George Dobell
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Senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Pietersen impasse demands ECB rethink

Kevin Pietersen wanted to play at the World Twenty20. England were 'disappointed' by his retirement. Surely the two parties can find common ground?

George Dobell

May 31, 2012

Comments: 88 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen celebrates his second hundred in consecutive matches, Pakistan v England, 4th ODI, Dubai, February 21, 2012
Kevin Pietersen made his highest ODI score in what looks like being his final innings in 50-over internationals © Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen is not really the retiring type. So it was surely relevant that the announcement of his retirement from all international limited-overs cricket came from the ECB and not the player. It was Pietersen's intention to opt out only from the ODI format, but due to the terms of his ECB central contract, his decision to rule himself out of one limited-overs format automatically ruled him out of the other. He has not so much retired from T20Is as been retired.

It is a hammer blow - a somewhat self-inflicted hammer blow - to England's chances of retaining the World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in four months' time. Pietersen, at his brilliant, belligerent best, was awarded the player-of-the-tournament award when England won in the Caribbean in 2010. While he has not always been consistent - he was dropped from the side only months after the World T20 triumph - there are no obvious replacements. Aged 31 and fit, there is no reason why Pietersen's best years should not have been ahead of him. His absence from Sri Lanka is a waste from which no one benefits.

The ECB would argue that they cannot allow individuals to dictate terms to them. They will talk of the importance of planning, the symmetry between the different limited-overs sides, and the worth of stability in the team. They do not want other players following suit and a situation developing where the limited-overs squads become increasingly separated from one another. It is true, too, that Andy Flower's record as England coach is exceptional: the team comes first and he will not allow anyone - no matter how talented - to jeopardise the unity of purpose that he has developed. He has rarely been proved wrong and time may prove him correct this time too.

But the ECB stance is open to accusations of hypocrisy. Andrew Strauss, for example, was not obliged to "retire" from the ODI side when it became clear that he had no future in T20I cricket. Indeed, in April 2009, when announcing details of Strauss' omission from the World T20 side, Geoff Miller, the national selector, stated: "Andrew and the selectors believe his game is better suited to Test and ODI cricket, and it is for that reason he has not been selected in the preliminary 30-man squad for the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20. Andrew is focused on the Test and ODI formats of the game." If that can work for Strauss, why not Pietersen?

The likes of Michael Lumb have been selected only for T20I cricket, while Alastair Cook, the ODI captain, and Jonathan Trott are among those not currently in the T20I side. Why the ECB can take a flexible approach to them and not Pietersen remains unclear. Their intransigence is reminiscent of that of the WICB towards Chris Gayle and Co. Nobody wins in such a situation. There must have been another way.

The difference, the ECB would state, is that Strauss, Lumb, Cook et al remained available for all formats. In truth, Strauss has not played another T20 game since March 2009, even at domestic level, but continued in the ODI team for another two years. He may never have announced his T20I retirement, but sometimes actions speak louder than words.

The ECB is setting a dangerous precedent here. With the England schedule crazily crowded in the coming months, it may well be that more players - players who have to juggle the demands of their professional career with family lives - decide they would like to spend more time at home. By taking such a hard line with Pietersen, the ECB have given themselves precious little wriggle room in the future.

Rumours of Pietersen's retirement from ODI cricket have been persistent for some time. He is not rare among members of the England squad in preferring Test and T20 cricket to ODIs, and had the ECB accepted his decision, he would have been able to spend considerably more time with his family and, perhaps, prolong his career in other formats.

The timing is a surprise, though. Not only has Pietersen scored centuries of the highest class in his last two ODIs - both against Pakistan in the UAE - he has also been at pains to underline his commitment to the format. He had just been promoted to open the batting in ODI cricket, and asked about his ODI future as recently as February 17, he replied: "I don't know why you need to keep asking the question. I'm here playing for England; I love playing for England. England gives me the opportunities to sign with Delhi. Why would I give anything up? I'm totally committed to England." In another interview he said: "The next World Cup in 2015 is very much a target for me."

Pietersen is daunted by the prospect of the unrelenting international schedule. The ECB is flogging England players into early retirement and this lack of flexibility will not help

What has changed? Weariness may be one factor. Perhaps the penalty imposed by the ECB only a few days ago, following Pietersen's negative comments on Twitter about Nick Knight's ability as a commentator, was also a minor catalyst: the straw of irritation that broke his resolve.

But the schedule is key to this. Pietersen is already allowed to participate in the IPL and will gain little financially from downgrading his lucrative ECB central contract in order to make fleeting appearances in other T20 tournaments around the world. Instead, he is among several players daunted by the prospect of the unrelenting pressure of the England international schedule. The ECB is flogging England players into early retirement and this lack of flexibility will not help.

Some will blame Pietersen's involvement in the IPL. They will say that, had he rested during those weeks rather than represented Delhi Daredevils, he might be in a better frame of mind to approach the rigours ahead. Maybe, but it is unrealistic to expect players to turn their back on IPL riches these days. They are allowed to do so under the terms of their contracts. The IPL is a fact of modern cricket; it is not going to go away.

