England in India 2012-13

Pietersen stance continues to damage England

Discussions have been had and apologies made but the ECB are still not ready to welcome one the world's best batsmen back into the international fold

George Dobell

September 18, 2012

Comments: 80 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen enjoyed his 21st Test century, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 3rd day, August 4, 2012
Kevin Pietersen will not be adding to his 21 Test hundreds in the near future © Getty Images

The ECB's treatment of Kevin Pietersen is as unforgiving as it is self-defeating. This issue could have been resolved by now. Apologies have been made. Pietersen has declared himself available for all formats. The ECB have what they wanted. They have won.

Yet, instead of welcoming back the prodigal son, the ECB management have chosen to be unforgiving. They have chosen to let their anger fester. They have failed to select purely on merit and have instead chosen to leave their best player out of the Test squad to tour India. They have, due to their inflexibility, squandered the talents of one of the finest batsmen England have possessed. The squad's chances of success are poorer for their intransigence.

Let us be clear: Pietersen was the instigator of this saga. He isolated himself from the team. He sent some foolish, rude messages. He was demanding, proud and awkward about his future commitments and, when he comes to reflect on his career, the disrespectful way he treated the blameless Andrew Strauss may be his greatest regret. In messing with Andy Flower, he pulled the tail of a tiger. The resulting bites are, largely, Pietersen's own fault.

But let us also retain some perspective. Pietersen's misdemeanours are, in the grand scheme of things, pretty minor. Players have been reintegrated into national sides after far more serious indiscretions. Shane Warne, for example, returned to the Australia side after serving time for a drug test failure, Mark Vermeulen returned to the Zimbabwe side after a colourful disciplinary past and Herschelle Gibbs returned to the South Africa side despite being tainted by the Hansie Cronje debacle. The ECB has, for years, been staffed by men such as Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch, Dennis Amiss, David Graveney and Bruce French who turned their back on international cricket to take the money on offer from rebel tours to South Africa during the apartheid years. If they can be forgiven, surely Pietersen can, too?

Pietersen, it should be remembered, had his own gripes. But while he has decided to let his concerns over comments in his team-mates' books and the identity of those he feels are behind the parody Twitter account go, it seems he is not to be extended the same leeway.

He has been punished, too. Left out of the team for the final Test against South Africa - a decision that might have compromised England's attempt to retain their No.1 Test status - he was then left out of the limited-overs squads against the same opposition and the World T20 squad. Again, such a decision has damaged England's chances of retaining the trophy. At some stage, the question will have to be asked: is the unrelenting anger of the ECB actually damaging the team more than anything Pietersen ever did?

At some stage, the question will have to be asked: is the unrelenting anger of the ECB actually damaging the team more than anything Pietersen ever did?

The intentions of the team management are, no doubt, admirable. Yet in trying to create a dressing room dynamic conducive to success, they are in danger of allowing cliques and cosiness to prevail. Team-mates need not be friends. They just need to be professional.

There is still some hope of a relatively imminent return for Pietersen. The likely departure of Ian Bell on paternity leave mid-way through the India tour provides the possibility that a player will be called-up as a replacement. While it is likely to be a member of the Performance Programme, it could - should, even - be Pietersen.

There is another sad omission. Ravi Bopara who, a couple of months ago seemed he might be on the brink of fulfilling his talent, now appears to be on the brink of international exile. The personal problems that forced his withdrawal from the squad for the second Test at Headingley are in danger of curtailing his international career. While the door will not be shut on him, Bopara has allowed several younger men the opportunity to stake a claim to his position. Sooner or later, one of them will take the chance.

It is a shame that the Pietersen issue has snatched the limelight from Joe Root and Nick Compton. Both have earned selection in a Test squad for the first time and could be on the brink of exciting England careers.

Compton, aged 29 and averaging a fraction under 100 this season, looks to be the finished article, whereas Root is a talented young man but something of a work in progress. There are worrying echoes of the bad old days of England selections in the decision to dispense with 22-year-old James Taylor after just three innings and call-up a 21-year-old instead. Where is the continuity of selection in that decision?

While Root may play the sweeter strokes, Compton has a wonderful attribute for a Test batsman: he is hard to dismiss. Indeed, such is his defensive strength and temperament, he might be considered an ideal replacement for Jonathan Trott at No.3 if Trott is promoted to open the innings. And as England look to replace two men - Strauss and Pietersen - who scored the little matter of 42 Test centuries between them - some solidity might prove no bad thing.

Compton's selection can also act as an incentive to all county players. Compton was way back in the England pecking order at the start of the 2012 season but, simply by weight of runs in a summer in which most batsmen struggled, he has earned himself this opportunity. Seamer Chris Wright, who 14 months ago was released by Division Two Essex, has a similar tale to tell having won selection in the Performance Programme after an excellent summer in county cricket.

By such a gauge, Eoin Morgan might consider himself fortunate. Dropped from the Test team after a grim tour of the UAE, he was sent back to the county game to prove himself. He has not managed to do that - he averaged just 18 in the Championship this year - but, having shown some technical improvements in the limited-overs game, he owes his selection largely to the belief that he possesses the temperament to flourish at the top level.

