England news February 9, 2014

ECB acts to bolster Cook captaincy

Banishment of Kevin Pietersen is intended to strengthen Cook's captaincy but by intervening so strongly on his behalf the ECB risks undermining his reputation
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The ECB has reasserted its overriding priority to bolster Alastair Cook's captaincy in a long-awaited and, it has pleaded, legally hamstrung response to the persistent and vociferous opposition to the decision to call a halt to Kevin Pietersen's international career.

During a prolonged and increasingly damaging stand-off, the ECB, however much it remains adamant that it is protecting the ethics of the game, has rarely seemed more at odds with the rank-and-file supporters.

In what seems to be a forlorn attempt to swing the argument in its favour, a statement issued by the governing body implied - without feeling legally able to provide proof - that Pietersen's conduct had undermined Cook's authority during the 5-0 series whitewash in Australia.

"The ECB recognises the significant contribution Kevin has made to England teams over the last decade," the statement read. "He has played some of the finest innings ever produced by an England batsman.

"However, the England team needs to rebuild after the whitewash in Australia. To do that we must invest in our captain Alastair Cook and we must support him in creating a culture in which we can be confident he will have the full support of all players, with everyone pulling in the same direction and able to trust each other. It is for those reasons that we have decided to move on without Kevin Pietersen."

The statement refers obliquely to allegations which have seeped into the open: Pietersen's challenging of Cook's practice regime ahead of the final Test in Sydney - Pietersen wanted England to practise skills rather than work on their fitness - and his general tendency to gather impressionable young professionals to his knee and share his opinions candidly.

As Ian Chappell, the former Australian captain posed on ESPNcricinfo: "Is that outspoken or insubordinate?"

Or, to put it another way: Is it outright rebellion or valid cricketing debate - whether irritating or beneficial - which is aimed at winning cricket matches and which a powerful and strong-willed captain should take in his stride?

That there will be no backtracking by the ECB can be taken for granted. To reverse this decision, however flimsy the evidence in the public forum, would have a devastating effect on those who made it and, as agreement with Pietersen has been reached, the anger felt by England supporters - one unscientific poll on ESPNcricinfo put it as high as 80% in his favour - will eventually dissipate.

What has yet to be judged is the effect on Cook. It remains to be seen whether he gains in authority in the absence of Pietersen and successfully builds a side in his own image or whether the intervention of ECB administrators to prop up his authority will be counterproductive and do untold damage to his unproven reputation as a leader.

Is team spirit essentially a messy, unpredictable business, which rises and falls with results and which can be promoted as an aspiration within a team environment but never managed from afar, or can it be demanded from above by a management-imposed code of practice without stifling individuality?

Increasingly, the suggestion that Pietersen has been banished from the England side to strengthen Cook's position represents an enormous gamble from the ECB and its new managing director, Paul Downton, a so-far silent figure, as far as the public is concerned, who oversaw what has proved to be a highly unpopular decision.

What remains unclear is the extent to which Cook had any part in the decision to remove Pietersen or whether he felt obliged to keep his head down and let events take their course.

The ECB statement was 353 words long, issued several hours later than anticipated and, however much it tried not to be, appeared a legally-fraught exercise in self-justification.

Intriguingly, it was issued jointly with the PCA, which strongly suggests that the two England players who have been targeted by Pietersen's allies - Cook and his vice-captain Matt Prior - were unhappy about such criticism.

No proof of behaviour overwhelmingly worthy of sacking was given. With Pietersen, it has always been that way. The catch-all justification, as most recently asserted by Andrew Strauss, a former England captain who among others has experienced Pietersen's maverick, egotistical tendencies, is that there is no "smoking gun", just a succession of small examples - in essence, a mode of behaviour - which during times of defeat makes his manner difficult to bear.

At a time when Andy Flower, England's former team director, is just one leading cricket figure disturbed by what is perceived as a shifting balance against the overriding importance of the team ethic, Pietersen - whether unfairly or not - has been branded as an example of destructive individualism. Or it could be that those in authority just don't like him.

Most, if not all, supporters are responding: "Well, deal with it then, we want his runs and we want to be entertained."

The outpouring of anger on social networking sites has been less "uninformed" than a demand to be informed. Social media has challenged the reasoning behind the decision. The ECB has to accept this

The ECB is deeply unhappy with this aggravation. "It has been a matter of great frustration that until now the England and Wales Cricket Board has been unable to respond to the unwarranted and unpleasant criticism of England players and the ECB itself, which has provided an unwelcome backdrop to the recent negotiations to release Kevin Pietersen from his central contract," the statement read.

In what can only be described as a surreal development, the statement also seemed to take umbrage - although he was not mentioned by name - to a social-media campaign in defence of Pietersen waged most aggressively by the former newspaper editor and TV host, Piers Morgan, a personal friend.

It is upon typing those words that this sorry affair seems to lose all touch with reality.

The statement continued: "Allegations have been made, some from people outside cricket, which as well as attacking the rationale of the ECB's decision-making, have questioned, without justification, the integrity of the England team director and some of England's players.

"Clearly what happens in the dressing room or team meetings should remain in that environment and not be distributed to people not connected with the team. This is a core principle of any sports team, and any such action would constitute a breach of trust and team ethics.

"Whilst respecting that principle, it is important to stress that Andy Flower, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior, who have all been singled out for uninformed and unwarranted criticism, retain the total confidence and respect of all the other members of the Ashes party. These are men who care deeply about the fortunes of the England team and its image, and it is ironic that they were the people who led the reintegration of Kevin Pietersen into the England squad in 2012."

Few would question that. But the outpouring of anger on social networking sites has been less "uninformed" than a demand to be informed, which is a very different thing. Equally, it is far from the collected thoughts of Piers Morgan. In many ways social media has fulfilled a traditional function of journalism: challenging the reasoning behind a decision. The ECB has to accept the new deal.

One tweet even recalled the words of John W Gardner, a former US marine and health and education secretary under the 1960s American president Lyndon Johnson, wondering of Cook: "All too often, on the long road up, young leaders become 'servants of what is rather than shapers of what might be'. In the long process of learning how the system works, they are rewarded for playing within the intricate structure of existing rules.

"By the time they reach the top, they are very likely to be trained prisoners of the structure. This is not all bad; every vital system reaffirms itself. But no system can stay vital for long unless some of its leaders remain sufficiently independent to help it to change and grow."

Perhaps when the fuss dies down we are about to find out.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 12, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    KP, Broad and Stokes were the only Englishmen to demonstrate any intestinal fortitude whilst in Australia. Cooks batting was ordinary and his captaincy worse. Axing KP is simply ridiculous. It certainly does not appear as though they have a huge array of options.

  • vj3478 on February 12, 2014, 0:45 GMT

    Dropping KPI seems to be the only way ECB and Andy came up with to avoid/sidetrack any criticism for the teams performance inthe recently concluded Ashes series.

  • FawltyBean on February 11, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Cook can't set a field as a cricket captain or learn leadership if his life depended on it. What a waste of a man.

  • disco_bob on February 11, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    @AnthonyNo1 on (February 10, 2014, 18:06 GMT), not to forget there'd have been no historic win on the subcontinent.

  • LeeHallam on February 10, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    It may well be that the burden of this controversy could be too much for Cook, but those who seek that should remember, he could have accepted KP's sacking in 2012, and received none of the blame. He chose to give Kevin another chance. KP tried to have Flower sacked as well as Moores in 2009, and yet Flower not only allowed him to play on then, but agreed to let him have another go in 2012. Many people have called for them to manage KP, but how do you do that? If you have people like Tufnell or Harmison who in their different ways from time to time went astray, then a rollicking or dropping them, who knock some sense into them, because fundamentally they accepted they had messed up. A big ego like Flintoff, might go off message or let himself down, but you could have total trust that he was pulling for the team, and so captain and team could put up with it. But with KP he rarely accepts that he is in the wrong, and so refuses to change. And sadly, is not trusted.

