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Pietersen falls victim to a very English revolution

David Hopps

February 6, 2014

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Pietersen decision continues to divide opinion

Andy Flower blamed Kevin Pietersen for a players' revolt in Australia against his intense coaching style and, even before he accepted his own resignation was inevitable, became adamant that Pietersen must play no further part in the England side.

Flower's determination to rid the team of Pietersen, on the grounds that he posed a danger to team unity, was only partly justified by events and owed much to memories of how Pietersen had already brought down a previous England coach, Peter Moores, five years earlier.

The outcome was spectacularly similar. Back in 2009, Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, sacked Moores as coach and Pietersen was forced to stand down from the captaincy he had held for only a few months. On this occasion, Paul Downton, in his first week in the job as Morris' successor, forced a conclusion in which Flower - his views on Pietersen made abundantly clear - resigned as team director with his reputation unimpaired and Pietersen was discarded from the England set-up forever.

The ECB hierarchy has always suspected Pietersen as a potential agitator and will protect the authority of senior figures ahead of all other considerations.

Pietersen, not for the first time, spectacularly misread the players' mood after Alastair Cook and Matt Prior, England's captain and vice-captain, called a meeting, with the knowledge of the coaching staff, on the redundant final day of the Melbourne Test after England had gone 4-0 down in the series.

Swann 'baffled' by KP decision

  • Graeme Swann, the former England offspinner who retired midway through the tour of Australia, has expressed his surprise at the ECB's decision to cut Kevin Pietersen loose.
  • Swann, who made his Test debut under Pietersen's captaincy, admitted that there had been ill-feeling towards Pietersen during the 2012 texting affair that led to him being dropped but said that the players had successfully put that behind them. Writing in his Sun column, Swann also described Pietersen's attitude during the Ashes as "exceptional".
  • "He made a huge effort to improve his attitude around the dressing room," Swann wrote. "I saw or heard no issues with him in Australia this winter, his approach was exceptional. That's why I was baffled on Tuesday when he was effectively sacked as an England player.
  • "Looking back, I could have understood if Kevin's career with England had finished after 'textgate'. But to go through the reintegration process and then, just 15 months later, discard him for good seems very strange.
  • "Clearly, Kevin must have upset people enough for the England hierarchy to decide he is no longer wanted. Don't forget, we're not talking about a middling player here -- we're talking about a batsman of sublime talent. As I say, I saw nothing while I was on the Ashes tour. His approach was spot-on."

As ESPNcricinfo reported at the time, concerns were growing that that Flower's coaching methods were too suffocating, and having a detrimental effect on performance. The meeting, as perceived by Cook and Prior, was a well-meaning attempt to redress the balance, and encourage players to take more responsibility for their own actions. The absence of England's swollen backroom staff was intended to give players a chance to speak freely about what they felt was a growing predicament.

Reports in the Telegraph suggest that Pietersen then "embarked upon an anti-Flower rant". The tone of his remarks shocked many players, who had no wish to overthrow Flower and many felt guilty about the meeting as a result.

It was not long before Flower heard about what had occurred - and it was not long before he summoned Pietersen to his hotel room in Sydney to accuse him of unacceptable behaviour and undermining his authority, and that of the captain, Cook, during a highly-fraught exchange.

Pietersen had been agitating about Flower's severe management style for some time and was known to be hopeful that Ashley Giles, the one-day coach, would encourage a more relaxed environment.

Memories of Pietersen's derisive text messages in 2012 to South African players about his captain at the time, Andrew Strauss, meant that his team ethic remained in permanent doubt and, in essence, he was on final warning.

Flower, hurt by events, also asked senior players about what had emerged in their confidential, clear-the-air meeting and about the extent of their dissatisfaction with his coaching style. At that point, the sound of sheepish backtracking could be heard from players who for all their misgivings retained deep respect for Flower's integrity, drive and concern for their welfare.

Any imaginings Pietersen had that he could stoke a wider rebellion were proved to be illusory. His lack of empathy with the general mood, which tends to be consumed by his own ego, has previously been suggested as a tragic character trait that has repeatedly cost him.

Kevin Pietersen chats with Andy Flower, Lord's, May 30, 2013
Kevin Pietersen and Andy Flower have had a strained relationship for some time © PA Photos

An unseemly spat on Twitter has now revealed the sense among some Pietersen's closest allies that he has been left as the fall guy for a situation he did not engineer.

The chief source of their bitterness is Prior, who they asserted had "stabbed Pietersen in the back", accusing him of withdrawing his criticism that Flower was behaving like a school head teacher when Flower pressed him directly on the subject.

Prior responded furiously on Twitter, needing a series of tweets to get his point across. "I am not the kind of person to divulge what is said in team meetings, but all I will say is that Flower, Cook and the rest of my team-mates know exactly what I said and the way in which it was meant," he wrote.

"There is no story here, just an attempt to knock someone who has only ever had the team's interests at heart and tried my best on and off the field to help the England cricket team. I can hold my head up high in that knowledge."

Tim Bresnan became the first England player to back up Prior's insistence that his comments had been measured and non-rebellious. "I was in that TEAM meeting and @MattPrior13 said nothing wrong," he tweeted. "And only ever has the TEAM'S best interests at heart. Undeserved criticism."

Pietersen, who ironically had never felt himself more welcome in the England environment, nevertheless was stunned at how events gathered such pace that his England career collapsed before him. He had become the victim of a very English revolution.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 22:46 GMT)

Pieterson's dismissal seems amazingly similar to the way the West Indies board dismissed Chris Gayle a few years ago, but eventual had to recant their decision. Anyway, it is about time that a nation like England, with a population of 50 odd million started depending on home grown talent instead of plundering mercenaries from other countries just for the sake of winning.

Posted by ramli on (February 9, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

English cricket has not depended on individuals unlike in sub-continent ... but forcing uncharitable exit to a leading player is insulting ... how this will re-energise England players? Foolish thinking on the part of England cricket bosses ...

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 14:44 GMT)

Thank you David for a most instructive and informative article. And WOW -- "The ECB hierarchy.......will protect the authority of senior figures ahead of all other considerations." I have wondered if some of the irritation felt (by me, along with so many others) about the chopping of KP is because one feels the ECB/Flower has not played fair with him (or us, for that matter). It was widely reported at the time of his losing the captaincy that KP was no great fan of Flower, but he took his punishment from the ECB then, gritted his teeth and did perform under Flower. Then, re textgate, again he took his punishment, and duly ate humble pie in order to get back in the team. So, those offences are "spent". And, if his chief offence on THIS occasion was to speak his mind at a private team meeting the punishment does not fit the crime. IT ISN'T CRICKET if that was his "ethical fault".

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (February 8, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

@insult-2injury & MikeRo… cdnt agree more… no case to answer for the ECB, kp is a rapidly declining part time player in a team that needs to rebuild, if that player cannot assume a team mentality then he should go, for the benefit of the team… he has had a cpl of extra yrs and shd be grateful, kp should never have been welcomed back after 'textgate'… anyone who has played in a team sport would find his textgate behaviour repulsive, and something eng cricket fans will remember for a long time… and most are glad that kp has finally gone, other cricket fans who whinge about missing him can tune in to the IPL … good riddance

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (February 8, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

I get where you're going jonnyboy82, but there will be experience around the top order with Cook & Bell. A rebuilding team benefits immensely from these two through team oriented encouragement. KP's most telling comments came when he said he couldn't count on the bottom order. Sure his ego is well known, but it reached new heights when trying to lead a coup against Flower, by trying to get support from team mates he's publicly said he doesn't rate! At his age his best run production is seen to be behind him, so his only 'asset' to the team is a hit and miss cameo every now and again, meanwhile constantly acting outside the team framework to get his own way, for his own benefit, not the teams. Bell & Cook came out of thumping's from McGrath & Warne and developed into serviceable players. Some of the younger ones won't be completely scarred by Johnson/Harris and will develop from the experience. Now there's one more spot in the order to allow a young bloke to gain match experience.

