England's Pietersen dilemma

Strauss warning over Pietersen return

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 23, 2012

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower and Kevin Pietersen observe England's net session, Abu Dhabi, January, 24, 2012
Andrew Strauss: "If everyone is happy in the dressing room they will play well. But if it's not resolved then it is a problem. I honestly think it's a real problem" © AFP
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Andrew Strauss, the former England captain, has warned that the return of Kevin Pietersen to the squad could cause "problems" if the issues that led to Pietersen being dropped have not been fully resolved.

Pietersen was left out for the third Test against South Africa in August after sending messages about Strauss - who retired from cricket in the wake of England's series defeat - to members of the opposition. Pietersen had previously quit limited-overs internationals amid complaints about his schedule, although he has now reversed that decision. A parody Twitter account that Pietersen believed was being encouraged by some of his team-mates also caused a problem within the dressing room.

However, after being left out of England's squads for the World Twenty20 and the Test tour of India, Pietersen was given a route back into the side after agreeing a process of "reintegration" with the ECB and signing a four-month central contract. He was subsequently added to the touring party for India and Strauss believes it is in the team's best interests to mend the relationship with Pietersen.

"It will be difficult," Strauss said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper. "One of the problems is that there are two separate sections. One is going on in meeting rooms between KP and the players and on the other side is this media intrigue. From Andy Flower's point of view, they need to get that first part right. If everyone is happy in the dressing room they will play well. But if it's not resolved then it is a problem. I honestly think it's a real problem.

"If they can make it work, then obviously England will be a better side with KP in it because he's an outstanding player. But if, behind the scenes, things are difficult and resentment is harboured and, if KP is not fully committed to England, there are going to be problems. But it's in everyone's interests to make it work."

Strauss again denied that the Pietersen saga hastened his retirement but said he felt guilty leaving the issue for Flower, England's team director, and Alastair Cook, his successor as captain, to sort out. He added, though, that his decision to step away may have helped speed up the process of reconciliation.

"Maybe it actually makes it easier for the team that I'm not there because some of it was directed to me. It would have been harder if I'd stayed," he said. "I think that it can be [healed]. But everyone has to desperately want it to happen and they all need to let bygones be bygones and not have any grudges and bitterness. Everyone has to want to move forward for the right reasons. That's the question mark and so it's hard for me to tell. But it saddens me that we've been through this - after all the hard work we put in as a group for three-and-a-half years. We all genuinely believed in this special bond and chemistry we had. Unfortunately we've slipped from there and the guys are going to need to recover that. It's going to be tough."

Strauss also revealed that Pietersen was not among the England players to receive a personal letter informing them of his decision to retire. The letters were delivered individually to members of the squad playing an ODI against South Africa in Southampton during the time that Pietersen was not being considered for selection. Instead, Strauss delivered the news by text, admitting that it "was a strange time for the two of us. A lot had happened and during that period we were quite estranged from each other."

They have now put the episode behind them, with Strauss admitting things could have been handled better on both sides, although he stopped short of condoning Pietersen's actions. "Kevin has since come up to me and apologised for it and I respect that," he said. "He seemed contrite and I think he was sincere. Looking back I think it was wrong some of our players were following that Twitter account. But I still don't think it's a justification for what Kevin did."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 26, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

@yavaid - re "Refusing to say this was not a winning team without KP in it" - HELLO.Eng played One test match without KP in it against the best test side in the world who happened to beat us in one of the 2 tests KP played in and were closer in that match than they were in the 1st test to SA.Also Jonny came in and in that test believe averaged better than KP in the series.Not saying Jonny is a better player than KP or we are a better side without him but that is what happened.In shorter forms while we had a poor WC we did OK without him in the side up to that WC and who's to say we'd have won more games with him in the side? It was bowling - more than batting - which let us down in the WC.If things have been said to KP by Eng players then yes they should apologise just as KP should apologise for anything derogatory he has said to them.No fan should apologise to KP unless they have said things which are proven to be incorrect.No one has shown evidence to prove that KP did nothing wrong

Posted by JG2704 on (October 25, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (October 25 2012, 12:16 PM GMT) Hi - Re which comment exactly?

