant that he can make big statements

  • General_Fadi_Basem on May 25, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    KP should abandon the poms and join his homeland eleven before it's too late. The tide is turning and he will be left behind otherwise.

  • on May 25, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    I think KP was being a little sensitive. It's Nick Knight's job to analyse and discuss these things and to play devil's advocate and put forward the possibility of Pietersen losing his one-day place. It wasn't a personal attack, though KP clearly took it as one! It's never nice to be criticised, but the commentary team are doing their job.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 25, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Strauss is the best captain in world cricket, he leads England to victories with a tough but sportsmanlike way,

  • ElBeeDubya on May 25, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    If STUART BROAD who behaves offensively on the field can make statements calling the ENTIRE press LIARS, JOBSWORTHS and MUPPETS and goes unpunished as well as keep his ODI captaincy, why should KP be punished for making a much milder comment about ONE commentator? RIDICULOUS!!!

  • JG2704 on May 25, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Think others have hit the nail on the head. Knight did question KPs position in the OD side and KP , NKs position in the commentary box. Neither used foul or abusive language - It should either be ignored or Knight maybe could have his say.

  • JG2704 on May 25, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @Munkeymomo on (May 25 2012, 09:49 AM GMT) Was pleased that Somerset finally won a CC game yesterday. Great win as it looked like heading for a certain draw. Hope ESPN publish this as there were no comms boxes for the Somerset/Durham game

  • on May 25, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    To summarize: Nick Knight is paid to give his opinion. His opinion was that KP should not be in the team. KP was upset with this.

  • on May 25, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    @ryanharrisgreatcricketer:-if u count gautam gambhir in ordinary players then watch out ur English team. More than half f ur team keeps on changing with ordinary players.

  • 200ondebut on May 25, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    I can't see the problem. NK didn't think KP should be in the side; KP thinks he shouldn't be in the commentary box. The big difference is that spectators flock to watch KP perform but the same could not be said of Sky viewers and NK. NK, whilst a jolly nice chap, comes accross a bit "Tim Nicebutdim".

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on May 25, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Nick Knight is just like Gautam Gambhir. ordinary test player. managed to get score runs in oddis which dont ur technique. and immediately felt that an ok ok odi record meant that he can make big statements

  • Munkeymomo on May 25, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    @Nadeem1976: Don't forget that cricket is an entertainment, people want to pay and see the most entertaining guys, I get the feeling KP understands this better than most, of course you need the competitive edge and want to win but at the end of the day I don't watch cricket to see my teams win, it's nice when they do, but I watch it because I love being entertained by it. KP and Gayle are two people who I love watching play.

    This argument can also be applied to the switch hit debate, it's entertaining.

  • on May 25, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    By all accounts KP's problems with Nick Knight emanate from Knight questioning his ODI place last year. Nick may have been a below-par test cricketer but he was a better one day player than Hussain or Atherton - two of the LEGENDS he refers to and more qualified than most (100 caps) to talk about one day cricket.

  • pom_don on May 25, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Forget cricket for a while, this is just another case of PC going way over the top,folk nowadays have to tread on broken glass & the rules often if not always favour one side over the other whatever happened to free speech?

  • JG2704 on May 25, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    @Nadeem1976 on (May 24 2012, 19:41 PM GMT) Why should KP be fined for saying about Gayle being back in the side? Whether you like Gayle or not or rate him or not , he is box office and would create more interest in the game. As a player I really don't think Gayle would add all that much. Sure he could make a huge difference but IMO (and I am going by stats of when he last played here) he is just as likely to fail and re winning a match in 2 hours - this is test cricket , not IPL or 50 over cricket

  • brittop on May 25, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    @maximum6: So for Nick Knight to say KP's form meant he should be dropped from the ODI team is an insult! If KP had said "I disagree with Mr Knight and I'm still worth my place in the side" it would have been a "response". Also don't really believe that commentator's want to deliberately undermine players because of jealously (or any other reason).

  • on May 25, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Knight was a hero back in his days. KP is a hero now. Clash of the titans?

    KP dont take it personal. Let the haters hate you, they are just jealous. Your fan base is heck a lotsa time bigger than any of other england players ever. Know your role.

    - Another KP fan

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 25, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    I think the point is that without SKY the ECB could go bust... And the ECB committee suits would then have to go and try and get a real job... Much easier to penalise a sitting target like KP...