Posted by moonfax on (February 7, 2014, 22:26 GMT)

It's crazy that he has been dropped, attitude and disruptive behaviour can be managed and worked on if that was the reason for dropping him BUT you can't develop the natural cricket talent he has in many other players. Who knows,...Englands loss may become South Africa's Gain and then they can demolish english cricket further. He is a joy to watch bat and even to go to local grounds. I'll give up watching England matches for a while I think. Bring on the IPL, some explosive fireworks will be seen there.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 21:55 GMT)

Victim of English revolution? or Tormentors in Chief, the Aussies? Aussies have clearly took England apart - left, right and centre and caused such a havoc, it would take at least few years to clear the debris. England are doing, exactly what Aus want them to do. Ditch your best player and build a new team that would take years. Aussies won this Ashes and have one hand on the next one. Leaving KP - is this bold and brave decision or silly and stupid?

Posted by MikeRo on (February 7, 2014, 15:48 GMT)

I think the fact that KP has left a series of unhappy employers behind him at Natal, Notts and Hampshire says a lot about the difficulty of managing him. Sure he has the talent, but obviously not the ability to work with others that a team game demands. If England want to rebuild the team, why would they want a disruptive influence in the dressing room. England should have jettisoned him after textgate.

Posted by CaptainSensible on (February 7, 2014, 13:34 GMT)

There's a great thing going around the Facebook pages. It goes 'There's no 'I' in team? - Actually there is - you'll find it in the 'A' hole'! (imagine a thinner capital A) KP has been described as a cancer in the dressing room - had his kit chucked out of the dressing room window even when at Notts, Textgate etc etc - he is clearly an awkward and difficult child. If England have to rebuild their team then I presume a team, rather a bunch of individuals is the answer. A good team will always beat 11 better individuals, and in that respect the England Management are showing their guts, understanding and sorting out the next phase of English cricket, good on 'em.

Posted by liz1558 on (February 7, 2014, 10:13 GMT)

nadodi - I think the word is dissolution

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 9:58 GMT)

KP should have been heard, if your best batsman is feeling low in an important series and that too because of the non playing staff then something needs to be done, England for all its virtue is over coaching players, I dont know what you could teach player as classy as Cook, Swann, KP, Prior or Broad. Remember this is the same team that won in India and prior Ashes, KP played a great role in that , this was a unneccasary step ,may take england backwards.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

You don't do scripts for alpha males. Obviously there's discipline and rules, but you do allow your mercurial best batsman some leeway and build the team around him. As great a coach Flower might have been, if he didn't get this simple lesson ahead of his own methods, he already failed. I have no problems with accepting, even knocking KP down a bit for his rant; he is egotistic like that. But let's be honest - no amount of Bairstow, Buttler, Morgan and Stokes put together top-scored against McGrath and Warne on debut at Lord's; or scored that series turning 186 in Mumbai vs India (2012). The fact that someone like Swann, unlikely to be on his Christmas Card list has backed him so openly does say something, because Swann isn't exactly the kind to mince words. Only thing England players should be 'sheepish' about, is betraying one of their own, and one of their very best.

Posted by Renagade on (February 7, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

this is the most disgusting event for the year 2014, what a great player to watch when in full flow, one of the most if not thee most exciting player ever after Sir Viv Richards, he not only played for the England team, but also helped other players as well. this Stupid English guys have dumped the best player in the History of English Cricket when they most needed Him. Go England Go to the Bottom Of Cricket. Last to KP you have always the IPL to Show these So Called Selectors what you are made of, GOD Bless You KP

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 7, 2014, 9:32 GMT)

So, what sunk KP in the end was his inability to pick up on the correct mood of the meeting - & by the time his frank out-of-place words were out of his mouth, his fate was sealed. There are many people who just can't pick up on such things as mood or atmosphere at meetings. To others, they always astonish, take the breath away in their inability to wrap up their communicaton in acceptable form & in my experience are on the autistic spectrum, specifically those suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. And before someone says, 'Oh yeah. Then we should let him off!' I would suggest that the situation (a players' meeting) was custom-built for someone with AS to misinterpret the signals about what was going on. We've seen it before; KP is maladroit in the communication areas; they've always landed him in trouble. And anyway England should have known about this condition in their great thoroughness. No matter, he fell on his own sword without meaning to. England & gt talent never mix: pathetic!

Posted by nadodi on (February 7, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

english devolution is correct.

Posted by Clyde on (February 7, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

Once the selectors have selected a team, what right does a coach have to interfere, or a captain, for that matter? The English set-up seems to have got itself into all sorts of trouble that an ordinary member of the public's understanding of the game would preclude. Mr Downton, for example, in reality has an issue with the selectors, not, in the first instance, with KP. KP has come out smelling of roses, and I think deservedly so. The parallel with the Arthur case and Australia is compelling: it is about the authoritarian, structuralised system's installing a somewhat alien figure and finding that the national team's soul is withered. Let's see if England can turn it around as well as Australia has. It is beyond me why Australia and England went for the coaches they did. I can only assume that, more benighted than most could believe, they really did think 'branding', or playing a 'brand of cricket' was desirable. I repeat, how about an ordinary person's approach?

Posted by knifewound on (February 7, 2014, 8:50 GMT)

So, who was the rat that went running to Flower to tell him all the things that nasty KP said about him?

Posted by pyramix on (February 7, 2014, 8:18 GMT)

I am not a KP fan by any means. But I don't think you can hold a meeting to encourage attendees to speak their minds freely, and then hold a person's feet to the fire when he does. Disagreements with management is not a new thing -- it happens in every field. KP had disagreed with it but continued to adhere to it until that meeting. He then spoke his mind, and I can understand if he felt that Flower was partly responsible for their shambles of a tour. It may not be correct, but that was his feeling and spoke his mind. You can't then drop him because of how he felt. Doesn't look like he did anything wrong to me.

Posted by quittthewhinging on (February 7, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

Naturally, the Administrators will make sure that the cricket world never finds out the truth behind all these "goings-on", but I can't avoid the impression that Flower is a nasty piece of work.

Posted by Shiw on (February 7, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

KP is different but an asset, a good one. ECB shouldn't have treated him that way. But that's eeeenglish eeeestyle, always conservative. Don't know how long it will take England Cricket Team to recuperate without KP in side. The mediocrity was well exemplified in the ODIs and T20. Lord save the Eeeenglish!!

Posted by Kelum_w on (February 7, 2014, 5:55 GMT)

Here's a radical thought, SA should get KP to bat at No4, now that Kallis has retired who better to play that spot other than KP who has also faced Australia 10 games in a row (He might be sick of them though).

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 5:16 GMT)

KP is a man "under two flags" and he respects neither. In the past he has been venting against SA, spoke of a fictitous quota system, designed to keep him out. Wild accusations that SA always denied. Once in the English side, he always managed to make the dressing room as toxic as possible. With KP its always about him. He believes he is the greatest ever and can do and say as he wills. He pays scant respect to anyone, except of course his paymasters at the IPL. There he is on his best behaviour as that is the sweetest pot of gold. Tells you tons about the man and his character.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

Isn't this scenario slightly similar to the Micky Arthur case for Australia. The situation for the Aussies where as bad on and off the field with players being questioned for their attitudes and coaches being fired for their dictatorial style. I think for both teams the crisis happened when they started losing a lot and losing it badly. These spats and losing the coaches or players are bound to happen. Although Flower's tenure was successful, but nobody will question his methods if the team is winning.

The Australian revolution however gives a lesson, that if you can manage the attitudes of good players, they can do wonders for you.

Posted by Sandeep.M.J.D on (February 7, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

I can admit KP as my hero now. He wants to live HIS life, the way he wants. Nothing wrong. If you are asking a STAR to follow your words, how stupid you are. Coach is to coach, coahing is consulting, suggesting, correcting NOT forcing, dictating, demanding. All managers knows this but just they cant admit someone else is better than them.