  • AnthonyNo1 on February 10, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    Yes KP was flawed - in another life he may well come backs as a village idiot - but he was one of the best cricketers England has ever had. Watching him smash (not tonk) some of the best bowlers in world to all parts has given huge pleasure to many long suffering England fans. Many fans just don't care if he is a pain - he puts bums on seats and has made cricket exciting again.

    This is why this ECB madness has upset 90% of all English fans.

    The ECB has another surprise coming. I can see Sky and many other advertisers either reducing their funding or pulling out all together. I am sure the test, ODI T20 crowds will be impacted. Right now tickets are being returned for matches in the summer.

  • rizwan1981 on February 10, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    KP was banished because he wanted to practice batting , bowling and fielding whereas FLOWER and Cook were intent on improving fitness - Reminds me of Shane Warne who despite being overweight and a chain smoker , took 700 test wickets - In earlier times , Doug Walters was a fine batsman despite hitting the bottle and being out until the wee hours during a test match

  • CodandChips on February 10, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    When you consider the amount of lives KP has had, and that he didn't exactly have a great 2013, you can see why he was sacked. I'd still have had him in the white ball sides, and would love him to become a coach/batting coach, but I don't think the ECB are as bad as they are made out to be in this instance.

    Not enitrely sure why KP has to go in order to "invest" in Alistair Cook and his leadership, unless KP was set against him. A shame that we can never really know the full details.

    Well at least KP's book will be a best seller. If it wasn't guaranteed to be already with everything else that has happened, this will surely seal it.

  • on February 10, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Oh dear what can the matter be All this emotion turmoil and chatter, see. Flowery and Cookie, Matty, KP Ask the third referee. Who's in and who's out,

    Long wait. But for sure, no benefit of doubt.

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on February 10, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    It's astonishing how many people want Pietersen over Cook.

    Pick Pietersen and England lose Cook, Prior, Broad, Bresnan, Anderson, Taylor and Finn who would all retire from International cricket upon his return.

    Is Pietersen that good? Hell no. He averages 38 over the last 2 years!!!!

  • on February 12, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    KP, Broad and Stokes were the only Englishmen to demonstrate any intestinal fortitude whilst in Australia. Cooks batting was ordinary and his captaincy worse. Axing KP is simply ridiculous. It certainly does not appear as though they have a huge array of options.

  • vj3478 on February 12, 2014, 0:45 GMT

    Dropping KPI seems to be the only way ECB and Andy came up with to avoid/sidetrack any criticism for the teams performance inthe recently concluded Ashes series.

  • FawltyBean on February 11, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Cook can't set a field as a cricket captain or learn leadership if his life depended on it. What a waste of a man.

  • disco_bob on February 11, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    @AnthonyNo1 on (February 10, 2014, 18:06 GMT), not to forget there'd have been no historic win on the subcontinent.

  • LeeHallam on February 10, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    It may well be that the burden of this controversy could be too much for Cook, but those who seek that should remember, he could have accepted KP's sacking in 2012, and received none of the blame. He chose to give Kevin another chance. KP tried to have Flower sacked as well as Moores in 2009, and yet Flower not only allowed him to play on then, but agreed to let him have another go in 2012. Many people have called for them to manage KP, but how do you do that? If you have people like Tufnell or Harmison who in their different ways from time to time went astray, then a rollicking or dropping them, who knock some sense into them, because fundamentally they accepted they had messed up. A big ego like Flintoff, might go off message or let himself down, but you could have total trust that he was pulling for the team, and so captain and team could put up with it. But with KP he rarely accepts that he is in the wrong, and so refuses to change. And sadly, is not trusted.

  • AnthonyNo1 on February 10, 2014, 20:16 GMT

    Yes KP was flawed - in another life he may well come backs as a village idiot - but he was one of the best cricketers England has ever had. Watching him smash (not tonk) some of the best bowlers in world to all parts has given huge pleasure to many long suffering England fans. Many fans just don't care if he is a pain - he puts bums on seats and has made cricket exciting again.

    This is why this ECB madness has upset 90% of all English fans.

    The ECB has another surprise coming. I can see Sky and many other advertisers either reducing their funding or pulling out all together. I am sure the test, ODI T20 crowds will be impacted. Right now tickets are being returned for matches in the summer.

  • rizwan1981 on February 10, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    KP was banished because he wanted to practice batting , bowling and fielding whereas FLOWER and Cook were intent on improving fitness - Reminds me of Shane Warne who despite being overweight and a chain smoker , took 700 test wickets - In earlier times , Doug Walters was a fine batsman despite hitting the bottle and being out until the wee hours during a test match

  • CodandChips on February 10, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    When you consider the amount of lives KP has had, and that he didn't exactly have a great 2013, you can see why he was sacked. I'd still have had him in the white ball sides, and would love him to become a coach/batting coach, but I don't think the ECB are as bad as they are made out to be in this instance.

    Not enitrely sure why KP has to go in order to "invest" in Alistair Cook and his leadership, unless KP was set against him. A shame that we can never really know the full details.

    Well at least KP's book will be a best seller. If it wasn't guaranteed to be already with everything else that has happened, this will surely seal it.

  • on February 10, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    Oh dear what can the matter be All this emotion turmoil and chatter, see. Flowery and Cookie, Matty, KP Ask the third referee. Who's in and who's out,

    Long wait. But for sure, no benefit of doubt.

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on February 10, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    It's astonishing how many people want Pietersen over Cook.

    Pick Pietersen and England lose Cook, Prior, Broad, Bresnan, Anderson, Taylor and Finn who would all retire from International cricket upon his return.

    Is Pietersen that good? Hell no. He averages 38 over the last 2 years!!!!

  • India_Rules_Everybody on February 10, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    They are trying to put a bandaid on a ship torpedoed to shreds! :))

  • TheBigShip on February 10, 2014, 18:30 GMT

    Well said Pinkfish, spot on.........But ! Kevin has always left a trail of destruction behind him.

  • AnthonyNo1 on February 10, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    Imagine if Pietersen was sacked after text gate.

    He would have missed the tour of Australia, the defeats would have been much worse. I am pretty sure Cook and Flower would have been fired, and we would all be screaming to bring Pietersen back.

  • on February 10, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    I think the question of would the ECB still have dropped KP if they had played well and perhaps won the Ashes is one that you might want to think about. If England were playing well then perhaps KP might not have behaved in the way that is being alleged?

  • on February 10, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    Why does the ECB need to sack KP in order to "invest in Alastair Cook"? One interpretation is that KP's words/actions have, in the recent past, served to diminish Cook's authority as captain. If it happened, that's plainly undesirable, but it's hardly unprecedented or unusual in the case of a team that's being thrashed, and I would be astonished (and disappointed) if there had not been occasions during the recent series when players questioned the wisdom of Cook's tactics. Or is this need to "invest in Cook" caused by a perception that KP was attempting to take over the captaincy? If so, that would indeed be different. Onfield there was no evidence to that effect, but WHO KNOWS what he said in the dressing room. Did KP TELL bowlers to bowl rubbish at Haddin, and TELL Carberry to drop dollies, just in order to make Cook look bad?

  • geoffboyc on February 10, 2014, 17:28 GMT

    Chomolungma, unfortunately Cook will clearly not be "returning to the batting ranks in short order" because the ECB have stated their determination to "invest" in him; an open ended commitment that doesn't appear to be dependent on his scoring any runs let alone improving his captaincy. I saw him bat poorly in a Championship game at Old Trafford early last summer and his performances didn't improve through the summer or winter- he averaged less than 30 in the two Ashes series. I'm not KP's biggest fan but obviously he failed to learn that strong characters with their own ideas are unwelcome in the England set up.

  • on February 10, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    So, is the ECB also attributing Cook's unimaginative and reactive captaincy to KP's 'disruptive presence'? We shall see whether there is any improvement in Cook's captaincy now that KP has gone. Somehow I doubt it.