That is fair enough. It is the sort of gamble that selectors are paid to take. But the decision of the England management not to allow the selectors to even consider Pietersen is less meritocratic. Instead it speaks of revenge or rigidity. The ECB have their man on the floor and conceding. It is time to let him up.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (September 21, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

@SachinIsTheGreatest on (September 20 2012, 06:57 AM GMT) - You're saying about allowing cliques to prevail. OK so say (and I'm not saying this is my view) Swann,Jimmy and Broad were guilty of making it very uncomfortable for KP , the straw which broke the camel's back so to speak was the texts issue which while no one knows what was said seem to be about Strauss who is not even part of the so called clique so whatever you think of cliques etc what KP did was unrelated. If he has been singled out for unjust treatment then please tell me which England team member has sent derogatory texts to opposition players and been let off? There is nothing but suppositions that any other player would be treated differently had he done the same. Who knows about Flower but to my mind he has kept fairly quiet and has had no fallings out with any other player.KP has (rightly or wrongly) a rep for being at best difficult. Please publish this time - nothing offensive

Posted by Nerk on (September 20, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

Good article George. KP has been the instigator, the ECB have tried on numerous occasions to forgive and forget, but each time KP finds a new way to annoy everyone. However, the ECB must remember it must not be proud or arrogant, and do what is in the best interest of cricket. If that means have a volatile character in their team then so be it. On the other hand though, if N. Compton does well, and I sincerely hope he does, then maybe there will be no need to bring KP back.

Posted by southstoke49 on (September 20, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Why do England continue to successfully implode as soon as they get somewhere? Is it part of our mentality? Following 2005 we lost Ashes 5-0 in Australia after half the team became injured or lost form, now 6 years on after getting to no 1 in the rankings the half the batting line up will be in their first few tests or unproven at that level, such as Morgan. Also the bowling attack which a year ago was one of the best in the world, certainly if you factor in the back up options now looks insipid or at best inconsistent. What set the Australians and West Indians apart a few years ago was that their dynasties lasted for long periods and only disappeared when several players retired together. Even South Africa have been there or there abouts over a long period with different players being replaced successfully even if they have not acquired much dominance. At least it looks like we may be in the rebuilding phase again soon. Winning is boring!l

Posted by jackthelad on (September 20, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

This isn't really about the text messages and the IPL; Pietrsen has ALWAYS been demanding, proud and awkward; there's no comparison with the Warne affair, the rebel tourists or any of the other examples cited. The Flower administration has made England into a committed and successful side simply because they have made it a genuine team. Unfortunately, Pietersen will only ever play for one team - K.P.'s XI - and the bad feeling he has clearly generated in the dressing-room over many years means that he will never truly fit into the set-up. Top-class batsman though he can be (when it suits his own purposes - 'I want to play Tests for England because it gives me opportunities to play for Delhi') his removal can only be a benefit to England in the long run - and if we lose a few games til a new team gels, it aint the end of the world.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 20, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

As for the touring party, I don't really see Root as a replacement for Taylor so I don't see that as a return to the bad old days. Root is obviously pegged as an opener to replace Strauss, either now or in the future, so his selection would be unrelated to Taylor being dropped. It's more the case that they've included Morgan at Taylor's expense, presumably in part because they feel he can replace at least a bit of the international experience lost with Strauss and KP. I'm not sure I agree with that decision but I guess if they went with all freshers and England lost badly then there'd be a lot of criticism. Not from me though. I see this a s a bit of a rebuilding phase and if we lose a few then so be it.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (September 20, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

@Yorkshirepudding,Ashes61 and all the others that hide behind the numbers.... Remember "there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics". Use your common sense guys and if you have ANY cricketing savvy ...... apply that! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 20, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

According to the ECB, there are some residual issues to address before KP can return to the fold. Does the author or anyone else know exactly what those issues are? If not then I don't really see how it can really be said that they should just relent and put him back in the team. It's possible that those issues could have been resolved by now if KP had stayed in England instead of agreeing to commentate for Sky on the WT20, which decision I see as yet another poor one by KP regardless of his selection status. Let's not forget also that this is not KP's first transgression. He has a history of falling out with his cricketing associations and I would not be surprised if the whole Moores affair has not been completely forgotten. The ECB may just want to try to ensure that this is the last time KP is the eye of a storm in English cricket. I'm not anti and I want and expect him back in the team. I'm just not ready to condemn the ECB for not making it happen immediately.

Posted by   on (September 20, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

George says: "But let us also retain some perspective. Pietersen's misdemeanours are, in the grand scheme of things, pretty minor. Players have been reintegrated into national sides after far more serious indiscretions."

He then goes on to mention Warne, Vermeulen and Herschelle Gibbs. The first of these was banned for drug offences (where there was a mandatory suspension), the second was banned for violence and later for arson, the third was associated with corruption and returned after a 6 month ban.

Nobody is suggesting that Pietersen offended against the law, or regulations having the force of law. Purgation of the offences is not, therefore, a clear-cut matter of serving a sentence. Rather, he has done a number of things (also listed in George's article) that destabilised the team. Within the confines of profesisional team sport, that is probably harder to deal with than someone who burns down the pavilion. "Apologising" by press release probably doesn't do it.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (September 20, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

Brilliantly written. The one very pertinent point George Dobell has noted that no one seems to have picked on is "allowing cliques and cosiness to prevail." The fact remains that by far the most powerful man in English cricket is Andy Flower and he has shown a total lack of flexibility and an absolute disinclination to work with someone he does not like. It will be interesting to see how much more implosion England will suffer before Flower is shown the door.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 20, 2012, 2:41 GMT)

@Rob Steen, I may hail from yorkshire, but live amongst the unwashed southern softies. If you look at club level most Rugby union(and league) stadiums run at an average of 70% capacity for every game through a season, county cricket is maybe 5%, even domestic T20 only runs at between 50-60% capacity, Rugby also gets larger viewing figures on sky than an international test. Tennis is debatable, hence the 3rd/4th tag, for cricket, although Athletics may replace it.