Posted by Rooboy on (February 7, 2014, 4:15 GMT)

Regardless of who said what, the bottom line is that Australia's chances of retaining the Ashes next series are significantly improved with Pietersen's axing. Would management that truly have the team's best interests at heart, make a decision to the team's detriment? Seems to be an awful lot of self interest. As an aside, loved the cartoon in the Herald Sun earlier this week, showing an axman with the chopping block and a basket to collect the result of the beheading, with a caption along the lines of 'KP? Gonna need a much bigger basket' ...

Posted by jayray999 on (February 7, 2014, 3:57 GMT)

Despicable behavior from Cook. You speak your mind behind closed doors in a "team only" meeting to which you are invited and your skipper, instead of watching your back, calmly reports your remarks to the authorities at the first available opportunity. How does one describe something like this: at best as cowardice and at worst as a carefully laid trap. Either way, no member of the English team can dare to speak his mind as long as Cook is in charge. You simply cannot know when the choir boy will decide to sing!

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 7, 2014, 1:58 GMT)

I'm not trying to make light of this but it reminds of a line I heard from a comedian back in the early 90's. At the time Mark Taylor was our captain but couldn't buy a run. Anyway, this comedian (Warrick Todd I think) said something like - "We called a team meeting and had a 'full and frank' discussion about the captains form. Then Tubby walked in so we all shut up."

Posted by alwick on (February 7, 2014, 1:32 GMT)

If the management failed to manage the players during tours they should accept it and step down (themselves). No issue with that because its best for cricket. KP's attitude was the only positivity we saw from English team in Aus. Not sure what the management trying to add in terms of revolution by taking the best batter and guy with the best positive attitude out, is it the continuation of display 'stupidity management'? Good luck English fans!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 1:06 GMT)

Some secret team meeting. It's like having a Union meeting and asking the management to sit in as well, what with obvious "snitching" that went on.

Posted by KingOwl on (February 7, 2014, 0:42 GMT)

England cricket team seems to be a highly political and vicious environment. It is amazing that they can play as a unit. I always thought that one of the great strengths of the people of European origins was their ability to manage others. It seems that it is not always the case. I can not believe that for instance, Asian teams operate in this type of toxic atmosphere.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 6, 2014, 23:49 GMT)

KP didn't get too big for the England team; it's the England team that got too small for KP.

Posted by disco_bob on (February 6, 2014, 23:40 GMT)

If this is what happened then two things are abundantly clear. England are utterly unable to manage a talent like Pietersen. The other is that Cook is incompetent at best as a leader of men, and possibly even a fool. Why? Because he leads KP into an environment that if not explicitly then certainly implicitly designed to elicit honesty from the attendees, and as a result of speaking his mind in what would have appeared to KP, as the time and place to do it, is then subsequently sacked from the England set up. Cook is like a child when it comes to management and I predict that his batting will precipitously decline even further as a result of this incompetent attempt at playing being a leader. It is crystal clear that the paying public from all countries wish to see KP play for another two years as it may be a long time if ever before anyone comparable emerges from the England set up.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 23:17 GMT)

"A chance to speak freely..." Brits have a different meaning of the word "free" than some of us do, perhaps.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 23:15 GMT)

@Sigismund - Do you know Kevin Pietersen and know him well enough from a long and close personal relationship to make such aggravated and sweeping accusations as you do or are you just another opinionated donkey who likes to see his own name in print? On second thought I apologise - it was unfair and unjust to the donkey to compare him to you.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 23:06 GMT)

If every player larger than life was to be sacked for being unmanageable, quite a few of the games greatest stars would have had their career cut short long before it had run its course. To name but three "unmanageable" characters: Sir Ian Botham would be plain Ian Botham with about half the runs and wickets he actually got. How long would Shane Warne have lasted before being axed? David Warner would have been gone after his brawl with Root's wig. That Andy Flower turns out to be such a petty and vindictive person tarnishes his legacy as England coach for ever as most of his accomplishments were due to KP's performances.

Posted by LeeHallam on (February 6, 2014, 22:58 GMT)

If this story is what happened, and it seems to fit all the known facts, then on its own the incident does not appear a big deal. But of course it was not on it's own, Kevin has form. They have taken it as an attempt to topple another coach, and have decided that he will not benefit from it. He should have been sacked over text-gate, he was put on probation, and he blew it!

Posted by njr1330 on (February 6, 2014, 22:52 GMT)

England have named Steven Parry in their latest squad. Parry struggled to get into Lancashire's Championship XI last season, and got so fed up, he ended up playing league cricket in Liverpool on Saturdays.

Will I pay big money to watch KP, warts and all? Absolutely. Will I pay big money to watch a guy who isn't sure of a place in Lancashire's 2nd XI? I don't think so!

Posted by ReadThiS on (February 6, 2014, 22:40 GMT)

I'm sure there is something that ECB is hiding from all of us.

Posted by cryptq1 on (February 6, 2014, 22:24 GMT)

Think KP will be bettor off and enjoy life, and his cricket, more without having to deal with this bunch. Good luck to the remaining lot.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 6, 2014, 22:21 GMT)

England let their best batsmen go who is also a solid mentor for their younger batsmen coming through and the reason for the sacking is politics and power.

Looks like the next few years will be dark for England cricket, this will affect team morale. I'm becoming comfortable with Australia retaining the ashes next year.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 21:57 GMT)

England made this decision in favor of Australia, India, WI, srilanka, Pak, NZ and all other test or ODI playing nations. KP was a big asset to English team. He played better then most players in Ashes. You are most welcome to come and play IPL. You will be missed.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (February 6, 2014, 21:53 GMT)

I can guarantee you that at the end of it all, Flower will come out a better coach and KP will still be KP.

Posted by stumpedlloyd on (February 6, 2014, 21:16 GMT)

@mirandola: Except Flower hasn't been bitten, really, because the ECB has decided that he is the ideal person to identify and groom future leaders! So the ECB, in all its inglorious wisdom, is saying that rigidity is what we want to see in future captains. No place for mavericks. No place for exciting players. No place for players who might not conform and walk in lock step with everyone else. I watched the century KP scored against Sri Lanka to win a test there. Is there anyone else in the side who could have taken the game away from the Sri Lankans like he did? Clearly, Cook and Prior (why is he still vice-captain?) call a meeting for the players to air their grievances, then turn around and snitch to Flower about what KP said. Cook and Prior need to be tossed out. They are more to blame for The Ashes debacle than KP or Root or anyone else. And that someone had to go complain about what KP said in a team meeting speaks volumes about how ineffectual Cook is. Time for him to be sacked.

Posted by Gmale on (February 6, 2014, 20:42 GMT)

Who am I - England cricket team manager. What's my job - select & manage a team that maximizes England's chances of winning a cricket match. Does KP increase England's chances of winning a cricket match - yes. Is KP a team player - probably not. Does KP like me - no. Do I like him - no as a person, yes as a batsman. Will I pick him - yes. Why - see answer to 'What's my job' above. If I pick a team full of people I like, I am implicitly killing the 'manage' aspect of my job. That is not why ECB hired me. I know KP will win England cricket matches on the field. Off the field he can do anything he wants so long as he is winning games for England. If I pick KP even when he hates me, that will only highlight the fact that I let nothing come in the way of performing my job to the best of my abilities. By discarding KP because of personal disagreements and communication styles, I will not be doing my job. SOLUTION - suck up my ego and hire KP. He's not my wife whom I have to live with.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 20:36 GMT)

My issue with the KP thing is that he's essentially in trouble for being disruptive to the team culture... look at where the team's at? Is its culture worth anything right now? Does it even have a meaningful one? The England camp seems more concerned with support staff than players and set on cultivating yes men. I'd have thought after such a spectacularly disastrous tour you'd want to overhaul the team setup and culture. Not nail your colours to its mast.