  • woody3 on February 10, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    Pieterson wanted England to practice skills rather than do fitness? Keeps trying to help the younger players? Gets upset when comments in a confidential meeting get passed on to teacher? Im starting to think he should be captain. The comments from the ECB, Cook and Prior are making them look increasingly weak and maybe showing where the flaw in the trams character really lies.

  • on February 10, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    Apropos "investing in Cook's leadership", what I find strange is the absence of any overt evidence that any further investment in that leadership is actually required. The man was and is captain! [Maybe, Pietersen had been wandering up to other players complaining "Oh heavens, why does Alistair not put a fielder at cow while Brad's batting?", telling the bowlers to (eg) bowl fuller or saying to batters (eg) "have a hit" against Cook's direct instructions. If so, then he could well have been undermining the captain]. Was he perhaps doing these things? If not, I don't see why chucking KP reinforces Cook's authority. And, yes, surreal is the only word appropriate to describe the ECB's use of Piers Morgan's silly comments as (seemingly) part-justification.

  • py0alb on February 10, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Cook, Giles and Downton MUST resign immediately. Nothing less will suffice.

  • geoffboyc on February 10, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    In the continued absence of clear evidence of what exactly Pietersen did wrong this time, we are all talking in the dark, but most teams, even successful ones, have differences of opinion in the dressing room. If a captain and a group can't manage that then perhaps they are in the wrong job? When batsmen are out in the middle, surely the opinions of one of their colleagues should be the last thing on their mind; no one has ever accused KP of distracting or arguing with a batting partner out in the middle. Having and expressing opinions should be encouraged because it might actually help whilst being silent contributes nothing.

  • PeerieTrow on February 10, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    Breach of contract; he's lucky to have been given so many chances before being given what will undoubtedly be a significant golden handshake. In response to some of the contributors here, if KP had salvaged something from the Ashes debacle, he'd have been doing the job he was paid for, and most likely couldn't have been sacked. The ECB did not have a commitment to brief the general public before they were placed so to do. It's to their credit that they withstood the media barrage in the way they did. SA obviously had it right from the start. As for Cook, hopefully he will return to the batting ranks in short order and Bell will be promoted to captain with the newly "committed to England" Morgan as his deputy.

  • cryptq1 on February 10, 2014, 14:03 GMT

    @RFC73 I don't agree with most of what you said but I do agree you that there's very good cricketing reasons for not selecting him. 4 hundreds in last 48 innings, averaging in the 30's. Those are good reasons to drop him. Ending a player's career without a valid reason is just not cricket. This entire situation could have been avoided by not selecting him, allowing his contract to run its course and not renew it.

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Interesting that none of Flower, Cook and Prior will be involved with the 20/20 squad. So, one assumes that Giles and Whitaker (and Broad?) were the prime movers in the decision not to pick KP for THAT. Indeed, might Morgan's very recent withdrawal from the IPL auction offer another clue to the real reason for Pietersen's exclusion? Does a player need to demonstrate his commitment ("ethic/trust") to England/ECB by saying "no" to the IPL?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on February 10, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    First off, thank you ECB for providing some answers.

    I think what has irked most fans the most is the timing of all this. Had KP been instrumental in salvaging something respectable during the last Ashes, even still a completely different result where England actually won, would all this still have happened? Would Cook/ECB have put any differences in personality etc. aside and just decided "let him do the talking with his bat only and at least ensure (entertaining) runs"? It's a 'which came first: - the chicken or the egg?' scenario that many fans are still curious about...

    The onus is now on Cook & co. to see what they can do from here.

  • RFC73 on February 10, 2014, 13:36 GMT

    The bigest mistake England made was reinstating him back in 2012. He was always going to misbehave again. And there are cricketing reasons for droping him. He's 33 years old, has a dodgy knee and as an outside observer (M Crowe) has wrotten on this site, might not have played Test cricket much longer anyway. Besises since his comeback in India in 2012 he has averaged 36 with two cwntuaries. That is worse than Cook, Bell and Trott and the same as a newcomer (Root) and he has hardly played white ball cricket in that time. Ignore the hot air from the likes of Piers Moron and has been bimbo pop stars - they don't represent real cricket fans. In fact KP's biggest mistake was to be brainwashed by the likes of Moron and the celebrity circus anyway.

  • First_Drop on February 10, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    The ECB clearly don't care about public opinion. If they did, they would never have continued efforts to seize global cricketing power (together with India and australia) from the other ICC members; something that has proved enormously unpopoular with cricket fans everywhere (with the possible exception of pockets within India - pun intended).

  • on February 10, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    to Siltbreeze (10.24am) -- the "Guardian's" unofficial poll was 73% pro-KP, and I doubt if many non-English cricket supporters are Guardian readers!

  • 200ondebut on February 10, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    This piece says all you need to know about Cook captaincy - It is a shame that the ECB backs someone that clearly doesnt command the respect of the whole of the dressing room. It is also ludicrous that our team were not already fit for the tour - and had to work on it ahead of things like catching and hitting the ball.

    I am equally baffled how it is KPs fault none of the other 10 can catch, bowl or bat. The issues refered to came at the end of a disastrous tour - not at the start. So what was their excuse for the first four tests?

    It smacks of schoolboy cricket all over. The fans are the losers.

  • Firegoblin on February 10, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Kavum on (February 10, 2014, 11:46 GMT) - I don't think being 'yesmen and milksops' is the requirement, but challenging the status-quo HAS to be done responsibly.

    Pietersen has form (I think we can all agree on that), he was on a short rope that he created, and he didn't have a leg to stand on while his views where being proven wrong (rememeber 3 Ashes in a row, #1 Test team?); however as soon as he saw an opportunity to try again he took it. Coming from a proven team player his views may have carried weight, coming from him they didn't.

    He had been given a position in the team that players kill for - the star performer who was given license to fail in order to occasionally succeed. When he was asked - because the *whole* team was failing - to muck in with the rest of the team he tried to topple the leadership instead. He may have been right, for once, who knows, but it was his own previous avarice that undermined his position, and for that he has no-one to blame but himself.

  • iffy187 on February 10, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    cook and prior should be the ones facing the axe, cook hasn't got a clue and is constantly chasing a game, no inventive field placings, no fire in the belly. give pieterson the captaincy in all forms of the game, england need to move away from this robotic, mechanical text book style and instill a bit of flair and swagger needed to reinvigorate this tired demotivated looking bunch of players.

  • on February 10, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    I think the biggest scandal - if true - is the allegation about conflicting views on practise.

    Given England's skills were abysmal during the Ashes (and have generally been on a decline for some time now) I think it ludicrous that a captain would prefer to work on fitness over skills.

    People can say what they like about Pietersen, but at least he had some semblance of an idea about how to improve your cricketing performance (hint: it doesn't involve medicine balls or punishing fitness regimes).

  • wibblewibble on February 10, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    I'd rather have 50 Cook's than one KP.

    KP's attitude has always been "This is how I play, take it or leave it". Thanks very much Kevin, we're leaving it now.

  • Kavum on February 10, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    Bring back Brearley. There was a man and a leader. The current message to all English cricketers present and future is to be yes-men and milksops who follow the dictats of the captain and the administrative panjandrums. Otherwise you will get the old heave-ho like KP who dared to have a personality, an opinion and an attitude. Chef, like most weak leaders, needs to have this backstopping due to lack of nous in the dressing room and elsewhere with his players. 'Nuff said.

  • on February 10, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    I think it is time that KP was got shot of. I agree that Cook was found wanting in Australia, unable to think of Plan B but KP has a long history of insubordination. Differences of opinion should be thrashed out in private not through the social media. As to Piers Morgan, wasn't he the chap who wrote a share tipping column and recommended shares he'd already bought? If so, what price his views?

    I think KPs problem is that he's not English. English protocol and humour are alien to him.