  • on May 25, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    KP the real hero of indian cricket fans.... you are always welcome here.... we love players like you...

  • Sandeep.M.J.D on May 25, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    First class average of 44, ODI average of 40 arent enough to call someone a descent cricketer? Make some sense please, if someone fails in one format, that means either he was not given enough oppurtunities to mould himself to that format at that level, or he doesnt suit the format. Anyhow it should take away nothing from his reputation or skills. In my opinion he was a terrific player in his lime light. Can you believe, as an Indian, I used to watch county cricket on TV if this guy is at the crease. Time should take away pains but not honours. No offense to KP, he is free to express.

  • UmpirezCall on May 25, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    @allblue: Spot on, mate. Storm in a teacup. Both Kev & Nick are big boys. Let's leave 'em to it and watch some cricket.

  • on May 25, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    leave KP alone, hes the don, who cares about nick knight

  • Maccanui on May 25, 2012, 0:46 GMT

    Agree with allblue that this was essentially a legal issue which required some form of token action. However it does again highlight the fragile nature of KPs ego. As a commentator Knight has every right to offer a view on KP's suitability for a particular team, KP should be able to handle that without throwing his toys out of the cot. The thing which always bemuses me is why anybody thought he'd make suitable captaincy material.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 24, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    It seems reasonable that if a commentator insults a player then a player has the right to reply as it were. There are always sections of the media who go after the BIG players and try to ubdermine them, probably because of their own utter mediocrity and blandness. KP has always been a target for such attention because he is so damn good. The first weet which landed KP in trouble should never have been punished because A) it was meant for a private conversation, B) at least he was annoyed about being dropped and not happy for it- so why would one criticise that sentiment. In the case of this one i think it is a matter ECB getting on its high horse because of broadcaster presssure, but really if commentators do not think more about what they say then we, the audience are not really getting the best service. Commentators should be accountable, even Willis, who really gives it some. BTW_ has he been contacted by Sammy yet?

  • Tom_Bowler on May 24, 2012, 23:17 GMT

    Nick Knight is one of the better Sky commentators; an excellent analyst who is illuminating on technical matters and has a knack of identifiying pivotal moments in play. He never cracked Tests, few England players did in the '90s, but he was a fine ODI player and had an outstanding dometic career. Playing the game at the highest level is no requirement for a commentator, Knight however did. KP is an awesome player and in the last eighteen months he's produced some of his finest Test innings but this just makes him look a touch small while his fan boys wetting their knickers to rubbish Knight are a bit of an embarassment.

  • Paul.Power on May 24, 2012, 22:41 GMT

    While I can't say Knight's one of my favourite commentators (for what it's worth, my four favourites from Sky are Gower, Atherton, Holding and Lloyd), I wouldn't say he's particularly offensive either. I know he's raised the possibility of dropping KP from the one-day side before now, but seems odd for Pietersen to suddenly bring it up now. Then again, who knows what's going through Pietersen's mind.

    Gotta love Strauss' "I am just too boring", though. He's got self-effacement down to a fine art.

  • allblue on May 24, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Most of the comments here are missing the point. In the ECB's contract with Sky there will be a clause whereby the ECB agrees not to publicly criticise the broadcaster. In turn, there will be a similar clause in KP's central contract with the ECB. So the ECB will be contractually obliged to reprimand KP here, regardless of the triviality of the comment, and regardless what they may think themselves. He who pays the piper calls the tune. What we don't know is what happened at the hearing - I would speculate not much, other than to remind KP they have to respond so would he please show a bit more discretion, before fining him a token amount. Nothing to see here, move along folks...

  • Deuce03 on May 24, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    @jackiethepen -"They spent most of the time ignoring the game and talking about gardening." You don't listen to Test Match Special much then?! Although it's true, Botham is rubbish. Avoiding Botham is one of the main reasons I prefer the TMS commentary even if it does have a tendency to drift off-topic.

  • on May 24, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    In this era of democracy and freedom of speech, KP comments have nothing offensive in it. Cricket is played by humans not aliens, come on ECB have some sense.

  • on May 24, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Well perhaps KP has a point - but unlike test records we have no way of measuring the effectiveness of tv pundits. And a fine test record might mean that current test players respect the pundit's opinion that does not mean the pundit is good (or bad). What we, the general public, want is an insight into the game at these higher echelons. Simon Hughes, for example, was not a test player but he has developed the ability to explain things expertly and succinctly.