The relationship between Pietersen and some of the England team management has not always been as warm as it might be. At the time that Pietersen was pushing for the removal of Peter Moores as England coach, he also wanted Flower removed as batting coach. It took time for Flower and Pietersen to build bridges, and as Steve James reveals in his new book The Plan, the ECB employed conflict-resolution consultants as part of the process. It had seemed that those scars had healed but it is sometimes hard to avoid the conclusion that there is one rule for Pietersen and another for other England players. Stuart Broad, for example, recently referred to unnamed members of the media as "liars" over Twitter and received no reprimand.

As to the future, most spectators will be limited to witnessing Pietersen only in Test action. While he will prove a wonderful draw if he plays more T20 cricket for Surrey, it is hard to see him appearing often in the county game; he has played seven Championship innings since becoming a Test player in 2005.

In the media release announcing the retirement, Pietersen said he would have "readily played" in the World T20, while Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, said he was "disappointed" by Pietersen's withdrawal. Somewhere in between those two statements there is surely a point of contact. The two sides need to sit down again - with those conflict-resolution experts if necessary - and find a more satisfactory solution to this impasse. As things stand, England are denied arguably their finest player in all limited-overs cricket. There has to be another way.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by MysterySpin on (June 3, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

The ECB are being completely ridiculous. They plainly realise that the international schedule is overworking players, hence their decision to rest Anderson for the third test.

Why on earth do players have to be available for both ODIs and T20Is considering the England ODI and T20I aren't identical anyway. Again Anderson is a case in point, a regular in the ODI squad but hasn't been picked in a T20I since 2009. So until England implement a policy that the same XI takes to the field in both ODIs and T20Is they shouldn't have a problem with Pietersen playing T20Is but not ODIs.

If Pietersen had been allowed to retire from just ODIs it would have meant we'd have had the time for another batsman to settle in for the 2015 ODI world cup. The same can't be said for the T20 world cup.

Posted by maddy20 on (June 3, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

This has thrown England's T20 title defense into disarray. KP is England's best batsman in sub-continental conditions and without him there's no way they can win it. They will miss not only his intimidating batting at the top of the order but also his handy off-spin. As always the stubbornness of ECB will undo them!

Posted by   on (June 2, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

Starting with the manner in which the ECB asked KP to be captain then kicked him out, the ADMINISTRATIVE men of ECB have punished him and fined him for being a great player. Every England supporter hopes the ECB ca eat HUMBLE PIE and agree he can forego ODIs. Otherwise, end of T20 leadership for the foreseeable future.

Posted by SamRoy on (June 2, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Truth is, Pietersen is the first true great English cricketer since Ian Botham (Flintoff could have been great had it not been for the injuries and had he not thrown his wicket away so often, so easily). I know most english cricket fans won't agree with me but it is the truth as I see it as a neutral. And in the current England team no one except probably Steve Finn has any chance of being a great player. There are many who are very good, some who are world class but no except Pietersen can be called a great cricketer. So, England can kiss their T20 World Championship 2012 ambitions goodbye.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

I can't help feeling that if this had been anyone else then the ECB would have "made an exception". Remember the captaincy debacle and his (two? three?) Twitter fines? Not to mention the ECB having to lean on Surrey heavily to take him on after stamping on KP's plans to not play county cricket. I expect they have had enough of him.

Posted by RandyOZ on (June 2, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

@5wombats - KP has been away from home for about 11 years and I havent seen him complaining before

Posted by Zaeb on (June 1, 2012, 21:53 GMT)

This will haunt ECB big time.. KP is the finest limited overs player England ever had, the way he dominates bowlers is something no England batsman has ever done.. i feel for K.P , he is such a talented player treated so cruelly by ECB. we will miss you KP

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

ECB should come down and allow KP to have his choice to play Test and T20. He is one of the prime reasons for the resurgence of England in all formats of the game and stop needling him

Posted by JG2704 on (June 1, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - regardless of the KP situation I think the ECB should maybe rethink their contracts re players who play all 3 forms of the game. I make that Swann,Broad and KP. I'm thinking that maybe they could try and negotiate some sort of deal whereby these players (just the ones who play all 3 formats)play a minimal amount of ODIs / T20s but maybe not as many as the non test players. I am however starting to feel that KP feels that the ECB let him down re the Knight situation and whereas he was prepared to do the extra before , he isn't now.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Let me summarize this .. "EGO" , I cant think off anything else unless ECB thinks KP an outsider.

If ECB has their argument , let them answer these 1. KP is not one player who plays all 3 formats so what a big deal about the work load ? 2.Same with IPL , in fact indian players play more matches than KP (and english team) 3. let them answer the above first ;)

Posted by nicholaspsh on (June 1, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Pietersen is getting a rough deal and I find all this very sad. After all, it's the England cricket-watchers and cricket-supporters who lose out as the result of the ECB's decision! The guy is clearly our best bat in 20/20, probably our best bat in 50/50 cricket, and arguably also our best bat in test cricket. He's certainly the only BATSMAN who who would be an automatic choice for England in all three formats, as well as being the best to watch. OF COURSE he chases the cash benefits. But let's remember that these result exclusively from his own extraordinary abilities, in particular in being able to adjust his game according to the format being played. Should he, alone amongst England batsmen, be penalised for being THE BEST? Dropping him from the test side would be quite ridiculous.