Posted by zenboomerang on (October 25, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

@JG2704... You are on the money...

Posted by JG2704 on (October 25, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

@yavaid - re "Refusing to say this was not a winning team without KP in it" - HELLO.Eng played One test match without KP in it against the best test side in the world who happened to beat us in one of the 2 tests KP played in and were closer in that match than they were in the 1st test to SA.Also Jonny came in and in that test believe averaged better than KP in the series.Not saying Jonny is a better player than KP or we are a better side without him but that is what happened.In shorter forms while we had a poor WC we did OK without him in the side up to that WC and who's to say we'd have won more games with him in the side? It was bowling - more than batting - which let us down in the WC.If things have been said to KP by Eng players then yes they should apologise just as KP should apologise for anything derogatory he has said to them.No fan should apologise to KP unless they have said things which are proven to be incorrect.No one has shown evidence to prove that KP did nothing wrong

Posted by JG2704 on (October 25, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

I'm starting to have a few theories about this. 1 - When KP retired from T20/ODIs it was around the same time as he was saying folk were jealous of IPL etc and maybe some of our players who put their names forward did feel a little jealous of KP when they weren't picked. 2 - Regardless of whether there was any input from the Eng players re the twitter account , if these players followed the account then KP might well take it as betrayal. It could be that KP was hurt by all this and I'm wondering now if he feels that Strauss betrayed him because in KP's eyes he felt Strauss should have had words with these players whereas Strauss just wanted to let it all blow over. KP has always struck me as not being the most secure of people , suffering from a little paranoiah and maybe he felt that Strauss not taking action was a sign of favouritism etc.. Just a few theories.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 25, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

Funny comments going round re who's whitewashing who. At the end of the day Eng whitewashed India in the most recent test series in England and Eng were whitewashed by India in the most recent ODI series in India. ODI series from 2006 are totally irrelevant as both sides personnel will have few players who'll have played that series and it was a different format. England fans should not read too much into last years whitewash because they have had a horrible 2012 in the test format and neither should India fans go cock a hoop about their chances based on a whitewash in a totally different format. Smart money would be on India but because they are in transition we really don't know. Strange as it sounds , I feel (because of India's situation) we have the best chance of pulling it off but at the same time we are just as likely to get whitewashed

Posted by JG2704 on (October 25, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

@bobmartin on (October 23 2012, 14:59 PM GMT) re "I feel sure the ECB, although they deny it, must have some knowledge otherwise they were open to all sorts of lawsuits for taking the steps they did." - Re lawsuits , I'm just wondering if that had some reason for KP's reinstatement? It just seemed to go from KP accusing other Eng players of doing things to his reinstatement in a matter of no time

Posted by JAZ_SINGH on (October 24, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: Im not too sure what whitewashes / humiliations your talking about? In 2006 India beat England 6-1 in the ODI's, 5-0 in 2008 and 5-0 in 2012. You have not one a ODI in india since that one back in 2006. Now I think that is what you call humiliation mate!

Posted by couchpundit on (October 24, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

LOL - MR.Strauss you are right..as long as you were there it could not have been resolved...for two reasons 1. You REFUSE to see there is not winning English Team without KP, which England realised in recent months. 2. When you say " if KP is not fully committed to England", dont beat around the bush and say you are being taken out of context. The very thought that you(and certain kind of Englishmen) claim he might not be comminted to England, gives it away pommie!!

Now that England Supporters have resigned to the fact that they are nothing without KP...i would like to see apology from rest of England to KP, for insinuating that he is a traitor of sorts.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (October 24, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge LOL humiliation in recent years? I think its only one year 2011(when our players took Eng for granted and omitted WI tour to nurse IPLinjuries)Take out that 2011 and you will definitely know who humiliated who for the most of time :)

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