    Nick Knight did not quite cut it as a test player, nor did Ian Ward, nor really did David Lloyd - but that's not the issue. Do they bring something to broadcasting. I think they probably do. But I also think that KP is entitled to disagree with me - provided he is basing his judgment on their performance as a pundit not a test cricketer. If that is the case I respect his opinion.

  • Trickstar on May 24, 2012, 21:02 GMT

    @Nadeem1976 Also why exactly should KP be fined for saying he'd like Gayle to play in the next test, what's wrong with wanting to play against one of the world's top players, that's what you want to do in sport test yourself against the best, not beat a weakened side. KP's friend with Gayle outside cricket anyway so he was always gonna back his friend, I suppose to some people he will be bashed what ever he does which is more a reflection of the haters. Wouldn't it a boring place if all the players were squeaky clean media trained goody goodies, who wants every sportsmen to be like that, personalities make this game of cricket and we need KP, I hope this doesn't stop the likes of KP & Swann saying exactly how they feel on twitter or elsewhere.

  • on May 24, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    It is a sign of how completely out-of-touch the ECB is that Pietersen has been fined for merely expressing an opinion about a pretty-boy commentator who brings nothing to the game, and was described by a former England coach as having the worst technique of any batsman he had ever coached. It is illustrative that Sky are more concerned at having a vacuous empty suit in its commentary team than somebody who actually had the ability to perform at the highest level of cricket.

    As for Pietersen's remarks about Gayle, I'm afraid those critical of them simply don't get it: top-class sports people, of ALL sports, always want to be challenged by the best in their sport, and there is no doubt that Chris Gayle is, along with Chanderpaul, the only world class batsman the WI have, therefore Pietersen (and I suspect most of the England players) would get more satisfaction beating a WI first XI than a group of reserves playing only because others are unavailable for whatever reason.

  • jackiethepen on May 24, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    KP has done Sky a favour. Feedback is pretty important isn't it? The Sky commentary has become lax of late. Bumble and Botham should never be paired together. They spent most of the time ignoring the game and talking about gardening. And Botham thinks he is being funny. (He isn't.) I just wondered how the Highlights would be put together with the background of this drivel. Have they really nothing to say about what is happening on the field? It is a kind of anti-commentary. See how long you can go without ever mentioning cricket. Nick Knight likes to discuss games he hasn't seen when one is actually unfolding in front of him. He hasn't the slightest interest in it. Couple this kind of commentary with static camera views of the square and you have not a clue what is happening on the field. The ball disappears out of view and no one is paying any attention. Only Hussain and Atherton bother to discuss the actual game and state of play. The others just reminisce.

  • on May 24, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    You can take the horse to the pond .. but can never force it to drink water. KP will come up with something or the other. That is why he is my favourite !

  • shillingsworth on May 24, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    'The board has therefore passed judgement on Pietersen's use of a social media platform that it does not fully understand. Only by using Twitter, and appreciating its boundaries, can you intelligently judge whether these boundaries have been crossed.' Rubbish. It makes no difference whether you say it on Twitter, during a press conference, TV interview or in a newspaper article. They are all public forums with the same boundaries. What else is there to understand?

  • Nadeem1976 on May 24, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    Two days ago Pieterson gave statement to bring back Gayle in WI team , now he is tweeting about nick knight place as commentator. KP should now that there are rules and regulations. I would put more fine on KP for trying to bring back Gayle than tweet fine because no professional sportsman want to lose and Gayle is kind of player who can win a match in two hours. KP has lost his mind now. He needs to relax and think like a professional , not like a rookie.

    Strauss is like old school politicians , always create doubt in peoples mind and stay away from controversy. he is good sportsman. No need to pass on judgement on any other fellow.

  • JG2704 on May 24, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    To be honest KP should have the right to say something like that. I quite like Nick Knight but I think he has his favourites and I do remember once he was questioning KPs role in the OD side - which is fair enough - but worse he seemed to have Ravi Bopara as a must.

  • wicricketlover on May 24, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Please WICB take a look @ how the ECB handles a player being indiscipline you are called into a hearing, fined for the infraction and move on..Not this personal vendetta foolishness..."clearing up of risidual matters" utter rubbish.