Posted by zuber21886 on (June 1, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

its not IPL to be blamed, its simply ECB and their stubbornness. If they continue like this they will loose talented players very early.

Posted by StJohn on (June 1, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

I think a way should be found to vary the contracts so that if a player does not want to play one limited overs format then he is not automatically disbarred from the other. My understanding is that central contracts were introduced, only a few years ago, to try to ensure that key players were managed in terms of fitness and workload (e.g. how much better might the England football team do if domestic commitments were made subservient to internationals?). Therefore if the terms of central contracts are such that they undermine one of the reasons why the were introduced in the first place - by implicitly requiring players to be overloaded with ODI commitments - then perhaps those terms need further consideration. And surely if some players wish to deselect themselves from ODIs then the silver lining of that cloud is that you increase squad depth by bringing in new players. Also, such is life that Pietersen and/or the ECB may change their minds in a few weeks or months anyway!

Posted by Caveman. on (June 1, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

If KP wanted to play in T20 world cup later this year, he could have always opted out of the ODIs before them citing fatigue, played the T20 world cup and then announced his retirement from ODIs. That would have taken care of this situation nicely.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

Problem with KP is that he is massively talented. He is the only English batsman who is an automatic choice in all 3 formats. He is good enough to get into any team in the world in any format of the game. Having to consistently play 3 types of cricket throughout the year will burn people out. And KP is sadly getting there.

Stuart Broad is also another English player who is playing all 3 formats. Broad is younger. However, I see him reach the burn out phase pretty soon as well.

Posted by elsmallo on (June 1, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

The difference between KP and the other players mentioned is that their variable selection/omission was for cricketing reasons - Strauss was a good ODI player but patently not suited to T20's, the likes of Lumb etc the reverse. KP should be playing all formats for England he is the best batsman. He doesn't want to play ODI's anymore because he's bored and wants to spend more time at the IPL.

Posted by TimelessTests on (June 1, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

I entirely agree with Din7. Dropping him from all international cricket now would send the strongest possible signal to future primadonnas who think that the world revolves around them and not the team. Yes, it would deprive England of an, at times, talented player but he is 31. How long are we expecting him to hang around the Test arena anyway? Let's give the new generation a slightly earlier chance and build a team for the future. There are still plenty of dedicated old hands in the side to pass on their wisdom.

Posted by Newbury_1 on (June 1, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

The IPL is welcome to him.......he just didnt want to play against his countrymen!!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 1, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

@Big_Chikka on (June 01 2012, 08:54 AM GMT), name me one other player who has been allowed to choose to play only one of the two limited-overs formats. You can't because there aren't any, therefore there is no inconsistency.

Posted by nlight on (June 1, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

I sincerely hope the ECB isn't going to cut off their nose to spite their face. KP wasn't the player of the tournament by chance in 2010. He remains the best chance of England making a good showing in Sri Lanka.

And if it leads to exodus of senior players from the ODI ranks, then so what ? This would give younger players more chance of playing internationals and making a name for themselves....

Posted by whatawicket on (June 1, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

not sure that you can compare gayle to KP. KP wants to play tests unlike gayle who thinks tests are a waste of his money making opportunities.were KP left the ipl early as not to miss tests.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

The game has evolved. It's time contracts did, too, otherwise, as usual, the ECB is going to be left far behind.

Posted by din7 on (June 1, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

i m from india and WAS a huge fan of kp. But with this retirement he's lost all my respect. Eng team needed him for WT20 and WC in 2015. but retiring like this ...its too selfish. ECB better remove pietersen from test cricket as well, let eng lose matches without him than havin a selfish player like him in the team.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 1, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

I think that a lot of people here are making no effort to see both sides of this argument. There is talk of double standards with regards to players being able to choose what formats they play but that's complete rubbish. There is one rule for everyone and it is enforced the same for everyone. Contracted England players can choose to play Test cricket only and they can choose to play limited-overs cricket only (I believe) but they cannot choose to play just one of the two limited-overs formats. That is the same for everybody. It's not something that they made up for KP. It was in his contract when he signed it as it would for every England player. People want to see KP play and they won't get to now and that's a shame but the ECB doesn't have to change its rules for your personal entertainment. They obviously instigated this rule for a reason. How many of you have even bothered to consider what that might be? As I said, I could be wrong but I reckon its to protect 50-over cricket.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

The ECB clearly do not believe that playing both the 50 and 20 over formats make you a better player as the England teams (and captains) differ wildly in both and for test matches too. The reason for the rule must therefore be one of attitude and a test of application, i.e. if a player rules himself out what is his dedication like? Rightly or wrongly, this is their decision and exceptions should not be made. Let's face it, the ECB have proved themselves right in their decision making on numerous occassions - evidenced by the team being changed from one of the worst to the best in test matches and T20 games. Pietersen has often shown that he thinks he is bigger than the team. He isn't - people that are don't think that way - Sobers, Richards, Flower etc. Lara did and look what effect that had on the team! I for one don't care that Pietersen is out. Good riddance - there are plenty of good cricketers in county cricket to fill his boots.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Timeless tests, only the test team is built around the 2 Andys. If the ECB are looking at consistency, they have a different captain for each format, and the ODI captain can't get into the T20 side. There is clearly an issue with the selection policy, and England need to work this out so KP can play in the T20 format.