Posted by Old_Keeper on (February 6, 2014, 20:35 GMT)

I have to agree with "wightred" - gutless is a strong but appropriate word to use here. The management, selectors, and administrators at the ECB have made a series of frankly incredibly bad decisions. The issue is not whether you love or loath KP, but more in the manner that this whole situation has been handled by those supposedly in charge. What must the new players be thinking, with no apparent clear leadership, and the ECB and its team lurching from one disaster to another. No wonder the whizz kids (and some older wiser heads) have elected to become 20/20 mercenaries - at least they get to choose what career path to take.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 6, 2014, 20:25 GMT)

"maybe I was recorded or 'hacked' but if not I'd like to see where these words I apparently said have come from"

Isn't that an admission Morgan's claim is true?

Posted by Sal76 on (February 6, 2014, 20:11 GMT)

I'm not going to say what has not already been said. When it comes to talent and performance in the English dressing room, KP was in a class of his own. Did he have issues, yes, he did; we all know that. Managing issues is what team management is supposed to do. If Flower was a headmaster, why couldn't he handle a brat like KP. All the headmasters and headmistresses I have ever had were quite capable of handling brats. Having said that, I do agree with @Rajdev. How come KP never has any issues with his IPL team mates and management. I'm sure Flower, as a professional, could have sought some advice. Secret team meeting only means one thing - vent, and that's all KP did, he vented. If anything, Cook and Prior should be charged with creating a negative environment. After all, KP had been following the prescription given to him since the texting episode. So why did Cook and Prior change the prescription?

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (February 6, 2014, 19:39 GMT)

Lets have a bit of perspective here. Pietersen is toxic to the team environment and has been in Natal, Nottinghamshire and Hampshire as well as England (more than once). He is also these days a mediocre batsman on the world stage. Don't believe me? Then look at the Player Rankings on the Archive Section: He is 18th in the test rankings (which is dominated by players who bat 4 or 5 when the shine is off the ball), 47th in the One Day Rankings (behind several Bangladeshi's, Irishmen and a Zimbabwean - well done them) and plays so infrequently in 20/20 that he doesn't make the top hundred batman. Statistics are not everything - though they get it right over Steyn, De Villiers and Clarke etc. For every genius innings in the last four years there have been 10 bad ones - and that isn't good enough for an experienced player playing in a favoured batting position. Even if he was the heart and soul of the team his position should have been under pressure on performance terms alone

Posted by crktttt on (February 6, 2014, 19:30 GMT)

You hold a secret meeting to discuss some negatives, and don't expect at least one rant.. especially when they were really really down. Wow..

Posted by Sigismund on (February 6, 2014, 19:30 GMT)

I'm amazed by some of the fanatic defences put up here. People seem to have bought the line that KP is merely a difficult character (often found with talent) and the management have failed to manage him properly; there have been lots of difficult characters. But these comparisons are not valid, because the individual psychologies are not the same. This fellow is literally impossible to manage, because he doesn't even know his own character or values himself. Everything he does is contrived towards some the achievement of some romantic foible he is currently playing out in his mind. You cannot trust him, because you cannot know him. He has no loyalty at all. He is a menace to any society he ever enters. Surely everyone has encountered someone a bit like this in their lives; but KP is the archetype. It may well be true that the management style is stifling creativity, or that a better captain would improve the team; but none of this is actually relevant.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 18:58 GMT)

Priors use of the words "hidden microphone" and "Hacked" would indicate he did say that Flower was acting like a school teacher!

KP gets it in the neck again and someone he thought was his friend stabs him in the back as the rest at that meeting have!

Posted by mirandola on (February 6, 2014, 18:49 GMT)

The usual nonsense from one-eyed Pietersen supporters. Pietersen has long been a divisive and destabilizing influence on the England team. I stated years ago that, talented as he is, I wouldn't have him in any team of mine, simply because he will only ever play for one side - KP's XI. He won't lose financially by this, since it frees him up to play all the mercenary T0 stuff he wishes; in a couple of years, as he loses his Test batsman profile, he'll go down in the auction prices, but he'd be retiring by then anyway, having made his money. Storm in a teacup. The real point is that Flower, having had success with his rigid programmes, now finds that rigidity has turned and bitten him; England have had enough of the mechanical system, time to try something new (which - who knows?) might even turn Cook from a Flower clone into an exciting and proactive captain.

Posted by wightred on (February 6, 2014, 18:39 GMT)

Just wonder if any of the players have got the balls to come out and tell the true story. Or are they just going to sit on their hands and let KP take the fall and then wait till they retire, so they can tell it warts and all in their eagerly awaited autobiographies. Gutless the lot of them

Posted by harishk8006 on (February 6, 2014, 18:25 GMT)

i was under the impression that people pay to watch players and KP was one such player who was worth paying to watch him play.....but in England it looks like people will have to pay to watch coaches and back room staff now...what a sad thing to say the least!!!! I pity England fans.....

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (February 6, 2014, 18:11 GMT)

What is sad is that Prior did not liken Flower to a head,master. Except he is more petty thn any headmaster I have encountered. Also the rest of people at the top-too petty minded and small minded for words.Impossible to deal with. I would make KP captain now. We need to be entertained and there is not much of that left in England side.I'm spitting blood.

Posted by Stumay on (February 6, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

So Cook and Prior organise a 'secret' meeting, going behind the backs of the coaches and the support staff, yet it's Pietersen who gets the boot because he speaks out. Why has Cook as Captain or Prior as Vice Captain not been openly criticised for their roles in this? It seems crazy to stage a meeting and then be outraged when someone says something controversial, especially if you're 4-0 down.

Posted by seantells on (February 6, 2014, 17:58 GMT)

one simple question overlooked and not answered by ECB , who's goona replace KP and do they have any current player has shown signs of becoming star player suits all formats? , my answer is NO

Posted by Rajdev on (February 6, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

@Diaz54. I agree with your comments but must also point out (as many others have) that KP had people-problems with other teams in England and South Africa. So the fallout with the England team and management, are only the symptoms of KP's people-problems. BTW, how has KP interacted with his IPL teammates? Not much has been written about that. Rajan

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

The real question is: Would Pietersen have been cut loose if England won the Ashes? The English establishment knew what they were getting when they selected Pietersen - an extremely annoying but particularly gifted cricketer. England has always settled for South Africans to get them out of trouble, irrespective of their flat vowel sounds and cockiness. On three occasions, South Africans have saved England by scoring a century in the final test at the Oval. D'Oliveira in 1968, Trott in 2009, and Pietersen in 2005. Pietersen's innings saved test cricket. He showed England that an outstanding Australian team could be beaten. His dismissal will hasten the end of test cricket. Only England attracts substantial crowds for test cricket. Watch how paltry the crowds are for South Africa v. Australia. Pietersen is the real winner here. He will make 5-10 million dollars per year.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 17:52 GMT)

KP is accused of having a big ego but isn't he the one who spoke his mind at this team meeting? His thoughts not being in sync with the rest of the team is a different matter. But if he is upfront enough to criticize (even accuse) the coach about his coaching in the team meeting what he deserves is a similar upfront approach. It is hard to believe that no one other than KP had any doubts about Flower's coaching style. KP seems to have held Flowers coaching methods to be the reason for England'd downfall. And Flower manages to end KP's career. One party (Flower) involved in the issue is able to act as judge or influence the judgement against the other party (KP). That is not fair.What's the use of tens of back room staff if you can't manage your most valuable asset?. KP is and will be a valued player in T20 circuits around the world and he will make loads of money. But to end KP's test career on such a note is rather disappointing.

Posted by woody3 on (February 6, 2014, 17:52 GMT)

This is disgusting. Sounds like, even from the Prior/Cook point of view it was Pieterson who was "betrayed". Not only should he be reinstated he should get an apology and Cooks pretty poor captaincy consigned to history.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 6, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

@anton1234 - If your petition succeeds, expect another one calling for his sacking. I'm not signing either. Like the MCC vote on Gower years ago, a complete waste of time.