  • cryptq1 on February 10, 2014, 11:43 GMT

    Seems that the ECB is actually trying to back Cook into a corner from whence his only escape will be to do the honorable thing and resign.

  • AnanRam on February 10, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Cook should be sacked for the 5-0 and the poor individual performance, not KP.

  • BailsRgo on February 10, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    Posted by siltbreeze on (February 10, 2014, 10:22 GMT)

    blowin' in the wind .........stick with the establishment there's a good lad!!

  • ComradesGreen4817 on February 10, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    Fancy a captain of his country having to be supported in such a manner in order for him to manage. Cook should do the honourable thing and resign. Perhaps the gaggle of idiots and buffoons responsible for this whole sorry episode should send Cook on a Principles and Practice of Management course. In fact, on reflection, maybe they should attend to. Shame on you all.

  • notimeforcricket on February 10, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    KP is obviously a very difficult character to manage as evidenced by his repeated clashes with previous teams and the sorry events during the SA series. even when playing a mediocre level of club cricket, when one guy, even if he is the best player, is not in line with the rest of the team, it can be disastrous for the team and others perform badly. It is also worth noting that KP, although, a good player has not looked like a real match winner for quite some time. he is still a good enough batsman to hold his place though but if his effect on others is so negative you might be getting less out of the 10 other players

  • siltbreeze on February 10, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Please do not suggest that the results of the Cricinfo poll (80% in favour of KP) reflect the views of England supporters, unless you somehow managed to prevent fans from other countries voting. We all know how popular KP is in India, for example. This just helps to create a false narrative.

  • Baba_Raj on February 10, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    A lot has been said, the pros and cons aired, those for and against KP heard, the ECB criticised or not, as maybe. However the questions remain and unless there is someone willing to come clean, the controversy drags on. I always thought (privately) that Cook should be given a chance as captain. He inherited a winning English team. Yet, in Australia, I felt that that when the wheels came off, he would be bereft of ideas, of flair, of the ability to think inventively and there was always that feeling that he relied too much on Flowers. And so it proved. Suddenly, there was no room for singular flair and ability. KP was pushed to the side. Cook's form was, well, dismal to say the least. There was no leadership on display. England was the England of old. They rolled over in submission, the bulldog no where to be seen. Promised much and delivered nothing. And like the England of old, the sorry captain is kept and the difficult genius dismissed. And we all thought that England changed!!

  • Nutcutlet on February 10, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    When the big battalions of the ECB close ranks and form a square round the captain, then we can safely conclude that a siege is anticipated, even if it hasn't begun. They know what's coming and that's why it is important to prepare for one. Cook's position as captain is, as the cricketing world knows, the subject of great and sustained criticism. No one is saying that he's a bad chap; no one is impugning his character in any way and England supporters & many others know he's potentially a great opening batsman, even among the very best. But a captain, he is not. Unfortunately, in the fallout after this winter's debacle (when, had he not been captain, his place would have come under scrutiny, so wretched was his form); the ECB has had to defend itself & its appointment of Cook. Every other battle, on or off the field, has been lost. Cook is the totem round which all Establishment men must now rally, or be called traitors. KP's ejection was mandatory. He was in the line of fire.

  • BailsRgo on February 10, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    Can somebody tell the ECB clowns that 'trust' cannot be bought - it has to be earned.

    At this moment the ECB look like they would prefer to dig an even deeper hole from which to extricate themselves than ever was necessary. Pietersen is here being accused of England losing the Ashes, of performing woefully, of Swann retiring and Trott returning home ill. It is, frankly, simplistic of the ECB and highlights just how out-of-touch they are from the real world.

    Get rid of the lot of them

  • on February 10, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    The problem here is that only one person can boost Alastair Cook's authority as captain, and that is Alatair Cook. By attempting, and being seen to attempt, to boost his authority, the ECB effectively undermines it.

    Also, cricket, like all sport, is first and foremost entertainment. We (England fans) all want to see England win, but we also want to see entertaining aggressive cricket (which tends, anyway, to be the most effective way of winning tests), and not the dour joyless stuff we've seen from England under Cook's captaincy (I can't tell whether this is Cook's style, Flower's style, or a combination of both). Many (not all - the summer Ashes win was largely Ian Bell) of England's recent series wins have been inspired by innings from Pietersen that no one else could have played (the 186 in India, for example).

    Australia managed Warne because his ability outweighed his faults. England's failure to do the same with Pietersen may come back to haunt them.

  • pom_don on February 10, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    Well what a total mess the ECB have made of this, if they were in charge of a 'normal' business those at the top would be serving notice or on 'gardening leave' awaiting their last pay cheque......We lose the Ashes in spectacular fashion & the captain stays with full ECB backing, why? Cook appeared to be doing OK (ish) as our captain while we were winning but then most would seem OK while we were winning but he has never shown one ounce of flair or imagination it has always been captaining by numbers & he just followed the script he seems incapable of working a game out while out in the middle. With the current regime in charge & their 'yes men' they will no doubt put in key roles (Cook is already there) we are heading for very dark days ahead as far as English cricket is concerned. The ECB are so far up their own backsides & until they are sorted out English cricket is heading even further downhill fast, what a shame for us......the fans who pay their wages!

  • Madpashcrickers on February 10, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Call me an antediluvian purist throwback if you will but I'd rather watch Ian Bell batting than KP, any day of the week.

    It was only the colossal performances of Bell last year that prevented us from handing back the Ashes earlier than we did - and it was done with sublime artistry.

  • on February 10, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Botham did argue with some captains. He did not really agree with Gooch for a start, but he agreed with Brearly who he has said he always had enormous respect for despite Brearly not being a great England player...and why? Because he knew and understood what made people tick. He used to treat each person to suit their personality and got the best out of many of the mavericks as they are called: Gower, Lamb, Botham and to an extent, Bob Willis. He's the only captain I can think of for a time for England who saw this fact. A lot of captains since have created a one size fits all environment and it doesn't fit all. Gooch did it and it ended Gower's career two years before it might have ended. We're seeing it again here: if he upset people, then fine he upset people. His job is to perform on a cricket field and providing he thinks he can do that, be with him on the pitch and then off it, don't go near him. Whatever you like: you're supposed to be entertaining us, not bickering

  • on February 10, 2014, 9:19 GMT

    Tough guys always silent in front of silly peoples. KP should join the EC team by Chris Gayle way. KP, Silent until your opponent accept your own deal.

  • Philippe on February 10, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    rightly done be ECB.... cricket is a team game & KP is not a team player. rightly done to sack him...

  • blaggard on February 10, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    The way this has happened is the problem, he should not have been brought back in the first place. He has never been a team player and should have been left to play the short game which is what he does in any case, his undoubted brilliance and the ever more infrequent profitable innings were increasingly outweighed by poor performances and and adverse effect in the dressing room. I'm pleased he's gone but the gutless method in which he was ejected will be what causes the damage, entirely his own fault NOW lets play some Cricket!

  • BradmanBestEver on February 10, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Looks very much like the ECB made the wrong decision to permit KP back into the team after the despicable Strauss affair and now they are using the Ashes massacre as an excuse to clean up their own mess.

    They are not addressing the key issue though: KP was not the worst performer in the Ashes flogging, why are those underperformers not given the shaft? The answer? They are good at playing the "political game" = they do not speak out.

    Seems that politics still looms large behind the scenes at English cricket land - very bad sign

  • shabmost on February 10, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    The maturity and leadership shown by the Australians in general in their Shane Warne Affair is currently missing among these ECB people - Cook, Giles, Whitaker, Downton, Clarke. It is increasingly becoming clearer to many cricket fans by now that KP might be a victim of being an independent thinker, asking the questions, and demanding the cricketing reasons before agreeing to any strategic or tactical position on the field. This is a classic case of virtues being interpreted as vices by a negative England environment. David, I would highly appreciate if you please write an article on this topic in light of Warne example, and how the cricketing leadership in Australia managed to transform Warne demons into a positive energy for the team, and which in turn help them to dominate the game for a decade.