Posted by balajik1968 on (September 20, 2012, 1:17 GMT)

The one thing I notice in this whole Pietersen saga is that the ECB leaks like a sieve when it comes to this guy. So much that was discussed behind closed doors comes out and the whole thing shows him in poor light. Anyway that is something for the ECB to address. As for the India tour, I would actually go against most of the posters here and say that England have the edge, in terms of team composition. They have three experienced batsmen in the middle of their prime years in Cook, Bell and Trott. Prior is a more than useful lower order batsman who actually did well in the UAE. There is a balanced bowling attack. In contrast the Indian team is struggling, having to rebuild the middle order and with Sehwag and Gambhir also not scoring heavily. So actually this is England's best chance, because next time around, England will be in transition, while India would have an experienced, but young team.

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 23:25 GMT)

I could be the least liked person in my team at work, but as long as I do my job well, and we, as a team, continue to perform, live with it. If I was incompetent, I would expect to be sacked. This all smacks of what we would call 'office politics' but nowhere, apart from in sport, is this tolerated.

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

@ChrisGoldie04 on (September 19 2012, 18:13 PM GMT) PS - re "I myself and KP must be the only people in the UK that complain about their boss in a prevocative manner" - I think it's much to do with the timing of KP's texts and who he sent the texts to - regardless of exactly what the texts say which also counts - , the other main thing is who he sent the texts to. By sending the texts to your current opponents surely would indicate some disharmony in the dressing room which is the last thing England want. Even to send the same texts to the same people after the series was done and dusted might not have been seen in such a bad light as during the series when it could be deemed to affect the dressing room/preperations etc

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

@ChrisGoldie04 on (September 19 2012, 18:13 PM GMT) To me (re the Twitter affair and KP naming Swann and Jimmy as suspects - it seems like either KP was keeping his opinions in check until he knew his immediate future was finalised (thus not jeopardising his chances of a recall) or realised he wasn't getting his way and wanted to bring down 2 guys he doesn't get on well with with him. Please read story "Pietersen names Twitter suspects" where it says "Broad has denied any involvement or knowledge of the account and it has subsequently been discontinued. An ESPNcricinfo investigation also exonerated Broad and suggested that Bailey was the only person responsible"

Posted by shot274 on (September 19, 2012, 22:45 GMT)

Pauline Griffiths: 'what KP said is too serious for an early recall'. When was the ECB handbook on length of punishment for stupid texts published?? Dobells article is a fair potrayal and like evey KP fan he is not absolving KP of blame; simply suggesting that since he has apologised and made himself available for all forms of the game, what other righteous act do we require for him to be selected back in the team?

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

ChrisGoldie04. Ah, the twitter account. Yes, a friend of Broad started it and the lads read it and had a laugh, as did KP at first. This isn't bullying. Anderson & Swann insult each other & other mates mercilessly and get the same back. On twitter & in the d/room. KP's sense-of-humour bypass is not their fault. Looks as if problems started this summer after KP's best ever IPL season. But to claim they were jealous is nonsense. They are secure in themselves & their worth as England players. They'd like to play in IPL but not doing so is hardly ruining their lives. To blame them for what happened subsequently is farfetched in the extreme. KP's discontent stemmed from ECB's refusal to let him miss ODIs & play T20s. He admitted he sent derogatory texts about Strauss & Flower to his mates. IPL mates, that is. But this wasn't IPL, this was a test series and his mates were on the opposing team. A disloyal act & not remotely the same as slagging off your boss to your mates.

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith on (September 19 2012, 00:45 AM GMT) - I personally think Bell should play some club cricket in India or SL to prove himself. I certainly don't feel so confident in him either. I know you're totally anti Bell , but I think when in attacking mode he does well. It's when he tries to dig in that he comes unstuck

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

@anuradha_d on (September 19 2012, 12:53 PM GMT) Yes, I thought he was doing that when he first retired from shorter formats.

Posted by shot274 on (September 19, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

I am a fan of KP but if a moral stance has been taken(if this churlish madness can be termed moral) then so be it. Let there be no u turn irrespective of results. To suggest that when Bell goes on paternity leave, KP could be sent is ridiculous!Apart from anything else it is extremely unfair on Root and Compton to be selected ahead of KP and then find themselves dropped because of a mid tour change in attitude.The whole saga-It should never have got to this, but having got to it , it should remain where it is! Lets move on!

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (September 19, 2012, 22:01 GMT)

@Nutcutlet...where were you in 2007, when the same team has outclassed your ashes winning heroes? Guess, trying to sound eloquent, you forgot the past.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 19, 2012, 20:40 GMT)

@CUPULW: you're right; there are indeed some splendid & charismatic players in the subcontinental sides; I read much about them hereabouts & wonder at the reports of their incredible prowess. Unfortunately, most of them don't cut the mustard when away from their own backyards. Now imagine, pls, the disappointment that cricket fans like me experience when these much lauded, much feted players turn up in England! There's no better collective example than the 2011 Indian side (let's draw a curtain over the Pakistanis in 2010- it's too painful). There we are (the cricket fans of England) waiting for these legends to strut their stuff so that we can gape & marvel at their consummate cricketing skills, only to discover that with the honorable exception of R Dravid, that it was all moonshine, fools' gold, what-you-will. Were we disappointed? Were we shortchanged? Was it all a mistake? No, apparently not. Oz manged to shaft the Indians too. What am I to believe? What I see, not hype-fiction.