Posted by mahjut on (June 1, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

I don't think i've ever respected a player as little as KP. yes, he could be destructive (mostly when it didn't count imo). He's played a couple of important knocks (and i mean literally a couple - one vs the aussie's [who were NOT in their prime but their twilight] and a game saving knock in India ... maybe that's imho but that IS mho). He maintains a 50 ave at number 4/5 which is not outstanding in this day and age - it is expected at that position. I do think England are a better side in the shorter versions with him though and though, like many cricket fans, my preference is tests ... i watch (very happily) all forms of cricket. There is a difference with what happened with strauss in that Strauss/Cook are NOT T20 players but have a role in ODIs - so they'd not be opting out but not be being picked. KP would be pickin' and choosin'. over the years i've softened a bit to KP but what does he care really. rep intact he can go to where he's happy anyway - the IPL (I enjoyed him there).

Posted by Big_Chikka on (June 1, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Agree! Consistency in the application of a simple self created rule is the problem here. Why oh why are some players allowed to play one/two formats and not he? You don't have to love the guy just be conisistent with the rules. That is afterall what makes for a better understanding between player and board. Player and board relationships are not a one way street. If anything the board is dictating somewhat hypocritically that Peterson can't choose which format he plays in, yet that is exactly what they have done with some other players.He's a paid pro, doing a job, he's got a contract, no law saying he can't re-negotiate the terms is there? Over a career spanning several years job descriptions can change........this is no different.

Posted by meenuraghu on (June 1, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

ECB need to rethink this rule which has forced the best player to retire. The best 11 should be selected for every format. Making it a package deal is not great idea. England started winning only after they had KP in their team. He is the only England player to win three ashes and the 20/20 world cup. His desire to win is the strongest and also works the hardest, not forgetting the most talented. People would rather watch KP play for 20 minutes than Cook make a double hundred.His is the most prized wicket. I am sad the limited overs English cricket is now downmarket. Let him play tests and 20/20. At least we get to watch him play two formats rather than one. ECB want to be fair to all players and prove it is team game but I will believe it after they start fining Broad.

Posted by TimelessTests on (June 1, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

Whilst undoubtedly a great talent, this England team is built as the ultimate team by the two Andys and as such does not need a primadonna. Whilst on his day KP can destroy any attack he is not the most conducive to the team ethos. The ECB are sending a signal to say that no one is bigger than the team. I don't often agree with the ECB but here I must back them. Watching KP in the field at Lord's recently I was impressed at his negative body language compared to the others. He is not a workhorse for the team when things get tough even if there are few better when on song. A 'you are not the boss' signal to him will stand the ECB in good stead for the future with regard to others who do not feel that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Strauss remains available for T20 selection though does not have the talent-set for this and so will probably never play this again (a compliment from me - see my username) so his position is different. KP could probably have negotiated this.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 1, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

@5wombats on (May 31 2012, 21:55 PM GMT) To be fair I think the guy has a point. If Broad did say what he did and didn't get fined and KP did get fined for his 2 penneth then it does reek of double standards - if that was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak. I thought what he said re Knight was certainly not worth a fine or anything. He didn't swear or say anything that bad at all.

Posted by getsetgopk on (June 1, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: You obviously know nothing about cricket when your eye cant see the beauty of test cricket. In T20 a bowler is allowed to bowl 4 overs mostly its a one or two over spells, if you knew anything about cricket you would have known that a fast bowler needs atleast an over to warm up hence the beauty of fast bowling is out the window. How are we going to see reverse swinging yorkers like bowled by waqar and wasim some time ago, expecting T20 to give us that is a nonsensical. T20 give you sixes and fours things of beauty no doubt but the game of cricket has alot more to it, its just that you've never noticed it doesn't mean we should scrap it. Why not follow some other sport like football, hockey or even baseball that very closely resembles cricket. Why should we mold and fold cricket into something that it simply cant take that shape. Lastly 2011 will be remembered more for India's 0-8 humiliating defeats than their WC triump, just as UAE for Eng even with their 4-0 ODI WW.