  • Andre2 on February 10, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    One parallel I can see with this story is what happened to Eric CANTONA, the French footballer who was never happy with the Management of the French Football Federation and trainers and was scarcely selected for the French team. Without him, France did not succeed to qualify for the World Cup in the USA in 1994. Fortunately for France, talented players were a plenty and France manage to win the World Cup in 1998. As for Cantona, he performed very well at Manchester United Under the Wise guidance of Alex Fergusson. For England cricket, the pool of talented players is not so large (Stokes and Root, but no-one in the bowling department) and I bet England will NOT win the WC before at least the next 10 years !

  • Narkovian on February 10, 2014, 8:48 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa. I agree Cook looks to be a very uninspiring Captain, but this idea you can "manage" a maverick is not always true. IMHO KP's behaviour, and it seems to have occurred in every team he has ever been in, was probably unbearable and beyond the pale. Even the great Brian Close would have struggled, and he could sort most people out ! Botham was a totally different proposition. yes he was a maverick, if you like, BUT he was always known as a team man. never belittled those with only a fraction of his talent. Never bad-mouthed his captain. Was popular in the dressing room. I think that is fairly well known. KP - I think he is best forgotten and let him go and make that money he so craves for. I'll miss the drama of his batting, but I won't miss HIM... if that makes sense !

  • ruester on February 10, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    Wow! How weak is Cook if they have to protect him from KP and any negative comments a senior player may make when we are getting thrashed! I guess KP should of put an arm round him and said chin up its just bad luck, let's bury your head in the sand and forget we are taking a beating. Everyone who follows cricket or has played at any level will see faults in cooks captaincy! he shouldn't take all the blame but he has to shoulder a lot of it! he is the man in charge on the field and responsible for the team performances. ECB you have just undermined your own captain, it shows he can't cope with pressure and is a very poor man manager. I am sure KP could of said things in a more correct way but he is a winner and wants the team to go well. I have lost all respect for the ECB and Cook, I don't care about the results anymore because a rebuilding process without our star batsman is ludicrous. Why would any supporter think that ECB have done the right thing after the reasons given?

  • Big_Chikka on February 10, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    ecb have all but killed ali cook, there approach now documented in the press will serve to cement ali cook's legacy as a weak strategically inept captain. instead of doing this they should have let him be his own man.....cannot believe he'd have wanted this to be played out like this.....

  • on February 10, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    No organisation should respond to social media alone. It's a hot house for those "that can be bothered to moan" and more often than not just represents a tiny minority of noisy malcontents and rabble rousers. The political world in general outside cricket is all too fond of responding to vocal minorities, usurping democracy in the process. The vast majority say nothing. People who are happy with the outcome rarely voice an opinion, and in this case they seem the majority. As for the rabble rousers. Aussie and Indian fans seem to make up the vast majority of vocal support for KP on this blog. You'd have thought Indian fans would be more interested in their team doing so poorly away from home..... But I guess they are used to that.

  • on February 10, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    Don't worry Cook won't last much longer, his form has gone and he won't get it back, in less than 2 years he will be a memory nothing more .... The ECB should all be sacked !!! England is also gone, they will slip down the rankings to sub medium levels and end up playing well against no one. Well i can wish can't i lol

  • eblompot on February 10, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    Great move, dropping the top batsman in the recent ashes and past decade. Can't wait to play this side again: no KP, no spinner, an ageing swing bowler, 1 decent batter (Bell) and a negative captain who cannot manage his players.

  • steve48 on February 10, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    The ECB are doing a great job of making us all KP fans! Loved that quote from Gardner. 2 questions; how is it legally more sound to vaguely call someone undermining and untrustworthy than to give specific, provable examples? And what is the PCA involved for? Don't they represent KP too? The indignation shown in this statement is just further proof that those in charge of sport, not just cricket, have an amazing capacity to forget that their existence as paid professionals relies on a paying public, entitled to give opinion and be informed. KP is missing a trick here, he should come out and say that he won't sue regarding any detailed criticism he is made privy to before publication!

  • yorkshire-86 on February 10, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    The captain should take full responsibility for the 50 and 41 defeats and fall on his sword.

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on February 10, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Watched the past ten England test matches closely. Cook's captaincy is conservative, bordering on the negative. If I was England, I would find someone new. His field placings are wrong and he struggles with the burden of opening the batting and the responsibilities of captaincy.

    To be completely honest, as an outsider looking in I would have made Kevin Pietersen skipper.

    Now you have a lovely chap, one of the establishment who can drink Pimm's with the board at Lord's and fit in well. You just won't win much.

  • bobmartin on February 10, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Posted by John Scruton on (February 10, 2014, 4:52 GMT) [Quote] Social Media!!! Who cares? What about those who don't enter the rubbish social media arena. All those I speak to feel that Pietersen should have been given the push in 2012. The ECB manages the England team, not social media. Move on [Unquote] Well said John...I 100% agree..... Let's hope more people come out and say similar...

  • jackiethepen on February 10, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    Andy Flower is the power behind the 'throne'. He has reduced Cook to a cypher and he is still manipulating the ECB to support the captain of his choice even though he is no longer Team Director or coach. He's acting as though he and Cook have done nothing wrong. That is the problem. He could see the crash coming and before Sydney declared he was the man to rebuild the new team with Cook as captain - everyone else was not safe! Is this team spirit? He avoided the proper review which should have focussed on the failure of management. Does he really think that the twitter zone is where most debates have taken place? He should read a few comments below the line or even better the articles of George Dobell and Jarrod Kimber who first lifted the lid on the oppressive atmosphere of the dressing room where fear dominated. Why is Prior dragged into this? He was dropped before the secret meeting and was no longer Vice Captain. But no doubt spoke his mind - the kiss of death.

  • heathrf1974 on February 10, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    The ECB wouldn't provide proof as it would open them up to a liability claim by KP.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on February 10, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    Alastair Cook is an extremely horrible captain. Even little kids in my apartment are tactically more aware than him.

  • Webba84 on February 10, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    If the ECB is feeling hurt by all the uninformed criticism perhaps they could inform us? Then we can informedly criticize them.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 10, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    Such a shame that England management couldnt manage a maverick and instead opted to fire him just to make Cook's job easier. What about Ian Botham? Im sure he wasnt an angel either, but he had a long english career. Cook is a wimp.

  • 5wombats on February 10, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    @landl47 Hello again mate. Well said. Yah - some people are just unmanageable. Going forward something had to give. Evidently Flower has gone and taken KP down with him. Tbh he got away with murder during that summer of 2012 V South Africa. Something was badly wrong in the team then too - "Pietersen Affair" as it is now called accounted for Strauss in large measure who had had enough. I didn't know much about the last half of 2012 - or England's subsequent triumphant India tour but now it seems that, with Cook in charge KP was "re-intergrated" into the team. That was Cooks call - and with the team winning in India and then last summer beating Aus 3-0 the KP problem went away and Cook looked vindicated. But with England on the canvas and KP seen to be sniping again it looks as if Cook feels betrayed. Thus, KP has to go. Strange how cricket team mentality is similar all the way up the system! PS I am back in Sydney again - finally!

  • on February 10, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Social Media!!! Who cares? What about those who don't enter the rubbish social media arena. All those I speak to feel that Pietersen should have been given the push in 2012. The ECB manages the England team, not social media. Move on

  • satchander on February 10, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    English fans - you are asking for Cook to resign - you guys do not have too much patience. Whereas look at my country India, we have been keeping MS Dhoni as captain in-spite of him losing in Eng 0 - 4, Aus 0 - 4, SA 0 - 1 and currently losing in NZ in 0 - 1 - guess no one can match the skills of BCCI in terms of retaining a losing captain !!!