Posted by huntgra on (February 6, 2014, 17:34 GMT)

You convene/invite/lure me to a private players only meeting(comfortable environment). You ask me to give my honest opinion about the management of the team, which i did. A rat decided to divulge my remarks to management and i was admonished.Later I told that i am no longer apart of the team. There is something really unethical about this,the player who divulge the contents of the meeting should be exposed and reprimanded. Coach Flower you cannot have a united team with players spying on one another because this wont end with KP if you are that insecure. Captain Cook, you should be standing up for your players, right now you looking spineless,after all it was you who convened this meeting. KP has lost his ability to earn and nothing from you. Was this meeting convened to set him up?

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 6, 2014, 17:32 GMT)

@simon_w - Some common sense at last. Thanks.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 6, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

@Paul_Somerset - Perhaps that is what Mr Hopps is referring to. However, I've never found such unthinking prejudice in his writing before, so I doubt it.

Posted by Narkovian on (February 6, 2014, 17:20 GMT)

I have enjoyed watching KP bat over the years. But also have great sympathy with ECB and the apparent majority of the ENG team who obviously don't like his behaviourand attitude. Reminds me of Ferguson ousting BECKHAM from Man.U. some years ago.It seemed shocking at the time. People who didn't conform to the team ethic and became "Mavericks" had no place in his teams. No-one now thinks Ferguson was wrong.. do they ?!

Posted by anton1234 on (February 6, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

There should be petition started by England fans to bring Pietersen back. England are just not exciting to watch without him. If we can have him up to and including the Ashes 2015.

Posted by Diaz54 on (February 6, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

Funny thing is I am a Pakistani, lived here for more 30 years and some how understand what Petersen feels like. Now he may have been strong in his views but that is understandable given his contribution to England side for many years and with out doubt his contribution resulted in many England players benefiting from his approach. I include Strauss, Vaughn,,flint off Swann etc. Petersen brought that killer instinct no body else has. I don't agree with this micro management style that Flower encouraged. I am very sure Perersen had no support from his jealous teammates. Petersen would in my opinion have done better in other international sides. When it mattered who stood up to Aussies? Prior, talks a lot, thinks he is feet but can't deliver, I can say same about captain,,Swann, Anderson,,broad to lesser extent, but all,failed. At least Petersen could have challenged the Aussies if he had the support.

Posted by simon_w on (February 6, 2014, 16:57 GMT)

i'm always impressed at the way people express forthright opinions based on absolutely nothing in these cricinfo comments, and this issue has seen a real high-point in that trend. as an England fan, i neither know nor care about the gory details of what has happened here -- i was very disappointed with the way the team performed in Australia, and i'm looking forward to seeing how (and if) they can recover in the coming series and tournaments. i wish the team all the best. KP's been a top player for England, and i've enjoyed watching him bat (his 91* off 65 balls at Bristol against the Aussies in 2005 remains the best innings I've ever seen in the flesh). now he's gone. he'll go down as one of the best batsmen to have played for England. i wish him all the best, too. it's not an outrage, or a disgrace.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

Being an Australian supporter,after the first two tests the only batsman I was really worried about was KP.He was the only player who could take the game away from Aussies quick smart.Bad move England!

Posted by BailsRgo on (February 6, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

Now that we have heard from James Whitticker, only via a SkySports interview it seems to me that whatever the fuss about Pietersen there remains a complete blind-spot about responsibility for the shambles of the Ashes tour. Nowhere has there been any expression of regret or horror about what has happened. Rather, it seems the ECB arrogantly want us all to believe they have things under control and just wish to concentrate on the West Indies tour and T20 World Cup - as if nothing has happened!!! The Ashes shambles was not only Pietersen's fault - it was the team plus the management. Now, who is going to accept failure and resign - the ECB? Cook? Anybody? Let's have some truth rather than the legaleeze being talked at present.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (February 6, 2014, 16:46 GMT)

OK so what exactly has happened here ? the whole team , possibly under Cook and prior's leadership calls a 'secret' meeting so that players can speak freely , KP does exactly that and tells his honest opinions about the coach , his supposed to be trustworthy teammates back stab KP and reports this to the very same coach , and the coach who was going to resign kicks out KP before he goes down. I feel sad for English cricket fans , cant help but imagine f how someone like lehman or gary kristen would have handled it !

Posted by AIRkris on (February 6, 2014, 16:46 GMT)

what a mess... (1) a "well-meaning", "secret" team meeting? - that sounds like undermining flower's authority, and (2) a "secret" meeting for players to speak "freely"? - KP spoke freely and is "see you later, brother"...

Posted by SevereCritic on (February 6, 2014, 16:45 GMT)

So, KP thought that Cook finally grew a pair and spoke his mind in a meeting. Apparently he was wrong. Cook's still a weasel. And KP got axed. Good luck England. With a leader/captain like that, you will need it.

Posted by groggyme on (February 6, 2014, 16:39 GMT)

I remember Shane Warne having an issue with John Buchanan..to their credit they didn't let it come between them. Also Ganguly vs Greg Chappell comes to mind. It's the fault of the management / captain if they are not able to manage the players. A captain's job is to stoke / manage a players ego / emotions and get the best out of him for the teams sake, its all about managing your team. The coach has to simply be there to help the captain and not rule it like a dictator.The ECB really needs to answer to all the cricket lovers out there on there decision.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 16:33 GMT)

Where is misreading a situation and ending a career , that too of a great player, cmon this is a bunch of schoolboys at play...

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 16:32 GMT)

Sacking KP will not solve England'f problems. He will do fine without them. He is a great player and will do very well in the IPL and other 20-20 leagues.

Posted by web_guru2003 on (February 6, 2014, 16:31 GMT)

With KP game, English team is boring. I wont be waking up in the middle of the night to watch Trott or Cook blocking 75 out of 100 deliveries. People dont pay and talk about coaches, they pay to watch players.

Posted by xylo on (February 6, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

Riddle me this... "The absence of England's swollen backroom staff was intended to give players a chance to speak freely" and "It was not long before Flower heard about what had occurred"... this would set the right example for generations to come.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (February 6, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

20 Backroom boys to manage 15 players and some to spare. I am not for extreme end on coaching views as held by Ian Chappell and Warner but 20 seems a bit too much

Posted by 13thSlip on (February 6, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

In American sport, players-only meetings are common when a team is in crisis. You also seldom see this sort of no-tolerance policy on the part of management when a player questions or resists his coach's philosophy, even if he does so publicly and aggressively. If this were the NFL, the NBA, or MLB, nine times out of ten the coach would be fired and the dissenting player would still be playing. They understand that the fans don't pay to watch the coaches.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 16:03 GMT)

isn't it bizarre that, with all the management and back room staff and all their experience no one seems to have thought it a good idea for the players to have a regular meeting without all the staff to discuss how they are being managed? this would allow them to give an opinion on the effect any management style is having on them without feeling they have to have 'secret meetings' they are the ones who actually do the job on the field and its as if the support staff have taken on a higher status than the players. this current blow up could well have been avoided but KP is definitely gone this time and the team is going to have to play without him.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

Seems to me that Andy Flower can't help but take Pietersen down with him. To be honest Flowers continuing role as a selector, to me, is just about the most baffling aspect of this whole fiasco, I can't imagine him NOT letting personalities come into it. What an absolute nightmare for English cricket fans.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 15:49 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft. Your remarks are spot on!

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

I m a sl fan.the only player entertained me in english team is kp.with out him english cricket is boring to watch

Posted by The_other_side on (February 6, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

KP has fallen foul to English Revolution!! or Revolution was created to oust KP!!!! He is the best player and probably only matchwinner in tests, considering Eoin Morgan plays only ODIs...

The malaise that English cricket always suffered is visible here, in that they want only "YES BOSS men". Compare it with Aussie culture, where innovation is applauded, speaking out opinions is encouraged...

Too bad England leave a man cos they cant manage him. Hopefully they can get a replacement half as good as KP.

One cannot take everything that people like KP say and look under microscope before deciding their careers. He behaves like larger than life on the field and delivers performances that are amazing, and speaks his mind in the team meetings- all goes with the personna!!!!