Posted by The_bowlers_Holding on (June 1, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

KP is the same as Gayle and Pollard? He has not made himself unavailable for tests (and Narine has never played a test). He may play in IPL etc but will be playing in all the test series, if this prolongs his test career it is a good thing. Most England fans are predominantly test fans the rest is a side attraction until the tests start. We have good kids coming through in the shorter forms but for me the tests are the be all and end all so I am not overly concerned.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

Happy with the news.... We will KP in full season for IPL... damm care what happens in ECB

Posted by rohan024 on (June 1, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

England really never gave Pieterson the respect, that he richly deserved. The guy is a legend, gave Aussies run for their money when they were at their peak. No cricketer has become a legend in such a short period of starting with int'l cricket as KP, and he deserves to be respected by ECB. Inspite of the extraordinary form of Bells and Strauss' and Cooks, this English team can not win a test match outside england without KP. Same is true for ODI and T20 tournaments.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 1, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster on (May 31 2012, 22:09 PM GMT), your position makes no sense at all. Why would a T20 fan want Test cricket to die? The reason that some Test cricket fans have an issue with T20 cricket is because they feel that one adversely affects the other and that is quite true. T20 has had an undeniable impact on Test cricket; some of it good and some of it undoubtedly bad. On the other hand, the only effect that Test cricket has had on T20 is allowing it to exist in the first place. The problem with T20 fans is that they are often not actual cricket fans. They love to see sixes get hit but they couldn't explain the LBW laws if their life depended on it. Many are the same sort of people who love Justin Bieber today and will forget him for One Direction tomorrow. Real cricket fans don't want cricket to be forgotten when some other more exciting sport comes along. They also don't want money to become the only important factor in cricket. The dominance of T20 risks both.

Posted by mrgupta on (June 1, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster: Ok so you hate Test Cricket but that doesn't mean everyone on this planet hates it too. You will find more fans and players loving test Cricket than t20 cricket. You feel for the people who baked under sun for 5 days but for them its ultimate enjoyment. Test Cricket made Cricket what it is today. There would have been no ODI or T20 if not for test matches. Its ok to love one form of the game but do not malign the other form which we love so dearly. T20 is here to stay and it is exciting but i would still say Test Cricket is the real Cricket.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

I hope he will reconsider his decision!!!! Cricket World should not be deprived of such a talent!! he is master and damage bowlers sense of bowling with his attacking mode of playing cricket!!! I hope he will ignore IPL or other T20 Leagues and play in ODIs!!!!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 1, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

Blaming the IPL for this is just stupid. KP won't play any more or less IPL as a result of this decision. I would imagine that he has made this decision to spend more time with his family. The thing is, England tend to play Tests followed by ODIs followed by T20s. That means that, on overseas tours at least, if KP was still playing T20s then he'd have a break in the middle but still no extra time at home. He would get the extra time with his family during English summers though. I do agree with those who say that England are working their players too hard. I think that they should reduce the workload a bit. I agree that the pointless ODI-only tours, like England in India recently and Australia in England soon, could be a motivator for KP to drop ODIs specifically. I have no problem playing ODIs in India or against Australia but just do it at the proper time, i.e. as part of a proper tour. Don't just fill the gaps in the schedule when the players could enjoy some down time.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 1, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

I could be wrong but I think that the ECB's stance might be an indication that they think that 50-over cricket could be in danger of becoming the poor cousin in time. KP has said that he doesn't want to play 50-over cricket but would be happy to play 20-over cricket. I'm not sure many would follow his lead right now but, with the phenomenal growth of T20 and the money associated with it, there is a danger that there might be others who would in the future. If they are serious about maintaining all three forms of the game then they need to make sure that all the best players continue to play it. If too many players start dropping out of ODIs then it just becomes a joke. Look at the WI Test team now and the talk about the players that are missing. Imagine if the England ODI team ended up not being able to field its best side because several of its players had opted to play T20 only. It could happen. Losing KP is a pity but I can see the potential long-term gain.

Posted by Jarr30 on (June 1, 2012, 3:03 GMT)

Great Decision KP.. As Delhi Daredevils fan, I am very happy that you will be playing whole season of IPL next year. Delhi will have a great shot at winning IPL 6. KP please don't waiste your time playing dead boring test series.

Posted by ruester on (May 31, 2012, 23:15 GMT)

Why do people say KP has done this to play more IPL? Has not the man left the IPL early to come and play for England in test matches? I might be totally stupid but I can't remeber England playing a T20 International or ODI during this IPL. Give KP a break, he plays his heart out for England and has a wife and child to consider. ECB are wrong in their selection policy KP is our best T20 Batsman and should be in the side. After all how many T20's do England actually play in comparison to ODI's?

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (May 31, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

For people thinking that KP is going to play more IPL, you may be disappointed as it is Tests which start in mid-May, not ODI's .For a player trying to extend his life as Test cricketer, flying of to play Big Bash and such may be slightly self defeating. it was noticeable that while Freddie was expected to go off and play loads of T20 once he had retired, the fact was quickly clear that actually his body had had enough. Please do not jump the gun with KP. Re diferent treatment of players by the management obviously it would be sad if a personal animosity between KP and Flower were allowed to colour judgement in respect of treatment of a player. It should be the same for everyone in the squad.Not letting KP play t20 seems about as clever as cutting off your nose to spite your face. I am not usually critical of the England regime as it achieves results but in the case of body fatigue they should play less meaningless games and maybe not spend quite so much time preparing for games.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

The hand writing was on the wall, when KP said that the English were jealous of the IPL. To me, the man has divided loyalties a la Chris Gayle, and other IPL mongers. It would be interesting to see how much negativity the ECB gets over this, as compared with the WICB over their rogue players.

Posted by HatsforBats on (May 31, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

This is poor stance for the ECB to take; T20 is as different from odis, as odis are from tests. If KP was smart he could have just let his odis form worsen until they dropped him and still keep the same contact. Englands loss.