  • noplay on May 24, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    It would be one boring test series without Pietersen. I would have fined Him instead for inviting trouble for England...Gayle. What kind of deal is that the ECB made with SKY anyway? You can say the worst things about the players, they will pretend they didn't hear. A nice slogan for the sport: Cricket....a world without justice!. Beats golf's "These guys are good" anyday

  • on May 24, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    <blockquote> Andrew Strauss has always given the impression that if cricket had not intervened, he could already have forged a successful career in the diplomatic service. </blockquote>

    Meaning he's good at lying to someone's face? ;)

  • landl47 on May 24, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    I wouldn't call Pietersen's tweet 'interesting'. Stupid, pointless, petty- those are the words that spring to mind.

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  • landl47 on May 24, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    I wouldn't call Pietersen's tweet 'interesting'. Stupid, pointless, petty- those are the words that spring to mind.

  • on May 24, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    <blockquote> Andrew Strauss has always given the impression that if cricket had not intervened, he could already have forged a successful career in the diplomatic service. </blockquote>

    Meaning he's good at lying to someone's face? ;)

  • noplay on May 24, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    It would be one boring test series without Pietersen. I would have fined Him instead for inviting trouble for England...Gayle. What kind of deal is that the ECB made with SKY anyway? You can say the worst things about the players, they will pretend they didn't hear. A nice slogan for the sport: Cricket....a world without justice!. Beats golf's "These guys are good" anyday

  • wicricketlover on May 24, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Please WICB take a look @ how the ECB handles a player being indiscipline you are called into a hearing, fined for the infraction and move on..Not this personal vendetta foolishness..."clearing up of risidual matters" utter rubbish.

  • JG2704 on May 24, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    To be honest KP should have the right to say something like that. I quite like Nick Knight but I think he has his favourites and I do remember once he was questioning KPs role in the OD side - which is fair enough - but worse he seemed to have Ravi Bopara as a must.

  • Nadeem1976 on May 24, 2012, 19:41 GMT

    Two days ago Pieterson gave statement to bring back Gayle in WI team , now he is tweeting about nick knight place as commentator. KP should now that there are rules and regulations. I would put more fine on KP for trying to bring back Gayle than tweet fine because no professional sportsman want to lose and Gayle is kind of player who can win a match in two hours. KP has lost his mind now. He needs to relax and think like a professional , not like a rookie.

    Strauss is like old school politicians , always create doubt in peoples mind and stay away from controversy. he is good sportsman. No need to pass on judgement on any other fellow.

  • shillingsworth on May 24, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    'The board has therefore passed judgement on Pietersen's use of a social media platform that it does not fully understand. Only by using Twitter, and appreciating its boundaries, can you intelligently judge whether these boundaries have been crossed.' Rubbish. It makes no difference whether you say it on Twitter, during a press conference, TV interview or in a newspaper article. They are all public forums with the same boundaries. What else is there to understand?

  • on May 24, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    You can take the horse to the pond .. but can never force it to drink water. KP will come up with something or the other. That is why he is my favourite !

  • jackiethepen on May 24, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    KP has done Sky a favour. Feedback is pretty important isn't it? The Sky commentary has become lax of late. Bumble and Botham should never be paired together. They spent most of the time ignoring the game and talking about gardening. And Botham thinks he is being funny. (He isn't.) I just wondered how the Highlights would be put together with the background of this drivel. Have they really nothing to say about what is happening on the field? It is a kind of anti-commentary. See how long you can go without ever mentioning cricket. Nick Knight likes to discuss games he hasn't seen when one is actually unfolding in front of him. He hasn't the slightest interest in it. Couple this kind of commentary with static camera views of the square and you have not a clue what is happening on the field. The ball disappears out of view and no one is paying any attention. Only Hussain and Atherton bother to discuss the actual game and state of play. The others just reminisce.

  • on May 24, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    It is a sign of how completely out-of-touch the ECB is that Pietersen has been fined for merely expressing an opinion about a pretty-boy commentator who brings nothing to the game, and was described by a former England coach as having the worst technique of any batsman he had ever coached. It is illustrative that Sky are more concerned at having a vacuous empty suit in its commentary team than somebody who actually had the ability to perform at the highest level of cricket.

    As for Pietersen's remarks about Gayle, I'm afraid those critical of them simply don't get it: top-class sports people, of ALL sports, always want to be challenged by the best in their sport, and there is no doubt that Chris Gayle is, along with Chanderpaul, the only world class batsman the WI have, therefore Pietersen (and I suspect most of the England players) would get more satisfaction beating a WI first XI than a group of reserves playing only because others are unavailable for whatever reason.