WAKE UP England.

Posted by harishk8006 on (February 6, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

Author has got it all wrong......looks like author assumes KP was expecting support from other players to make it a "revolt" against flower, which may not be the case......KP has just voiced his opinion about management strategies and policies and it happened to be negative and he may not be expecting any support from other players.....but actually to his benefit the whole thing is blown and and is out of this ungrateful team who does not value his abilities and talent......I FEEL its ECB's loss not KP's by any means as now, as a freelance playert he would be THE hot property for T20 clubs around the world.....especially IPL...... and make lot more money and get all the needed rest to his body and prolong his T20 career for more longer time!!!!

Posted by inswing on (February 6, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

Call a players meeting without the staff so players can express their feelings without fear. Then fire someone when they do. Genius.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 15:35 GMT)

as an outsider, it appears that the England setup has an inability to assimilate genius(Ian Botham,Kevin Peiterson) into the framework...in what other country will you have a true modern day great like KP being treated like the way he was?? bar KP,england are only a side good to mediocre players...you dont need to be an einstein to figure out how to deal with the talent that KP is...i feel sorry for KP...if it was India (he would have been treated like SRT,almost)

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 15:35 GMT)

lol... sounds like a bunch of teenagers arguing over who has "power" over whom.... sheesh... talk about first world problems.... i hope these guys learn a lesson from some of the associate nations like afghanistan.... maybe they will learn a thing or two and learn to put their things behind their love for the game.... all of them.... not just KP

Posted by Paul_Somerset on (February 6, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

@shillingsworth: it's a very English revolution in the sense that the men in suits from the Establishment have reaffirmed their very agreeable and comfortable status, with no care or concern about the damage inflicted on individuals or the national interest.

Posted by Biggus on (February 6, 2014, 15:32 GMT)

@StaalBurgher:- Indeed, I agree with the point about Cook failing to pull KP into line at the meeting. We all have our ideas on how captaincy should work, and mine will indubitably be influenced by my Australian nationality, but here's how I think it should have gone:- Cook should have settled KP down at the meeting, something along the lines of, "Settle down Kev, let's keep this constructive." After the meeting Cook should have gone to Flower to broach the subject of the discontent. No names should have been mentioned, just that there was an issue that needed to be addressed. A strong leader should have been able to sort this out, did he even try or did he see the incident as his chance to rid himself of a perceived nuisance? For what it's worth had he been our's he probably would have been axed sooner. We Aussies don't mind individualism but we are highly intolerant of actions that sabotage team interests, just ask Andrew Symonds.

Posted by jonnyboy82 on (February 6, 2014, 15:30 GMT)

England players have been reminded of their ethical responsibility to say exactly what the team management expect them to say and not question their methodology, tactics, approach, leadership despite being invited to do so.

Apparently leaking the details of private team meetings does not constitute a breach of team ethics. Whittaker's interview = forward defensive push to mid-off for no run.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 6, 2014, 15:20 GMT)

Why do they make it complicated? If Peitersen does well let him play; if not select the one who plays better. Why do you need a coach for world class players? Make the Skipper responsible and empower him; of course with an annual examination of his performance. Get rid of all administrators.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

Flower has always had an Ego and Arrogance as big as KP he just expresses it in a different way. If this was flowers doing they he did it for his own selfish reasons and not for the good of English cricket. at the end of the day he has not scored one run for England on the field has he?

Posted by StaalBurgher on (February 6, 2014, 14:59 GMT)

The fact that the captain and vice-captain had to organize a secret meeting because of problems with the coaching environment says it all. It is not surprising that the guy with the greatest independence streak spoke out too much or overly harsh. Wow, so what. He said things the rest didn't agree with. The captain is not strong enough to deal with him then and there and to set the tone for the meeting. If he is the only one that felt like that, he had his say and the rest can make it clear he is on his own. No need to blow this up. Then of course you have another incident of an "insider" going outside and being a tattle-tale. Seems you can't trust anyone in that dressing room. Another individual with a grudge? Sounds like it.

Posted by Mittaraghava on (February 6, 2014, 14:54 GMT)

K.P.has to face,his repeated episodes of indisipline.No doubt he has immense talent but an individual cannot be greater then the game.His behaviour had become detrimental to the team's disipline,which is more importent then success.Hence ECB is justified by its action against KP.He had been twice taken back into the team after his apologies,in the recent past.No lessons learnt?Once he was dropped from the test team after scoring a century.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 14:51 GMT)

The ECB and Flower built up one of the successful English teams ever, and almost over night, tore it apart again. Trott, Swann and now KP, players who still had several good years left in them, are now gone with no clear successors in sight. Unless England recover quickly from this mess with wins on the field then Flower's legacy will alway be known as the one who suffocated the English team to its death.

Posted by Randall174 on (February 6, 2014, 14:47 GMT)

Matt "I can hold my head high" Prior gets dropped from his position as wk and vice-captain and two weeks later is holding a meeting behind his coach's back.

All for the team of course.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 14:40 GMT)

KPs departure is Mayhem for his supporters and EC future.

Posted by nateaisthorpe on (February 6, 2014, 14:34 GMT)

Remember those boring England cricket days of the 90's when we would have given our right arm for a player like kevin. He should have stayed captain in 2008. Is it his ego or is it his passion that won't let him be silent on the failings of the english managment.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

Sounds to me like they called a meeting expecting constructive, professional opinions from well informed people and Pietersen gave them a destructive, personal tirade hoping like always to get his own way. KP might be able to bat, but he's got a long list of instances when he's taken the path of needing things done his way. Make runs and people will put up with that. When those runs dry up, you'll have little else to hang your hat on to keep your place.

Posted by David_Boon on (February 6, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

This whole saga is hilarious, what a shambles. Drop your best player, what a great idea. When is the Jimmy Anderson 'retirement' ceremony again?

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 6, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

Rumour and speculation fuelled by exchanges on a social media site. A modern revolution perhaps but the author fails to explain what is 'English' about it.

Posted by Bubba2008 on (February 6, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

@nareshgb1: I think it's a bit harsh to name Jimmy Anderson as the primary culprit for England's failure. There were several players who had series which were as bad or worse, ie Swann, Cook, Root, Prior, and not to mention Tremlett, Rankin, and Bresnan. Anderson was not as effective as the last time he was in Australia, but having been the world's second best fast bowler for the best part of four years, I think he's due for a bad series.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

The English team obviously has lines of bureaucracy to supplement the 'professional' culture cultivated by Flower, I assume that there is an official channel for communicating one's gripes not unlike how the HR department works in a corporate environment. Cook, being the teams captain, broke the unwritten rules when he called everyone in to express their thoughts. KP was being honest, was he justified in saying what he did? I don't know, but he cannot be held accountable for speaking his mind when his captain asks him to. This is beyond ridiculous. It seems like they needed a scape goat, and the axe fell on their most talented player.

Posted by Baundele on (February 6, 2014, 14:09 GMT)

So, at the end the ECB management has found some reasons to drop their top scorer in a failed Ashes! Oh boy! And the revolution engineers remain untouched. This is why they say, never speak your mind, unless you have the consequences in your control.

Posted by anoopshameed on (February 6, 2014, 14:05 GMT)

Think ECB has finally done some justice to Pietersen! For a guy who felt lonely, pretty much the whole world is with him now!

Posted by StJohn on (February 6, 2014, 13:51 GMT)

What a total shambles. Why call a players meeting for players to express their opinions and then become upset or whatever because KP expresses a particularly strident opinion? Surely the very purpose of the meeting was to allow people to express themselves? To end someone's career over something so trivial is pathetic.

Posted by Manxmuppet on (February 6, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

All this he said this and they said that is like something out of a playground. The nuts and bolts of the issue is this: Will England win more games of cricket now KP is not in the team?

Personally, I think not, but at least they'll be a super team spirit in the dressing room as they lose game after game. Oh whoopee! How lovely.