Posted by ChrisGoldie04 on (September 19, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

Pauline Griffiths. The evidence that at least James Anderson and Stuart Broad were involved in the parody account came through Pietersen citing information from personal conversations that he had had with Anderson and Broad appearing in it. Also I believe that the guy who said he was running the account used to be a flat mate of Broad, I know not guilty by association but I don't believe in coincidences. The Board have also outlined that this was not just down to the text messages. I myself and KP must be the only people in the UK that complain about their boss in a prevocative manner, I don't expect to be suspended for personal conversations. I agree KP hasn't helped himself but this isn't a one-way street, the ECB and team mates have behaved badly. I agree with Alec Stewart that they should knock their heads together and get on with it. KP has done as instructed so he should be reinstated Cook appeared to want this, Andy Flower has said otherwise.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (September 19, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

@nutcutlet.... "This man has penance done and penance more will do"...... but he didn't shoot an Albatross! He just rubbed the odd dinosaur up the wrong way.... Get real everybody, this is childish and English cricket deserves more! Ironically though (unlike most here) I think that even without KP England are going to do well in India? We'll see I guess..... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

All to often winning is put before honour of this country, this man betrayed his country, betrayed his fellow team mates, betrayed the ECB. when it comes to things like this honour is first. representing your country should mean some thing special, this man is all about me, me, me. plus there is no guarantee that England will win with him any way.

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

ChrisGoldie04 What do you mean, Anderson, Swann & Broad "started it". Started what? There is no evidence, no detail, no confirmation of anything that has actually taken place in the privacy of the England dressing room. The starting point for Pietersen being dropped was the texts he sent to members of South African team that were uncomplimentary to his OWN CAPTAIN. While he maintains that the did not contain tactical advice he has admitted to sending the "provocative" texts. This in itself is unforgivable behaviour and KP has a lot of ground to make up to convince the management of his commitment to England and new captain Cook.

Since then a counter attack has been launched by KP's supporters citing bullying in the dressing room, an exclusive clique, team-mates daring to laugh at him etc. And I repeat, none of this is substantiated. I call upon England fans and cricket pundits to restore the reputation of these young men, pawns in a cynical campaign to discredit them.

Posted by disco_bob on (September 19, 2012, 14:18 GMT)

There is a poetic irony in the fact that South Africa dethroned England, scored the trifecta regarding the demise of English captains and thus accounted for two of England's South African born players.

Posted by ChrisGoldie04 on (September 19, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

Nutcutlet, thanks for that, I don;t actually see how you sit between both camps but there you. I do see where you are coming from, Pietersen upset the apple cart, but who starting upsetting it first? Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson. George Dobell is right about this because Pietersen has done exactly as instructed, but the ECB won't budge and are sticking to unsubstantiated claims about text messages with Pietersen denying the content and SA agreeing with him that the ECB are wrong. Pietersen has suggested they prove and they can't. I actually think this whole things comes from jealousy from other players hence the parody account these other players were associated with and the fact the ECB fuddy duddies are happy to try and jettison KP whom some still see as SA.

Posted by anuradha_d on (September 19, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

It is called "cutting the nose to spite the face"

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Don't know about Yorkshire, Mr YorkshirePudding, but down here in the soft south, where there are more courts than you can shake two fists at, tennis lags a long, long way behind cricket. I would also challenge the notion, despite the crowd sizes at union/league games, that cricket means less than rugby to the great unwashed English.

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

Nutcutlet - post timed at 07,21 - you have summed up the situation exactly. This all kicked off when KP came back from the IPL having had his best season there eve. And you are right, so many posts from subcontinental fans for whom "cricket" is the cult of the individual batsman. (Where are the bowling heroes?)

bharath74 posted "Pietersen is a legend and the best eng have ever had in the last decade. It will be boring to watch othesr play, it is just like India without Tendulkar." You have 11 players in a team & each contributes something different. KP on form can change a game but someone like Amla wins games by his tenacity & concentration. The beauty of cricket is the interplay between bat & ball and the way the position changes from session to session.

And can we please hear less about so-called bully boys in the Eng dressing room? A story spun out of all proportion by KP' supporters and based on no evidence whatever.

Posted by jevans90 on (September 19, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

On Taylor's omission, I don't think I'd have complaints if he'd been left out for KP's return, or even Bopara's (who was man in possession before his personal problems). What annoys me is that Morgan was dropped for his poor performances, chose to warm the bench in the IPL instead of fighting for his place in the Championship, averages 18 in First Class cricket this season, and still somehow gets a recall. Yes,Taylor has had a poor season by his high standards, in that he's fallen down to the level of Morgan's career record, but if he was good enough 3 innings ago, he's good enough for another chance. I can only assume Morgan's been picked for his knowledge of local restaurants. Or he's developed some mystery spin. For me, it's got to be 1. Cook* 2. Root 3. Trott 4. Bell (Compton when he goes home) 5. Bairstow 6. Prior 7. Patel 8. Broad 9. Swann 10. Anderson 11. Finn

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

What utter nonsense! "The intentions of the team management are, no doubt, admirable. Team-mates need not be friends. They just need to be professional." You seem to be under the impression that trophies, winning and "number 1 status" are the things that matter. Following a summer of stunning Olympic deeds and the bravery and selflessness of thousands of athletes and volunteers to sporting greatness, the ECB have set a mark firmly in the sand that attitude being part of a team is what counts. England losing to South Africa mattered not a jot in the grand scheme of things. If this selection made one 15-year-old sit up and think "Blimey - his attitude cost him", then they have been 100% justified in their actions. Shocking from a "Senior Correspondant".