Posted by jackiethepen on (May 31, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

As KP has opted to continue playing Test cricket I cannot see the connection with freeing himself for the IPL. If he'd wanted to, then he would have opted to just play ODIs and T20s. I agree with Dobell. The ECB has got to sort this out. But they have to win over Flower. Here the problem lies. Flower and KP have never got on and a battle of wills has been evident. Every now and again a comment will emerge which shows that there is no love lost. But Flower as coach should stick to managing players not imposing control over them. Flower has often laid down the law to the team and it hasn't gone down too well. There are a number of players that got told off for answering back, Anderson, Swann, Bell and KP among them. But a power struggle should have been avoided. If Flower has any sense he will amend his views to allow players to retire from one form of cricket in order to concentrate on other forms. This is perfectly reasonable considering the ridiculously heavy programme this summer.

Posted by phermon on (May 31, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

Srinath Sri, People are jealous of the IPL because it is Indian? OMG, I always thought it was Irish. You just completely ruined my day.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (May 31, 2012, 22:15 GMT)

I simply CANNOT understand WHY WHY WHY should cricket be considered an INTERNATIONAL sport ???? somebody please explain that to me. Why cannot cricket become a pro league sport ??? of course you 'purists' can keep your precious test match cricket and shorten it to 3 or 4 months per year. Let the lion's share of the calendar go to pro leagues based on T20 cricket. The less international games we play the more the excited fans will become when their favorite players put on their national jerseys. Just like soccer. When David Beckham used to play for Man United... I couldn't wait to see him in English colors because I supported the 3 Lions. Cricket can RULE the world if it becomes a pro league sport instead of isolated international games which ONLY a handful of countries play. I honestly don't care about cricket when it doesn't involve T20s or ODIs. Test matches will only destroy the sport. We can still save this game.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (May 31, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

The ECB has a FAT ego and they are not willing to accept the harsh reality of modern cricket. Modern cricket is not ONLY about boring test match cricket. T20 cricket is the future and I can't wait till the day the LAST test match has been played on this planet. I am a proud T20 fan and I have no shame. I won't even pretend I like test cricket because I don't. I love quick, high octane sports. T20 provides me with entertainment, a definitive result and all the drama a sport should. Test cricket on the other hand is a waste of time and resources. Sure it has skills... but what skills ? chasing red leather around the park for 5 full days while folks get baked under the sun without even a know how about a certain result ? Oh you mean contest between bat and ball ? well we have plenty of that in T20 cricket too. There are no purists.. they should call themselves ignoramuses.

Posted by 5wombats on (May 31, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

@vaidyar on (May 31 2012, 16:22 PM GMT) "There's one rule for Stuart Broad and another for the rest of the world". What the .... has Stuart Broad got to do with it????

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

Let's look at another quote: "but it is unrealistic to expect players to turn their back on IPL riches these days." --- Yet plenty of England players have. Some aren't wanted. One look at the players who weren't bought at the last auction is proof of that. It'd be a sad day if cricketers turned as mercenary as some footballers have been, happy to openly stick a finger up at clubs who have developed them so they can chase the bigger money elsewhere. Now we're seeing someone like Chris Gayle act poorly with regard to fulfilling his contract with Somerset. In my view the IPL should be allowed a proper window on the proviso that it is a reduced competition that doesn't affect international and domestic cricket elsewhere. Oh, and drop the ridiculous Champions T20 thing. Utter waste of time.

Posted by Ben2014 on (May 31, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

IPL loves the switch hitting KP. There is nothing wrong in it. Everyone loves the guy even if he plays for the rival team. So he gives back all he has for IPL. What does England do? Penalize him for expressing his views. DD will never let him go. KP is safe with IPL - not sure if he is with England. As George points out, you can't have one rule for Straus and another for everyone else...So it is only fair that Pietersen carefully opted out of ODI (resulting in going out of T20 as well).

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

"The ECB is flogging England players into early retirement and this lack of flexibility will not help." ---- it's odd that this line comes out at a time when squad rotation issues are also at the fore. The ECB rested Andrew Strauss and received a barrage of criticism. This was generally forgotten as Strauss went on to lead England to another Ashes victory. James Anderson rested for the ODI trip to India. Some of the criticism coming after the World Cup was taken on board.

Posted by Robster1 on (May 31, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

By common consent the IPL window should be four weeks. And the CL20 should also be abolished. Then a healthy balance would be reached. 50 overs need to be put to bed immediately.

Posted by bluetrail on (May 31, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

ECB.....with no semi-final birth for englant in T20 WC

Posted by SirViv1973 on (May 31, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

KP has odviously made this decision to spend more time in the ipl. The ipl is having a huge effect on WIN cricket & now Eng too it seems. These were always going to be the 2 countries most likely to suffer due to the time of yr ipl is played. This is a very tricky situation it is not as simple as saying lets have a window. The IPL is a monster which is growing larger each year the lge itself now lasts for 7 wks so any perspective window would wipe 2 months off the international cricket calender. Then there is the matter if the ipl's ugly spin off the T20CL another 3 wks would have to be set a side for this or otherwise we would still be having these club vs country arguments. The only way forward would be to shorten ipl to 5-6 wks & CLT20 disbanded. Sadly at present I can only see the amount of games in both competions increasing which will mean more of the worlds finest talent being lost to the international game, which in the long run cannot be good for cricket.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 21:01 GMT)

Why do I immediately assume that the real reason for Pietersen's retirement from ODIs is so that he can line up a nice, juicy contract to play in the Big Bash instead?