Posted by Biggus on (February 6, 2014, 13:38 GMT)

Actually I'm surprised KP lasted this long. England's always been uncomfortable with individuals/nonconformists, doubly so if they're 'foreigners'. The esteemed members in their egg and bacon ties just don't think guys like KP are the 'right sort of chap'. KP is a bit of a dill and does himself no favours but as soon as he stopped making enough runs to make his exclusion unthinkable the writing was surely on the wall.

Posted by nareshgb1 on (February 6, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

This article should turn the tide in KP's favor. Trott going away - cannot be KP's attitude. Swann? Maybe....but the man himself writes otherwise. Jimmy Anderson's pathetic bowling (probably the single biggest cricketing reason for the failre) - cannot be KP (going with a 4 man attack to Australia, knowing how Jimmy;s performance had tapered off in the England leg of the ashes --- THAT is a BIG problem. One with no solution admittedly given the paucity of bowling talent at England's disposal - maybe in some weird way that is KP;'s fault heh?).

And calling for a meeting to "air grievances" (why was it called? A suspision that Flower was indeed flawed and ....errr, KP was right?) and then not liking what KP says? I mean "come here fellas -- say what you want as long as it is what we want to hear" - is that it? Utterly silly, childish.

I will be booing England whenever they play now - even against the Ozzies.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 13:31 GMT)

Remember the switch-hit. KP has always been an entertainer. England will surely miss him, and us the followers of cricket. His ironic switch from South Africa to England mirrors his innovative change from right-hand to left hand - what an entertainer. He deserved a more dignified end to international cricket.

Posted by geordiehorn on (February 6, 2014, 13:23 GMT)

So the players saw fit to leak Pietersen's comments to Flower but are appalled at Prior's comments being leaked? This whole thing is ugly. If a player can't express an honest opinion at a players' meeting then those meeting become entirely pointless. This whole episode is reflecting badly on just about everybody, particularly Cook and Flower.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

it took a while but finally it's all business as usual.

an england team drifting back into mediocrity and its followers sinking into moroseness....

as for the english cricket board, who cares about poor performances. all will be forgiven and forgotten if you're the sort of player who doesn't rock the boat much.

basically someone who is the very opposite of KP.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 6, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

@Biggus (post on February 6, 2014, 11:21 GMT): I'm kinda in the same boat as you - I neither love KP nor hate him; I'm one of the very few England fans that questioned KP's presence in a number of series when he was in poor form. But to be kicked out altogether...!?

The way I see cricket, ANY player (be that Bradman, Tendulkar, Warne, KP... (not implying all such players are in the same league by the way)) that shows a significant run of poor form and/or fitness concerns and/or disruptive attitude/influence etc. should be given 'time out' to go and work-on/rectify those problems. Has patience just simply run out with KP? Has he been given ample chances and just blown them? If the answer to these is no, then to discard such a talented player completely is not only baffling, but darn-right embarrassing for cricket and England fans especially. Tempers have obviously flared somewhere about something, & we're yet to see/hear the full story (or more likely stories). Better be good one(s)!

Posted by flowersintherain on (February 6, 2014, 12:58 GMT)

So much about the story that seems to show that Pietersen was treated shabbily. First, Pietersen airs his views at a private team meeting called specifically to discuss concerns about coaching and these views are somehow conveyed to Flower. What does that say about team cohesion, and specifically about the player who leaked the account of the meeting? Then, the ECB acquiesces to a failed coach (Flower) that Pietersen should go because he was critical of Flower at a private meeting called specifically to air concerns about the coaches! Not sure who comes out worse - the leadership of the England team - Cook, Prior et al, or the ECB! You couldn't make this up!

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 12:58 GMT)

Look KP is clearly bonkers, but we all knew that before any of this happened. We are forever bemoaning the fact that we have no characters in sport and here he is a true character who should be properly managed to channel his undoubted energy and talents in to helping the team. This is a failure of management to get the best out of KP.

Posted by shillingsworth on (February 6, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

Rumour and speculation fuelled by exchanges on a social media site. A modern revolution perhaps but the author fails to explain what is 'English' about it

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

KP has played a vital role in raising up the level of cricket in England. Everyone knows where England stood before KP era. For me, he is the greatest batsman that England ever had and a natural entertainer of cricket. England cricket is going nowhere without him. He played for those English and they sidelined him in an unanimous way. Pretty embarrassing!!

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 12:42 GMT)

Ahh the toys come out of the pram. Nice one ECB: I think all the players to an extent are scapegoat to the overall issue: these new ECB guys aren't cut out to handling people. They deal with computers, money and the like but when it comes to people they're woefully stretched. Pietersen scared them because of the way he is and instead of finding a way to keep the peace, they decide to get rid of him: WEAK!! You get rid of England's no 2 batsman ever (Cook is better just) and one of our best ever match winners. Shame on all the ECB and on Flower who is supposed to be a level headed man who accepted that everyone is their own man and as long as they contribute to the team, that's no problem. Where'd that go then hmmmm? Pathetic. Watch New Zealand people; much better cricket and attitude towards one another (Take the Ross Taylor incedent which they sorted out)

Posted by 64blip on (February 6, 2014, 12:39 GMT)

Whoever leaked this version of events clearly saw it as justification for Pietersen's removal - the headline in the Telegraph read 'Pietersen's anti-Flower tirade was final straw' - but upon reading the details all we discover is a man who expressed his opinion on the coach and his methods at a secret meeting called, by others, for exactly that purpose. What he said - at this secret meeting - was then divulged to the coach who, it turns out, expects all his players to agree with him and like him, even when they're on the wrong end of 4-0 with an Ashes whitewash staring them in the face. All those wanting to hear a good reason for his sacking are still waiting. I'm confused as to what the position all the other England players whose mood Pietersen "spectacularly misjudged" was. They'd called a secret meeting because Flower was helping them too much and they needed to stand on their own two feet more? And for this we need a secret meeting? Looks like KP's everybody's scapegoat.

Posted by JayPeg on (February 6, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

KP got done in by semantics. That's a very English thing. While they argue about the words the team gets drubbed in Oz. Perhaps they should rethink what the word win actually means as they appear to understand lose very well. Very English indeed!

Posted by Amit68 on (February 6, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

England's best player is sacked for speaking his mind in a meeting. Pretty much ensures that all future meetings will be echo chambers with lots of nodding at whatever the captain and coach say.

Posted by 200ondebut on (February 6, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

I see no one is denying that Prior didn't say what is being alleged. Just that it wasn't meant that way?

This whole thing is being blilnded by jealousy.

Posted by MCSJCW on (February 6, 2014, 12:32 GMT)

All I can say is, most people in SA are probably not surprised that KP is once again (3rd time) at the centre of a controversy

Serves you right for taking our discards. He would not have gotten far in SA cricket no matter how talented he eventually looked to be. He has an attitude problem and is not worth having in the team, unless you are desperate I suppose.

Also, can you just imagine how many more KP-type talents SA and AUS would have produced if we played 30 games a year? Both KP and Trott,even keiswietter were nothing special in SA but obviously the sheer number of games played in county championships makes a big difference. imagine AB,Amla, Kallis if they had that amount of games to hone their skills.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 12:32 GMT)

Best player catapulted for speaking his mind!! This whole episode is becoming more ridiculous by the day. I actually think flower's intense regime didn't do them any favours - being on tour and coming so soon after the English series didn't give the players time to refresh themselves, and it clearly wasn't an environment in which they could thrive. Coming up against an outstanding bowling attack that complimented each other beautifully didn't help matters either! I think this could be Flower's revenge.