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 19, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

@CUPULW, actually Cricket is equivalent to Football in the rest of the world, SRT, Sehwag, KP etc, are like Messi, Giggs, Ronaldo in european football. The fact is that Cricket in the UK is very much the 3rd/4th sport after Football, rugby, and Tennis, so cricketers wont reach such levels of 'god-hood', I suspect that if Asian countries had embraced a different sport (say football) then the same would apply.

Posted by njr1330 on (September 19, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Surely, KP should have realised that if you pick a fight with a guy who picks fights with Robert Mugabe (AF) you're only ever going to come second!!

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

Thanks ECB for making it easy for India.

Posted by CUPULW on (September 19, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

@ Nutcutlet:"...By & large these fans of yours (& by association, KP) are in the subcontinent where the adulation of the individual above the team is a readily accepted..." Good observation for a nut :) Still did you try to understand why such individual adulation prevails in the sub-continent. Let me tell you mate; it's because we in the sub-continent have the best of the best individual players. India has Sachin, Dhoni, Shewag, (and a few up coming players to take their place). Sri Lanka has Mahela, Sanga, Dilshan, Malinga. Pakistan has Afridi, Gul, Ajmal, Akmals. B'desh has Shakib. Take any list of the best players in all formats of the game and you will find these names at the forefront. They are so good in fact they have transcended regional boundaries and pecularities. (e.g. Sanath Jayasuriya is stillvery popular in India even after retiring from the game!) That is because irrespective of awards or front page coverage, these men play the game to bring joy to fans :) cheers

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

@ satish619chandar on (September 19 2012, 02:44 AM GMT) As I have said numerous times - Swann was out in the open. Also I believe he made those opinions about KP as a captain long after KP was relieved as a captain. Let me put it this way. If you were working with a load of people and one person would occasionally verbally kick off at you and another person would be all sweetness and light to your face but said bad things about you to others behind your back , which would you prefer. I actually did think ECB were out of order for fining him for the Knight comms . So KP has manned up and apologised face to face to all those he offended? If so then it is sad. And ECB are an organisation. Do you believe they all have egos and do you not believe KP has an ego? I'd say him and Gayle probably have the biggest egos in world cricket no matter how good they are.

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

Re "But while he has decided to let his concerns over comments in his team-mates' books and the identity of those he feels are behind the parody Twitter account go, it seems he is not to be extended the same leeway" - Could it not be said that this is where the trust issue comes in. Swann said stuff in his book and I believe Jimmy said stuff in his newspaper article but both were out in the open and where did the KP naming the Twitter suspects come from? I can't imagine ECB would publish it as they don't want the attention brought on other players? Also re those rebel tour players - weren't they banned for several years

Posted by JG2704 on (September 19, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

@ Nehans on (September 19 2012, 01:34 AM GMT) I wish the texts content would be revealed along with other related issues. If any of us say ECB are right or wrong to keep KP out without the full evidence then it is just pure personal opinion and not based on anything else. Also I'm fairly sure that players opinions were taken into consideration here and if everyone was happy to have KP back in the dressing room , he'd be back. I really don't see why ECB would have dragged this out for so long if there was not a chance of them having KP back. So whether dragging it out was right or wrong I can't see any other reason other than the possibility of having KP back.

Posted by Erebus26 on (September 19, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

It's similar in a way to Gayle and the WICB - the dispute between Pietersen and the ECB goes a few years back to the time when Moores got sacked as coach and Pietersen lost the captaincy. I think there is a lingering grudge on behalf of the ECB and I firmly believe that Pietersen's return will be delayed whilst Hugh Morris is at the helm. This will only damage England's chances of success in India as they need batsmen of Pietersen's talent and experience to prosper. I think Cook knew this quite plainly, which is why I believe the reports that he backed Pietersen's return to the fold.

Posted by southstoke49 on (September 19, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

Madness..How many performance guru's and other backroom staff does the ECB employ to eek out an extra few % from players when it cannot resolve this dispute. Surely a proper professional mediator would be more use.

What I imagine they will do is postpone any inclusion until NZ which gets in the way of the IPL to test KP's commitment & get in the way of the IPL.

Also, while cricket is a team sport, it is also aspects where an individual can influence games far more than a team performance, Headingley this year could be cited as an example.

Unless these issues can be properly addressed the only thing I can hope for, as an England fan, is a total drubbing by India that may possibly shake shake out the current regime.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 19, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

George, your colours are nailed firmly to the 'Free KP Now!' mast. You've many supporters for your views & (or but) most of them are not located within UK. By & large these fans of yours (& by association, KP) are in the subcontinent where the adulation of the individual above the team is a readily accepted. My position is half-way; I'll call it a conditional discharge, because there is so much baggage connected with KP's colourful history. He's not, you'll agree, a force for unity within the England team & this may well be not a, but THE sticking point. The Eng. set-up has put much store by team cohesion; it took Eng to #1 for a year & KP was not then getting above himself. Then the adulation KP craves (it's his Achilles heel) kicked in with his IPL success. His ego was sated & went global & Eng seemed small enough to be kicked around (Strauss, Flower, team). Now he's got the backwash. He has' penance done & penance more to do'. He's serving out his probation - & quite right too!