  • Aussie_Cricket on February 10, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Pretty much undermines Cooks captaincy. Boycott would have been a handful in a very similar vein to KP and Brearley didn't need the authorities to fight his battles for him. I imagine Ian Chappel had his fair share of disapproval of his decisions and still put the boys back in their place, Real captains deal with it, impostors get their battles fought for them. Cooks a good batsman (when in form) and seems like a nice enough guy, but he's no captain. He has no mind for strategy, no nerve and no aura of authority. He didn't start in a team rebuilding so he has no excuse. England's real (captaincy) issue is that they don't have anyone better to replace him.

  • landl47 on February 10, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    This isn't about cricket, it's about management, a subject on which very few of those commenting seem to have any knowledge. I've managed people in different environments (including cricket) for over 35 years and can tell you that either a member of the team rallies behind the leader or he has to go. You simply cannot build a successful team with people who think they know better than the leader and try to get their views accepted by others on the team in order to undermine the leader.

    This is not new for Pietersen; it's happened everywhere he's been. Every side he's been with has let him go. He's unmanageable and although he can play brilliantly it's not worth the aggravation of trying to accommodate him when a side is rebuilding, as England now must. Cook needs to focus on the team as a whole without the constant distraction of Pietersen's shenanigans.

    In years to come, as England creates a strong new side, this will be seen as a necessary step in the process.

  • Sillyshortleg on February 10, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    I don't think KP should return whatever price must be paid but I am even less a fan of incompetent bureaucrats exercising management functions cluelessly and with no concept of cause and effect. The ECB has managed this situation quite egregiously. How can the ECB flatter itself it can run world cricket when it can't even keep its own house in order? Oh, wait, it plans to mastermind world cricket with the BCCI and CA. It all makes perfect sense.

  • Clyde on February 10, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    Good article. Vital. Particularly because there are people in the management of English cricket who think everyone in the team should be pushing in the same direction and there are people there who can't take criticism. These facts alone should make most players rebel. Unless a player is verbally, physically or in any other way abusive, then he is free to do was he wishes on the field. Statistics are public and so the followers of cricket are going to agree with the selectors if a player needs to be dropped. If the whitewash in Australia is an indicator (at least it is public), then Cook is the one who needs to go, from the captain's position. If there had been illegal behaviour, there would have been no legal barrier to its being made public; in fact there would have been a duty to make it public. Is this blunder all about trying to produce a manageable and especially financially manageable outfit, a fake cricket team it is hoped will stand in for reality and make jobs and incomes?

  • Sandt on February 10, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Eng is gone. If they want to build the team why cant they keep KP and build it. You cannot keep class and experienced players out of the team in the rebuilding process. Already you have lost Trott in this series. And now loosing KP means Eng batting is having inexperienced players in middle order.

  • on February 10, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    So they fired their best batsman in more than a generation to save a captain who maybe a nice guy, but is tactically hopeless, and has shown no strength of personality required to lead a team. England have made a horrible, horrible mistake.

  • king_raj646 on February 10, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    ECB is now a better 3rd grade cricket team.. we have seen it in Australi almost losing everything.. And now Losing KP the only ray of hope that could have given them some rare international victories, its next to impossible for them. Thanks to Cook, Flower who enjoyed success just by the way they got them,, with this incident it clearly shows both are incapable of managing a team.. The best captain in the world manages his players the best way unless he gets a best alternative.. to ECB's credit they doesnt have players born as of now to match atleast 0.1% of KP's talent.. Hail KP

  • Manush on February 10, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    ECB should not waste anymore time and for good order sake get rid of the baggage Cook as captain . It is unfortunate and unfair to make KP a scapegoat in the game of saving face in the wake of a very poor Australian trip and whitewash. Shame on those who have been unfair. The Cricketing world knows including British Prime Minister that minus KP,s contribution, England will be in the league of current West Indies,Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. !!!

  • on February 10, 2014, 2:45 GMT

    Enough about Pieterson the Scapegoat...England imploded from within..their batting like India yesterday could not handle top class fast Bowling. We are stroking Pietersons ego by continuing this absolute train wreck that is England .

  • Hrolf on February 10, 2014, 2:32 GMT

    How about ECB pick a captain with a modicum of man-management skills, or even someone who has an intuitive understanding of the game, or is inspiring or charismatic, or something other than a yes-man for management who talks well on camera

  • HatsforBats on February 10, 2014, 2:18 GMT

    You could fertilise the world with the amount of manure dispensed by national cricket boards these days.

    If England had won the Ashes, would KP's "mode of behaviour" still have cost him his place? Cook has been utterly embarrassed by his performance on this tour, constantly making baffling (non) decisions and lacking any sort of competent leadership on the field (except for when confronted with a microphone). If Cook truly thought extra fitness was the answer rather than improving skills...well, I don't think fatigue played much part in his poor catching and batting.

    This revives bitter memories of Australia unfairly sacking Katich. Glad we got in that young Rogers fellow though, he'll see us through the next ten years.

  • on February 10, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    Without Pieterson in the England team, I rather watch the grass grow. Its no coincidence that whilst KP was in the team, English cricket had the best period in more than 50 years. As I see it that only way forward for English cricket is reinstate Pieterson as captain. Anything else would be a backward step ,back to the days of boring ,dull cricket, more often than not, waiting for the weather to save England from another humiliation.KP FOR CAPTAINCY

  • Alexk400 on February 10, 2014, 1:41 GMT

    This happen everywhere. When a captain do not perform , all kinda issues creep up. Is cook better than KP? No. But cook is young. So ECB decided to stay with cook. I think they let cook do his thing , he will be dropped when he start losing test.

  • KANCHANA623 on February 10, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    Isn't there any ways to replace KP back in the side in Cook's place. Once Cook is out and KP is in there will be less complications and also it will definitely strengthen the team.

  • on February 10, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    ECB is doing a Justin Bieber (boy desperate to be a man)

  • on February 10, 2014, 0:49 GMT

    Morgan; captain in all formats.. the sooner the better.

  • RodStark on February 10, 2014, 0:48 GMT

    Can anyone enlighten me who (other than Colloier and Clarke, who seem to have little or no cricketing background) are the members of the ECB? I tried on the web with Google and Wkipedia and the ECB's own website, but no luck.

  • Sir_Francis on February 10, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    That's ridiculous mark_aus. KP would be 53 by than. And, as a current 53 year old, I can confirm one's best days are behind me and I was never a match winner.

    Mind you, the next 2 Ashes, at least, should be safe

  • on February 10, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    As much as I love Cook as a player I know who I stand with and will stand with that side. Cook should be sacked as captain but kept in the team, the current ECB chairman should go and KP should come back. after all if it ends that Trott can't return because of his condition, like it ended with Marcus Trescothick another brilliant player, we will need KP in. I say we need at least 3 experienced batmen at the moment we will have 2 (cook and bell) and 2 experienced bowlers even if they haven't got the same form as the used to, this we do have with Anderson and Broad.

  • on February 10, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    Cook is to English cricket, that G Brown was to the end of "boom and bust"

  • Coolcapricorn on February 10, 2014, 0:20 GMT

    One way for Cook to ensure he is at the top of the run-scoring records for England by the time he finishes his career is to now get rid of KP, his closest rival for this coveted slot! Simple reason for what has happened! The fact that his captaincy has been shambolic is conveniently ignored by the ECB!

  • on February 10, 2014, 0:09 GMT

    So, a captain who cant handle his players, cant bat, gets out leaving a ball multiple times (including SA and Ashes Series), cannot rouse his players from the slumber, keeps staring and scratching his head from first slip....goes and complains to his "Daddies" to fix the situation for him?

  • on February 10, 2014, 0:05 GMT

    Hang on, how many match-winning performances did K. P. put in during this Ashes series?

  • disco_bob on February 10, 2014, 0:03 GMT

    First the ECB shoot themselves in the foot then they chop it off to be sure to be sure. Didn't stop them putting the other foot in their mouths though.