Posted by Arnav.A on (February 6, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

I still feel England as much better team, even after complete wipe-out in test series and it could barely manage 1 win in the one-dayers.Away series are always challenging, look at Indian team performance in the recent series against South Africa and New Zealand, it's pathetic to say the least. Still we worship our heroes and not only we give them chance after chances they are the highest sold out cricket players in IPL.ECB should not pressurize their own players , its resulting in premature retirements of some of the biggest players. Pacifying media outrage is easy, just arrange for one home series with subcontinent team :-) ,and the same bunch of players will come out with flying colors.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Going by this, I think KP has been unlucky. He clearly misread the agenda of the meeting. What's regrettable is that it leaked out. However this doesnt mean that KP has been made a scapegoat by Cook. Evidently Cook and Prior had no intention of maligning the officials. They just wanted the players to discuss their problems without inhibition. In Shakespearean tragedies the protagonist often has a flaw which leads to his own downfall. KP's inability to assess situations and the knack of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time proved to be the reason behind his fall.

Posted by FawltyBean on (February 6, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

First off who told Flower about what happened at the meeting - the big weasel Cook or the little weasel Prior. Two weasels called the meeting and the guy who spoke about the true situation got the sack. Not even in India something like this can happen.

Posted by Legohead on (February 6, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

Re: Biggus. I think the idea of the meeting was a chance for the players to look at themselves rather than Flower. I think Cook and Prior thought that players were wanting to be spoon fed answers by the coaching staff, rather than trying to look for solutions on their own. It seems KP misunderstood the idea of the meeting and as soon as he attacked Flower he was done.

Posted by Hira1 on (February 6, 2014, 12:00 GMT)

KP is a team guy and is a mentor for young cricketers when England is winning, ECB has no problem with him in Srilanka, India and when Ashes played in England, but when England is loosing all axe is falling on KP as if he is the sole guy who has all the responsibility to ensure team always wins. English cricket simply doesn't deserve KP and he will be much better off after leaving English team and playing for different leagues. Whereas the way English cricket is going under the captaincy of Cook its seems it will take years if not decades to rebuild from here.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 11:57 GMT)

Wow! The English sure do enjoy the backstabbing exercise now don't they! If the above is true then Cook and Prior have no spine at all! Sis on Prior turning his back on his own countryman (be that South African and / or English!). Good luck to the fans of the England cricket team! Looks like you have some choice individuals in the English set up! Big 3? Phew!

Posted by py0alb on (February 6, 2014, 11:56 GMT)

Flower has gone, sounds like Cook should follow him out of the door. I have no interest in this England team as long as he stays at the helm. Both of them threw our best player under the bus to try to save their own skin.

Posted by Tony_C on (February 6, 2014, 11:56 GMT)

Just was I was thinking. Pietersen could well come out of this with his integrity relatively intact.

Posted by number-09 on (February 6, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

The meeting was called by Cook and Prior, Flower was acting like a school master, and none liked it. Everyone spoke their mind, KP stronger than others. He has a history, but he was not the instigator. Swann who has nothing to fear and protect says that KP's attitude was spot on. These big men cannot manage KP, so he became the fall guy. Sad.

Posted by 51n15t9r on (February 6, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

Doesn't matter who said what in the meeting, but I do have only two questions. 1. If it was a confidential meeting then who leaked the details of the same to Flower ? and 2. Why call such a meeting without taking the coach into confidence. If the purpose of the meeting was to get everyone's feelings about the coaching methods in the open, then wasn't Pieterson doing just that ? Its a very harsh decision and am sure all those involved will come to regret it soon enough. This looks like a well planned move by Cook and Prior to get rid of Pieterson.

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (February 6, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

As an England fan, and one who was not blinded by hubris brought on by a brief time in the sun, it is shocking to think how quickly things had deteriorated inside the English dressing room. It was not long ago we were riding high on being #1 in tests and we spoke of legacy and how we would dominate the game.

We'd be lucky to dominate a game of tidley-winks now with the massive problems that we have both in the team and the administration as a whole. What is more scary is that this situation was allowed to progress to the point it is now, where if surely, we had both better administrators and leadership, then could have addressed a lot of these off-field issues before they got so bad? This article speaks of players trying to do something about the situation, as its plain the management were far too rigid and unlikely to do anything about it.

Now, like an abscess, its festered and it will be a long long time before it will be healed. Winter is coming.

Posted by Digimont on (February 6, 2014, 11:44 GMT)

I'm sorry, but the fallout is more entertaining than the cricket was! As I see it, the next test lineup is; Cook, vacancy, vacancy, vacancy, Bell, vacancy, Stokes, vacancy, vacancy, Broad, Anderson.

Carberry, Root, Ballance, Bairstow, Rankin, Tremlett, Finn, Panesar are simply not test standard. Prior, Trott are finished. Cook and Anderson will follow them soon enough.

If you were an up and coming cricketer, why would you want to play for England, the way things are being run there at the moment.

Best start on the 20 year rebuilding plan, because the next 10 years - the script has already been written.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 11:42 GMT)

I haven't been KP's biggest fan as I think he hasn't performed since the Mumbai test and some of his dismissals on this tour have shown perhaps his powers of concentration in the longer form of the game have waned, but this is simply madness. Cook preferring to have one fitness session to try and 'get fit,' when the facts are we didn't bat, bowl or field well and one fitness session wouldn't make a difference is a farce. The players had a meeting to address concerns, KP made his views clear, and love him or hate him you have to agree that he has been spot on. The difference this time unlike the Moores mess is that he's older and his form hasn't been great hence this decision to effectively sack him but how Cook can still be in the captaincy position after this farce is a joke. Great batsman, but a poor captain tactically and pretty shameful he's effectively stabbed KP in the back. After a few years of absence the ECB have returned to its incompetent best.

Posted by CodandChips on (February 6, 2014, 11:41 GMT)

Finally T20I without KP and Swann will be tough

1.Hales 2.Vince 3.Ballance/Root 4.Morgan 5.Buttler 6.Stokes 7.Ali 8.Broad 9.Napier 10.Jordan 11.Briggs res Davies, Borthwick, Gurney

Posted by CodandChips on (February 6, 2014, 11:40 GMT)

Another ugly turn in this episdoe. Arguably, a guy who has done so much in his career to lose his right to sympathy, has now got everyone feeling sorry for him.

Personally I like KP. Would have kept him in white ball cricket. Suggest that Collingwood and Vaughn take over- possibly with Strauss (although not sure KP & Strauss could work together). Colly as fielding coach, KP as batting coach. Bowling coach not too sure (would Hoggard be suitable now he's retired, or Simon Jones?).

Abolish central contracts as well. Would enable to dropping of poor cricketers such as Bresnan.

Test: 1.Cook 2.Root 3.Bell 4.Taylor (Ballance) 5.Ali 6. Davies 7.Woakes/Stokes/Borthwick 8.Borad 9.Jordan 10.Onions/Anderson 11.Kerrigan - Cook and Bell to lead

ODI for WI: 1.Hales 2.Ali 3.Taylor 4.Morgan 5.Ballance 6.Buttler 7&8.(2 from Woakes/Stokes/Borthwick) 9.Broad 10.Jordan 11.Briggs- res Davies, Vince, Topley

Morgan captain in all white ball. Bring back Anderson, Root for home ODIs

Posted by notimeforcricket on (February 6, 2014, 11:31 GMT)

we should not forget that there is clear evidence that he is not quite the player he was. he cannot go on instinct the way he used to and as many others have (Gooch, Tendulkar etc), he would need to adapt his game into a more conservative on in order to go on for another 4 or 5 years at this level. Gooch had some of his best years late on his career and there is no reason why Pietersen could not morph into a more circumspect player, relying more on grind and determination than inspiration. There were times when he tried to play as if he was 25. There were times when he did a Boycott impression. I thought he was struggling to adapt his game. My guess is that they have promised Giles the job on the condition that he does not try to get Pietersen in the team. How else can it be unanimous?

Posted by Biggus on (February 6, 2014, 11:21 GMT)

So Cook and Prior called a meeting to air grievances with regard to Flower's coaching style and when he found out they all pointed fingers at Pietersen? Unlike many others commenting in these KP articles who are patently his unshakeable fans I neither love nor hate him, but if the substance of the account is accurate then what a pathetic excuse for men Cook and Prior are.

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David HoppsClose
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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