Posted by SimplySoms on (September 19, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

England will be butchered badly by India in the absence of KP. Why ECB conducted so many meetings with KP if they decided not to take him. I think Cook is interested but either ECB or Flower is not interested in KP joining the team.

Posted by Geeva on (September 19, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

KP caused his own problemns...he wanted to play IPL.Peolpe forget that IPL was only successfull because of India's golden geneartion of Test Cricketers they were stars before the IPL!!!!!!!!!!!!!Anyway new players can become legends in time!!You rem Alistair Cook made his debut in India scored a 100!!So heres hoping all the young batting line up from England and India star in the series on good spin wickets!!!

Posted by sfhr on (September 19, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Swann, Anderson and that Brat Broad are the real bullies ... For God sake ... wake up Dobell and ECB ... Let us see the best batsman you have ever produced. He will win you more games that those three combined ... And ECB please stop being snobbish ...

Posted by Alexk400 on (September 19, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Time to retire. ECB won't allow you to make money in IPL. They won't allow you to play big TEST matches also. They are in revenge mode.

Posted by joseyesu on (September 19, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

To me inclusion of pieterson will more of a problem to eng team as players have lost their mutual respect to each other.

Posted by GHemrajani on (September 19, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

ECB should fire Andy flower instead. Test in India will be done in 3-4 days. Giving England to ponder on their bad decision of leaving Pietersen. What happened to the virtue of forgiveness?

Posted by vj3478 on (September 19, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

Title should be:ECB stance continues to damage England

Posted by RodStark on (September 19, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

There do seem to be two separate issues, and KP has my sympathy on both. First, being allowed to play in the IPL: it's ridiculous that England insist that all their players be fully available for early season tests when the opposition IPL players don't bother to show up. Which leads to the second issue, the disharmony within the team. I suspect a lot of this stems from jealousy on the part of the bowling clique whom the IPL doesn't seem to have any interest in hiring. It might seem trivial that there seems to be a culture of so-called humour and joking around at the expense of KP and that he should just "get over it." But this type of piss-taking can be really hurtful, and I don't blame him for resenting it. In my opinion, England could more easily replace all the bowlers (Tredwell for Swann, Onions for Anderson, Woakes for Broad, keep Finn) than they are going to be able to replace KP. Plus, if they did that, it might lead to a more grown-up professional atmosphere.

Posted by ianbellfan on (September 19, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

I have to disagree with what George has got say in this article. Were it to be some lesser player, nobody would have given a hoot. Why should KP be treated differently from others? Being talented or better than your teammates does not mean a different set of rules apply to you. Expecting preferential treatment is a clear indicator of his 'I am better than others' attitude and that does not sell in the modern workplace. KP should have understood that. If KP can say bad things about Strauss and that too with the members of your opposing team of the moment, why should he feel aggrieved if a few teammates poke fun at him.

Posted by Chesty-la-roux on (September 19, 2012, 2:46 GMT)

England have done nothing to address the root cause of the problem, they know that the environment in the dressing room containing pietersen and those he alleges have bullied him( and let us be clear george, the alleged bullies are the instigators of this saga, not the victim) is untenable, so what do they do, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend, with help from the likes of mr dobell, that pietersen is the cause of this fiasco and so leave out the man who has shown himself time and again to be far and away the best player they have.

Posted by satish619chandar on (September 19, 2012, 2:44 GMT)

@JG2704 : Whatever it may be. But still, as KP himself mentioned, it is not team secret but a personal opinion. If Swann can write on a personal opinion on KP's captaincy and get away with it, why not KP for a single unknown context text to his old friends about his captain? The issue is definitely not the text but most probably, the "ECB are jealous" comment which prompted ECB to use it for Nick Knight comment fines and also the England group of Broad, Swann and Anderson. KP has bent all the way and is now lying down. He already apologised publicly and made clear of his intentions and he is not the one with terms to negotiate. Even the reported allegations against Anderson and Swann was his side of defense. If he need to bend further, he will get buried. ECB is the massive ego and not KP.

Posted by Akshay.Sekhri on (September 19, 2012, 2:36 GMT)

England should rot in mediocricity. It's the nameless faceless ECB which gets to keep excellence away. Such a tragedy. If you think that special is nothing, look at Australia now. All this system talk is good to a level, but after that it is special that counts especially in the game of cricket.

Posted by Natx on (September 19, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

Good one, George. Mistake done, apologized, time-to-move-on. Rather, ECB and Flower seems to be adament, though cook seems to carry on and build a team. Feel sorry for cook. I see only cook, trott and bell standing up in India. Prior might hit an odd 50 or two. Rest of the team is a joke! Whitewash is on the cards.

Posted by Nehans on (September 19, 2012, 1:34 GMT)

@JG2704 if ECB knows what is in the text then reveal it and if there is something that contractually allow ECB to ban KP for ever than do that, if not then move forward. He has apologized publicly and personally to Strauss already now they want him to do what bent on his knees put his head on Strauss shoes and release this video on youtube?

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

You need big players to win big matches. Thats the story of cricket so far. If ECB is unable to manage a great player that is their failure. All great teams have such charachters but they were managed properly and utillized effeciently.