Posted by phermon on (May 31, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

Why are all Cricket Boards apparently control freaks? They continue to make fools of themselves -even when they make the right decision. Of course they are all subject to endless armchair criticism from the likes of ourselves.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

ipl is from india so everyone is jealous about that.

Posted by 200ondebut on (May 31, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

What the ECB forget is that cricket is not about the ECB either - it is about the fans. The whole reason they play is because the fans come to watch. The issues about continuity and allowing players to dictate terms is nonsense - the only consideration should be the fans. The fans want to see a sucessful England and they want to see KP.

Posted by premclement on (May 31, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

"The IPL is a fact of modern cricket; it is not going to go away." Well said George. IPL is here to stay, which ECB can not ignore for a very long time. I seriously doubt his retirement is due to IPL. One can not blame IPL for everything! give a break.

Posted by GHemrajani on (May 31, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

Please state correct facts. Andy Flower's record as coach is not exceptional. His one day record as coach is significantly below par and his test record in Asian subcontinent is poor. Watch how his record in Test gets trashed by South Africa and India. And England will not win the next T20 cup.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

great article. absolute joke. definitely a story beneath the facade

Posted by JG2704 on (May 31, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

I agree pretty much with the whole piece.Also as I intimated in another article , I wonder how many other Eng players would retire from ODIs if the T20 didn't come as a package. Personally I think the ECB should be more flexible , but not just with KP but with all our TEST players. I worry particularly about our bowlers - guys like Jimmy , Broad and Swann - with injury and burnout. We all saw how burnt out Jimmy was after the Ashes 2010/11 and he carried that through the world cup and it has probably damaged his OD reputation.Broad is injury prone anyway and surely having his workload lightened would help. There aren't many players who are nailed on for our 1st choice side in all 3 formats - KP , Broad and Swann are the only ones that spring to mind. Maybe the ECB could be more flexible with these particular players and maybe negotiate a deal with these players whereby each plays a certain amount of games and hopefully KP might even reconsider retiring from ODIs too.

Posted by Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on (May 31, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

So English can criticize WICB for what happened with Gayle and now the same thing happening with KP? What are their ans now? So from now on people should stop blaming WICB. ECB joins the party too

Posted by landl47 on (May 31, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

Sorry, but I can't see any reason for hand-wringing. Pietersen wanted to retire from ODIs. Apart from the World Cup (by which time Pietersen might have been out of the side anyway), does anyone much care about ODIs? England beat Pakistan 4-0 in the recent ODI series in Pakistan, yet you'll see post after post saying that England were humiliated in Pakistan. Why? Because no-one thinks ODIs are important. Pietersen would have played T20I cricket. So what? That means even less than ODIs. England are World Cup champions in T20 and ranked #1 in the world. Does anyone give a hoot about that? It's a glorified kids' game and no real cricket fan cares one way or the other about whether England are #1 T20 team or not. Pietersen IS going to play test cricket. Now that matters. People care who is ranked #1, they care about results, they want to watch the best playing the best game in the world. As long as Pietersen plays tests, he can do what he likes the rest of the time.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

KP came back from the IPL to play TEST cricket. It has nothing to do with the IPL. He might still miss games in the IPL due to his Test commitments.

Posted by rachetbetty on (May 31, 2012, 18:30 GMT)

Complete disgrace, the ECB should hang their heads in shame. Denying the fans the most entertaining 20/20 Batsman in the English team, over a policy stance! Astonishingly poor decision.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

lol, KP was the only limited player englalnd had, now he's retried, good luck england

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

Oh George, your examples are terrible! You cannot possibly draw similarities with Strauss & Trott's non-inclusion in T20I sides, as the ECB's rule must surely be in place to stop players from quitting ODI's and only participating in the more glamorous, less strenuous, and more highly publicisised T20I cricket. The rule must be in place (I assume) to protect their ODI squad. Strauss & Trott's inability to score at strikerates deemed as sufficient is entirely irrelevant to this matter!

Posted by Kaare on (May 31, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

As a delhi daredevils fan, Im thrilled to bits! IPL title next year is ours

Posted by Optic on (May 31, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

The IPL thing is just a red herring, he played so few games and will continue to because he's still playing test cricket for England, this is all about England's ridiculous schedule. The ECB talk about managing players game time, when has this been done for KP, I remember various England players getting series off but not the players who plays all 3 formats and has done for 7 years.

Posted by Optic on (May 31, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

Completely agree, it's ridiculous that KP can't carry on playing the two formats we are no1in. The ECB seem to be biting their nose off to spite their face. Surely a player like KP who's played as much cricket in the last 7 years as anyone in the world and given so much in all 3 formats to England should be allowed a little leeway, seriously they want to do everything they can to keep KP playing. He's box office and people pay to watch him, a part from that England's T20 side looks a lot poorer without him.