  • Biggus on February 9, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    Did KP undermine Cook's authority? Well, I don't know but from a spectator's point of view Cook was able to do that all by himself. He just looked like a deer in the headlights when he was captaining out on the ground. Not the sort of thing to inspire confidence, and I'd bet there are English players who think so too but wouldn't dare show it for fear of being shafted by management. Glad he's not our captain, he's instinctively defensive and if the tales of the 'secret meeting' are correct he's all to happy to sacrifice one of his players by reporting him to the headmaster. I knew prefects like that when I was at school.

  • Manush on February 9, 2014, 23:42 GMT

    The latest statement from ECB further confirms my doubt. In order to defend one spineless and ordinary captain the board sacrificed KP, as it is easy to defend such decision with the past misunderstandings. KP paid dearly for his past adventurous rub against the management. A true class player after a long time has been the victim.

  • KPWij on February 9, 2014, 23:41 GMT

    There has been a lot of criticism of Cook across the last few days which is rather unwarranted. Firstly with the whole Pietersen sacking there is a sentiment that Cook is a significant contributor to the decision, it may be the case, it may not be too, and from the information we have been given it is the ECB that has made the decision. Secondly people have been incredibly critical of his captaincy. There is no doubt that he and the English team performed very poorly in Australia. However he is a fresh captain with a little over a years experience, within that year he has been able to win more series than lose and completed the unprecedented feat of beating India in India. Not many nations have had any away test series wins but his personal performances and leadership paved the way for probably England's best test series performance. If we look back to Clarke and India's 4-0 annihilation of Australia people could also question Clarke's ability to lead then. Patience is a virtue!

  • on February 9, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    Cook ia robot captain and he wishes Robots around him. World should boycott English Cricket. They are dull, unimaginative Cricketers. Cook is an uninspiring captain.

  • on February 9, 2014, 23:38 GMT

    Has anybody thought that the only way Cook might go down as Englands "greatest" batsman(in terms of numbers anyway) was to drop KP from the team. How convenient and yes there are sad parallels with Gooch dropping Gower.So when Cooks captaincy was poor, bowlers getting hammered, batsman out of form and going home they found an easy exit strategy with KP. Mr. Prior should be ashamed of his hypocricy which is damning as his his batting/keeping. There is no way Cook has a better cricketing brain than KP and guess what if roles were reversed and KP had been captain and Cook the player challenging his methods and captaincy skill then we all know who ECB would have backed and sacked. ECBs crooked policy to join CA and BCCI is consistent with their handling of KP and the people who have been short changed are the fans. Well Done Piers and Cameron for backing KP and highlighting the severe injustice

  • Nuxxy on February 9, 2014, 23:33 GMT

    And of course the conveniently 'forget' to address one of the bigger issues: rebuild the test team, sure. But why is he out of the World T20 squad? Cook and Flower should have nothing to do with that.

  • jonnyboy82 on February 9, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    Sacked for speaking his mind and saying what virtually all the pundits, journalists and fans are saying, that Cook doesn't possess the credentials to captain the team. Ironically the statement was designed to bolster his captaincy but the whole episode, undermines it if anything.

  • 64blip on February 9, 2014, 23:28 GMT

    "...England team needs to rebuild after the whitewash in Australia. To do that we must invest in our captain Alistair Cook..." Who lead us to the whitewash, and to do that there must be no nay-sayers. All hail!

  • KPWij on February 9, 2014, 23:27 GMT

    The Ashes series of 2013/14 will be a defining moment in the history of both England and Australia. The end of a 8 year period of fluctuating success for the English team and the resurgence of a young Australian team looking to emulate the feats of the 15yr dominance they had. I think a lot of people are forgetting the magnitude of the defeat and the consequences of such a defeat on the mentality of the English team and board. The reaction to end the careers of Flower and Pietersen for England is a way for the ECB to feel that they are rebuilding and moving forward. We should only look back to 2010/2011 when Australia formed the Argus commission, removed Ponting from test captaincy and changed the way the team functioned after a 3-1 embarrassment at home against England. Again these decisions seemed hasty at the time and due to the incredible depth in Aus. cricket, the team has been able to regain its standards. The depth of talent for England however may not be there....

  • JAYPEs on February 9, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    ECB should seek advice from NHS if there are any single booster injections available for Cook to better his captaincy skills.....................The player who scored the most runs got sacked and the failing captain gets another go......................SURPISINGLY WOUNDERFULL.............ECB setting the standards again.

  • dunger.bob on February 9, 2014, 23:09 GMT

    A couple of things jump out at me.

    1] If Cook needs this level of support and reassurance from the powers that be then is he a strong enough personality in his own right to be leading the England cricket team? I always thought leaders were better served if they could inspire their men to work together rather than keep them in line with threats of dismissal. .. Imagine the feeling in the camp atm. Don't cross Cook, you'll get dumped.

    2] Way too much importance given to social media. It's a crock of you know what. In my experience it seems to be the domain of highly opinionated hotheads who think the entire world needs to know their most spurious and transient 'thorts', and right bloody now too. .. As if. .. Every time I see the phrase 'social media says' I can't help thinking of a mob of villagers with lanterns and farm implements chasing the monster. .. Little more than mob rule. Hitler would have loved twitter I suspect.

  • on February 9, 2014, 22:53 GMT

    Cook like bell and Trott are players with no flavor. Petersen added character and flair to the side enabled them to win the only World Cup . English team will go back to the days of yore

  • stumpedlloyd on February 9, 2014, 22:53 GMT

    This is brilliant! Of course, The Ashes were lost because of Kevin Pietersen. It wasn't because of the abject failure of Alastair Cook to captain the side properly, bat as if he wasn't a deer caught in oncoming headlights or Matt Prior's pathetic display with the bat and even more pathetic display behind the stumps. Such was Prior's wicket-keeping that he was replaced by Jonny Bairstow behind the wickets! What does that say about how good Prior was? And he and Cook (and Flower, whose coaching clearly was superb) are the ones the ECB has total confidence in? They want Cook to mould a team in his image? Good grief! What exactly would that be? Eleven players who don't take responsibility for any failures, conformists to the extreme and players no one will ever trust because they would, in a heartbeat, throw another member of the team under the bus? That's going to make for a fantastic team. Perhaps they can give Jade Dernbach a try in tests. Sure he will add immensely to the talent pool.

  • supplydemandcurve on February 9, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    This arrogant up-themselves attitude is why the general fan supports his own team and anyone playing against England or India (now add Australia). Go WI, play Gayle and show them the value of Mavericks. NZ, back up with more wins in the series and SA put 'em back down under. The best of the "big (tossers) 3" will still have wins half the time as they endlessly play each other as they slip in a group down the rankings.

  • 2.14istherunrate on February 9, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    This statement requires that too many of us ignore the obvious truths and accept the almost unacceptable,.We are asked to overlook what instinct and rationality inform us and blindly hang on to the words of superior beings as reality.Haha! Cook is in an all to desperate position and yet he is supported for failing completely. The people's hero is taken away from us and pariahised for being too real. Perhaps they will bring back hanging in order to complete the episode. He is to be punished for being confident and daring to say it out loud and clear. Why should he not take issue with losing so badly.After all he is paid to win,and to so many it has been obvious that the Flower regime had become just TOO mechanical. The ECB are sad joke and our team is now to be humiliated from pillar to post. It's all about sourgrapes which does not make it any better. The other nine nations are all casting their eyes heavenwards to ask if we have just lost it totally.

  • py0alb on February 9, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    Cook's position is now untenable. He should have been sacked after the Ashes, but he now must go, there is no other option. COOK OUT.