Posted by Nehans on (September 19, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

I agree George ECB actions are damaging the team more than any thing else, and seriously where on his contract its written that KP has to please his captain always, I expect if ECB prolong its decision in resolving this issue the more voices will be raised against them

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (September 19, 2012, 1:26 GMT)

@ mikey76- You have suddenly made it clear to me. The new no.4, if it's Compton will be as stodgey as Cook and Trott. So 2.8 an over could well be the default r/r and 240-50 a day de rigeur. All confirms the advent of the grey era- suspiciously sounds like the death of Tests, as ordered by ICC. The plot thickens. Next it will Briggs into the 2nd spinner's slot and the age of unspinning spin. Hell!! The perfect antiinsomniac. Go to the Tests and catch up on zzzz's.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 19, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

This is heartbreaking news !!! England will struggle now. Good luck to Compton and Root. While this is an opportunity for them to show the world what they are capable of, they will also know that making a debut in India is a tough ask. I won't expect much from these two if I were an England supporter. But Pietersen brought this up on himself. Can't say whether it was his ignorance or child like behaviour that could have cost him his international career.

Posted by xylo on (September 19, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

Andy Flower probably thinks that he is worth more than what he really is. If this saga comes to an end without at least a stern warning to the Broad-Swann-Anderson triumvirate, it is definitely a farce.

Posted by DaveMorton on (September 19, 2012, 1:04 GMT)

George, I so rarely disagree with you! Pietersen is not as good as you say he is - though he is a genius, I admit - and he is an abysmal fieldsman and has been from day 1. Compton's selection astonishes me, having watched him play, cluelessly, against some moderate Australia A spin at Old Trafford. Let's have no more South Africans, please. There are so many good Englishmen. Root is one, Thakor is another, and what has Taylor done wrong? Morgan? Lyth is twice as good. English cricket is strong, we don't need these outsiders. If a more mature player was needed, it should have been Carberry or Adams, both glorious fieldsmen, not one-season wonder Compton.

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 1:02 GMT)

It is a very sad and bad development!!! The selectors will regret badly fort his over reaction. India will have a sweet revenge and thrash the weak team.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (September 19, 2012, 0:45 GMT)

George, you mention Morgan should consider himself fortunate, but you do not also mention Ian Bell's v poor winter, ave 8 in UAE where Ajmal got him out for fun. Bell did little vs SL and not much vs RSA, where Peterson also recently got him out for fun... That does not bode well for Bell vs spin in India. His paternity leave cd be a blessing in disguise, but as you have told us little about the replacements we are just left to guess. An adjustment of the colour and focus of your specs may be required.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (September 19, 2012, 0:18 GMT)

It seems that opinions are divided about the whole KP issue/ What did the guy do that was so wrong/ Did he commit an actual CRIME or is it just that his personailty clashes with Flower & Morris? It's pretty well known that Cook wants him back. It's also pretty well known that several players don't like him? However if he wins matches for them in India and saves them from a possible 4-0 drubbing, will they like him more? KP has been a fool but as far as I can tell his biggest wrong was being unfaithful to the 'ex' captain? Surely nobody with any understanding of cricket can believe that he gave away invaluable 'insider' information (via text ot titter)? He's a very talented player - he is NOT a cricketing guru with special powers of strategy/observation! Come on England management, get off your high horse & welcome him back - whilst you are still in charge! The sharp knives are out if England fail and without selecting KP YOU will be blamed! Forgive him - move ahead! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by bharath74 on (September 18, 2012, 23:31 GMT)

Pietersen is a legend and the best eng have ever had in the last decade. It will be boring to watch othesr play, it is just like India without Tendulkar

Posted by mikey76 on (September 18, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

The 155 Compton scored last week couldn't have been better timed. Turning it on for the selectors is a great sign and I expect he will slot in at no. 4 and hopefully be a rock in the middle order. Would have liked to see KP go but it will be interesting to see how we perform without him.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

Normally I agree with George. Here not. Pietersen is NOT Englands best player. Just as Botham and FLintoff were not either. He is a showman player - and there is a big difference. I would rather go to India without Pietersen than without any of Cooke, Trott, Bell Anderson or Swann

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (September 18, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

@James Corrigan... Couldn't agree more, it's alot of rosy-specs puff about a player who was not even in any of the ICC top 10 rankimgs.. And had not been for a while..It would have been a far more interesting article had George enlightened us about the newcomers, instead of re-heating old pork about kp.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (September 18, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

Totally disagree with u here George, kp retired himself from all shorter formats months ago, (something Broad is right in pointing out when asked about kp) and Eng did OK without him and have moved on, but kp then decided he wanted to come back, and the (still unexplained by kp) text saga has now spelt the end for kp in tests. That is the end of it, only people like you are taking the limelight away from Root and Compton by STILL writing rosy specs views on kp... Move on George, kp is history, and so is the serially underperforming Bopara.. and rightly so. Pls focus on the actual team, the newcomers, their potential and the next series.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

The emphasis in this article and those by other pundits on Pietersen's ability with the bat is misplaced. Do you get forgiven more quickly if you're a brilliant player? What hypocrisy! What is in question is Pietersen's behaviour as a member of the England cricket team. If the ECB are still not happy to welcome him back it must be because the things he has done and said are too serious for an early recall. We've heard from KP's side that he has apologised and made piece with Flower and Strauss but Miller says there are still unresolved issues. And we have to accept that this is the case because none of us, not even Mr Dobell, knows what else may have taken place.

If a player less sure of his place on cricketing grounds had behaved in such a way as to be dropped and not have his contract renewed I doubt if much would have been made of it by the media.

Fans want to see KP playing for England but make no mistake: that he isn't doing so is entirely his own fault.

Posted by TheHalftracker on (September 18, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

Spot on article, I think those saying the ECB are blameless in this are more blinkered than the ECB themselves.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (September 18, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

I couldn't agree more with George's sentiment that KP has been hard done by? Hugh Morris and Andy Flower seem to be behind the "march of the dinosaurs" and this could well lead to the fossilisation of these two! The English public is very fickle and in the likely event of a lost test series couple with an unsuccessful defence of the T20 title..... well... heads will roll! It''s naive of them - particularly as the T20 WC isn't really about who's playing the best cricket? It's more about which side will take advantage of the breaks that Lady Luck throws their way? At least KP seems to be keeping his own 'powder dry' and letting professionals speak for him? We don't need any more KP-isms and lessons in how NOT to handle Public & managemnt relations! I've never been a great fan of KP but see both his brilliance and the injustice as glaringly obvious. Swann was forgiven for Drink Driving recently to add to your list of wrongdoers.... It's bad news folks... Come On ENgland!!!

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

Seriously, George, I'm disappointed that you chose to rehash all the old garbage about Pietersen being England's "best player".

In Tests, England's ascendancy started in May 2009. Since then, Pietersen is the 3rd highest England run scorer with 2631 runs at an average of 46.98, 45 runs behind Trott who played an innings less at an average of 50.49 & 846 runs behind Cook who played 11 inning' more at an average of 52.68. He's got 5 ducks; two more than Cook and 4 more than Trott. He's got 5 hundreds, 7 fewer than Cook & 2 fewer than Trott.

In ODIs, England's ascendancy began in October 2009. Since then, Pietersen is the 6th highest England run scorer with 1057 runs at an average of 32.03. Behind Trott (2208 runs at an average of 50.18), Morgan (1562 runs at an average of 45.94), Strauss (1405 runs at an average of 43.90), Cook (1368 runs at an average of 47.17) & Bell (1290 runs at an average of 37.94). Strauss & Cook played fewer innings than him and both have better strike rates.

Posted by JG2704 on (September 18, 2012, 21:35 GMT)

Sorry , but what did KP say in those texts - do you (George) Know or does anyone? Surely that is one thing that KP's return might depend upon , and how can any of us trruly judge how harshly or not he is being treated if we don't know the content of the texts? Also has KP definitely apologised to thiose who he has offended or just said he said/did some thing he shouldn't have a la his Utube interview. This articale seems to say that KP is being harshly treated but does not say why ? Has KP made every effort to patch things up with those he offended only to be rebuffed. This article seems to indicate it is all ECB's fault but does not really say why it is their fault. Maybe the players did not want him back in in which case what should ECB do - go against the players. I'm not saying ECB are or are not treating him harshly as I don't know what has been going on re negotiations and whether it is ECB who are not bending or KP or both.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

Well said Mr Dobell! Pietersen is punished not because of being "disrespectful" to team-mates, captain and coach as fed to the public, nor for the lack of professional application - Pietersen plays for the glory of Pietersen first and the good of the team a distant second - his greatest failing, but because of standing up to the ECB. Make no mistake, Pietersen's refusal to play one-day cricket hurt the coffers and he "Got Above Himself". The ECB must have been banking on him filling arenas across the country as Pietersen in full flow fires public imagination, something few batsmen can be accused of since 1981 and a certain (Sir) Ian Botham.

Posted by pommyadders on (September 18, 2012, 21:17 GMT)

Totally disagree with you here George and I think it is very unfair to blame the ECB for any of this situation. You say "Team-mates need not be friends. They just need to be professional." Only KP has acted "unprofessionally" in this mess....no one else. I think in any work place in the world you would sack an employee for such actions. As an England fan for nearly 25 years I totally accept that we will be a poorer side without him, he is indeed the best batsmen we have at our disposal. But I'd rather support a poorer side unconditionally than a stronger one with a player present who I will never be able to support again.

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

It isn't bad of England to drop Taylor. An new opener is needed and the middle order requires someone more experienced. Taylor won't have any reason to think he's been discarded given that he's seen the like of Bell and Bopara both be dropped for lengthy periods and return to the England fold.

On the KP issue, the ECB have done the right thing. Consider this if you may, George: has any side that has jettisoned Pietersen from their ranks gone on to suffer? Nottinghamshire arguably have been a better side since Pietersen left. Hampshire are double winners this year without him. I absolutely support the ECB in their decision. It's the sort of disciplined management the England rugby squad needed and didn't have at the last World Cup. Pietersen is a supreme player, no doubt about that, but for me crossed a major line with regard to Strauss.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (September 18, 2012, 20:59 GMT)

i don't agree with you George. Pietersen has made many silly error - often with his bat, often with his mouth, also walking out of ODI 2011 world cup for example. So this is not forgiveable isolated incident by KP. He will not be back.

Posted by vrn59 on (September 18, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

Fantastic article by Dobell! I agree with him: Pietersen is the best batsman in the England team in all three forms of the game and they NEED him! He is crucial to their chances in India. And speaking of team unity and mutual respect, why have Graeme Swann and James Anderson not been pulled up for their comments on Pietersen's personality and his captaincy in their autobiographies? What about the parody Twitter account? If the ECB can let all that pass, maybe they can offer Pietersen some leeway too? After all, he has apologized several times, including to Andre Strauss in person and has declared himself available to play for England in all three forms of the game! He's even willing to leave the IPL halfway through the season now. He's in the form of his life: he's been fantastic for England, Surrey and the Delhi Daredevils. He is a dynamic batsman that people desperately want to watch in the stadium, and he is one of my favorites! He should be recalled NOW! Btw, his TV commenarry is

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