  • disco_bob on February 9, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    Cook is a very ordinary captain at best he appears to sleepwalk through a game expecting that Broad or Anderson will come up with a match turning spell on cue as his plan A to D. The irony of this non statement from the ECB is that they have unquestioningly weakened Cook's captaincy by making him appear as a silent sycophant. The headlines on the BBC say that the ECB issue their reasons for KP's sacking yet all they say is 'we don't trust him'. How they don't trust him is not said or implied. It's ludicrously bizarre. Why does Cook's captaincy need to be bolstered? If it did need it, then as Vaughan suggested, the best way would have been to make KP vice captain. Cook has been found out as a captain, or rather he has been utterly exposed and now the ECB has made it almost impossible take the captaincy off him.

  • Jonah58 on February 9, 2014, 22:34 GMT

    I have captained a few cricket teams with characters in them. I have never felt the need to drop one for disagreeing with me. I believe that would have made me look weak to do so. And sometimes critics are right and you need to look at the job you are doing. Especially if they are an asset to the team!

    Mind you this whole episode was designed to distract attention in the UK from the ECB's shameless grab for control of the ICC with CA and BCCI.

    Pietersen was just a convenient scapegoat for the establishment as he is obviously out side of it. Cook getting rid of him is just the same as Gooch and his banishment of Gower for being a flair player who distracted from his boring and endless grinding batting.

  • on February 9, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Yeah, that's it, bolster poor Cook. After all, doesn't seem he is capable of looking after himself. Of course, his captaincy had nothing to do with the Ashes humiliation. His batting didn't help much either.

  • Innocent_Bystander on February 9, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    In many ways social media has fulfilled a traditional function of journalism: challenging the reasoning behind a decision.

    ---------------------------

    This seems to hit the nail on the head. The failure of traditional journalism to challenge the line trotted out by the ECB, and to simply parrot the establishment view, has led to a frustration amongst those 'outside cricket' that any view outside the establishment is ignored.

    The default line trotted out for any story about Pietersen - ego, arrogant etc etc is so lazy now, we get the picture. No traditional journalist seems willing to rock the boat, so much so that the line about 'leaking' team meetings was ran in the shadow of a tabloid running a leaked story about 'whistling', yet the hypocrisy ignored to trash KP

    KP was never an establishment pick, eventually the establishment pulled the plug

  • AnthonyNo1 on February 9, 2014, 22:21 GMT

    He was sacked for trying to arrest the decline in form caused primarily by the crazy coaching of Flower and the inexperience of Cook. Worse still it looks as if he was asked to give his opinion - and when he gave it, he was demonised by those he criticised so as to save their own sad careers.

    It looks to me, like he was sacked for calling it right !

    The ECB, with this malicious decision, have managed to annoy and upset 95% of the cricket loving public.

  • mark_aus on February 9, 2014, 22:15 GMT

    As an AUSSIE loving this ENGLISH circus . You gonna be thrashed 5-0 again in return series. Without match winners like KP forget winning ASHES or WC in coming 20 years .

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • mark_aus on February 9, 2014, 22:15 GMT

    As an AUSSIE loving this ENGLISH circus . You gonna be thrashed 5-0 again in return series. Without match winners like KP forget winning ASHES or WC in coming 20 years .

  • AnthonyNo1 on February 9, 2014, 22:21 GMT

    He was sacked for trying to arrest the decline in form caused primarily by the crazy coaching of Flower and the inexperience of Cook. Worse still it looks as if he was asked to give his opinion - and when he gave it, he was demonised by those he criticised so as to save their own sad careers.

    It looks to me, like he was sacked for calling it right !

    The ECB, with this malicious decision, have managed to annoy and upset 95% of the cricket loving public.

  • Innocent_Bystander on February 9, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    In many ways social media has fulfilled a traditional function of journalism: challenging the reasoning behind a decision.

    ---------------------------

    This seems to hit the nail on the head. The failure of traditional journalism to challenge the line trotted out by the ECB, and to simply parrot the establishment view, has led to a frustration amongst those 'outside cricket' that any view outside the establishment is ignored.

    The default line trotted out for any story about Pietersen - ego, arrogant etc etc is so lazy now, we get the picture. No traditional journalist seems willing to rock the boat, so much so that the line about 'leaking' team meetings was ran in the shadow of a tabloid running a leaked story about 'whistling', yet the hypocrisy ignored to trash KP

    KP was never an establishment pick, eventually the establishment pulled the plug

  • on February 9, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Yeah, that's it, bolster poor Cook. After all, doesn't seem he is capable of looking after himself. Of course, his captaincy had nothing to do with the Ashes humiliation. His batting didn't help much either.

  • Jonah58 on February 9, 2014, 22:34 GMT

    I have captained a few cricket teams with characters in them. I have never felt the need to drop one for disagreeing with me. I believe that would have made me look weak to do so. And sometimes critics are right and you need to look at the job you are doing. Especially if they are an asset to the team!

    Mind you this whole episode was designed to distract attention in the UK from the ECB's shameless grab for control of the ICC with CA and BCCI.

    Pietersen was just a convenient scapegoat for the establishment as he is obviously out side of it. Cook getting rid of him is just the same as Gooch and his banishment of Gower for being a flair player who distracted from his boring and endless grinding batting.

  • disco_bob on February 9, 2014, 22:37 GMT

    Cook is a very ordinary captain at best he appears to sleepwalk through a game expecting that Broad or Anderson will come up with a match turning spell on cue as his plan A to D. The irony of this non statement from the ECB is that they have unquestioningly weakened Cook's captaincy by making him appear as a silent sycophant. The headlines on the BBC say that the ECB issue their reasons for KP's sacking yet all they say is 'we don't trust him'. How they don't trust him is not said or implied. It's ludicrously bizarre. Why does Cook's captaincy need to be bolstered? If it did need it, then as Vaughan suggested, the best way would have been to make KP vice captain. Cook has been found out as a captain, or rather he has been utterly exposed and now the ECB has made it almost impossible take the captaincy off him.

  • py0alb on February 9, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    Cook's position is now untenable. He should have been sacked after the Ashes, but he now must go, there is no other option. COOK OUT.

  • 2.14istherunrate on February 9, 2014, 22:44 GMT

    This statement requires that too many of us ignore the obvious truths and accept the almost unacceptable,.We are asked to overlook what instinct and rationality inform us and blindly hang on to the words of superior beings as reality.Haha! Cook is in an all to desperate position and yet he is supported for failing completely. The people's hero is taken away from us and pariahised for being too real. Perhaps they will bring back hanging in order to complete the episode. He is to be punished for being confident and daring to say it out loud and clear. Why should he not take issue with losing so badly.After all he is paid to win,and to so many it has been obvious that the Flower regime had become just TOO mechanical. The ECB are sad joke and our team is now to be humiliated from pillar to post. It's all about sourgrapes which does not make it any better. The other nine nations are all casting their eyes heavenwards to ask if we have just lost it totally.

  • supplydemandcurve on February 9, 2014, 22:45 GMT

    This arrogant up-themselves attitude is why the general fan supports his own team and anyone playing against England or India (now add Australia). Go WI, play Gayle and show them the value of Mavericks. NZ, back up with more wins in the series and SA put 'em back down under. The best of the "big (tossers) 3" will still have wins half the time as they endlessly play each other as they slip in a group down the rankings.

  • stumpedlloyd on February 9, 2014, 22:53 GMT

    This is brilliant! Of course, The Ashes were lost because of Kevin Pietersen. It wasn't because of the abject failure of Alastair Cook to captain the side properly, bat as if he wasn't a deer caught in oncoming headlights or Matt Prior's pathetic display with the bat and even more pathetic display behind the stumps. Such was Prior's wicket-keeping that he was replaced by Jonny Bairstow behind the wickets! What does that say about how good Prior was? And he and Cook (and Flower, whose coaching clearly was superb) are the ones the ECB has total confidence in? They want Cook to mould a team in his image? Good grief! What exactly would that be? Eleven players who don't take responsibility for any failures, conformists to the extreme and players no one will ever trust because they would, in a heartbeat, throw another member of the team under the bus? That's going to make for a fantastic team. Perhaps they can give Jade Dernbach a try in tests. Sure he will add immensely to the talent pool.