Posted by bluetrail on (May 31, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

what a fiasco....ECB has no idea how to manage a star player! ECB with high paying management is no better than WICB

Posted by jackthelad on (May 31, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

I don't see that there's any comparison between Strauss being dropped from the OD side, or Cook not being selected for T20 sides, and Pietersen voluntarily making himself unavailable for thes shorter formats. His agent presumably read his contract, which ties Pietersen to this agreement (one imagines because the ECB foresaw a situation like this developing & sought to avert it). Pietersen would always want a Test place because (his own words) this makes him marketable in the IPL, which is his main focus. You can't alter rules to suit individuals, however talented (and bolshie) - particularly when they've stated that National cricket is secondary in their agenda.

Posted by getsetgopk on (May 31, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

oh George, I can understand your utter disappointment with this whole KP issue but if most people in ECB including Flower thinks its the best course to just let KP play the Tests, I would have to agree with that. No player is above the team goals, you mentioned Strauss left out of T20 squad but why not some kind of arrangement being made with KP, well Strauss wasn't as good as KP in T20 thats a fact, again a team goal rather than what an individual player wants. KP is clearly picking and choosing what he wants good for KP but good for England? I dont think so. And with all these issues surrounding around KP every now and then how can he continue playing test cricket for England? I mean clearly KP has issues with ECB and ECB doesn't seem to like him that much either. ECB is doing exactly what WICB did. IPL is a fact but one cant blame these cricket boards wanting best for their country. Best to let go of KP, sadly!!

Posted by AbhijeetC on (May 31, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

but What make Pietersen not playing ODIs. I guess he is the best ODI batsman played for england.......and at his age 2015 is just 3 years away..he still can play big role in that....He just needs to handpick what ODIs he wants to play and when he wants to take a Sachin tendulkar....I guess BCCI has given liberty to every Indian player to ask for break....just they don't take it very often fearing their place would take someone else.....but for England, they are not gonna find another sad....both parties lacking the common sense......

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

Is there no board in International cricket capable of reasoning???The WICB,ECB,BCCI,ACB are such hippocrates.iam still shocked after hearing this news but I guess Kevin did give a lot of thought to this.

Posted by vaidyar on (May 31, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

"Stuart Broad, for example, recently referred to unnamed members of the media as "liars" over Twitter and received no reprimand." Wrong example. There's one rule for Stuart Broad and another for the rest of the world.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (May 31, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

A spectre is haunting cricket.... There is no I in Team England. But there is an I in IPL.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

What has changed? Weariness may be one factor. Perhaps the penalty imposed by the ECB only a few days ago, following Pietersen's negative comments on Twitter about Nick Knight's ability as a commentator, was also a minor catalyst; the straw of irritation that broke his resolve. tTHE REAL REASON FOR HIS RETIREMENT. dont blame the ipl he just played 5 games

Posted by vrn59 on (May 31, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

Fantastic article! Pietersen is not at retiring age, and personally, I hope that he reconsiders this decision. The ECB should definitely allow him to play in the T20 World Cup, because, as Dobell mentions in this article, he is England's finest limited-overs player! He is a key member of the top order and his absence will seriously deplete the T20 side! This is a sad day for English cricket and all of Kevin Pietersen's fans, including myself!

Posted by A.Ak on (May 31, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

KP is kind of person, when you give freedom, he gives his whole back to you. I think thats why he likes DD. Why anyone want miss out fun as well money?. Only an English player would because of their incapability.

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

well a sad thing for england fans.....but the IPL and indian fans wouldnt mind it.he could play IPL without missing any matches ....

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

why is evryone asking the boards to change their stance.....why dont you just shut IPL down ! we all know, this is b/c of IPL...obviously KP wanted to give up ODIs to play IPL, T20I and Tests , why dint he choose to quit IPL , and play all 3 forms of cricket of ENG. but hello...who does that.....there is so much money in it :D i m afraid , we'll hav more players like pollard, narine, and KP in future who opt to play for IPL wen their countries need them

Posted by 5wombats on (May 31, 2012, 15:56 GMT)

"KP RETIRES!" Pretty startling Headline! But Dobell has got it right here when he states; "The ECB is flogging England players into early retirement and this lack of flexibility will not help". You only have to look at the insane schedule England began when they flew out to Australia in Early November 2010 - the last of the meaningless 7 ODI's was 6 Feb 2011. A few days later England flew to the World Cup which began on Feb 19. Some players, including KP were reported as having just 4 days at home. England's last game in the WC was 26 March - but KP had already flown home because he'd had enough. Who can blame him! 5 months away from England and in that time less than a week with his wife and child in his own home. Who wouldn't be pee'd off with that? I don't blame KP for this. The blame is elsewhere.

Posted by GeorgeWBush on (May 31, 2012, 15:48 GMT)

I do not understand why England makes a contractual obligation for players in T20 to be available for ODI's and vice versa. Players have retired from ODI's to prolong their test career on numerous occasions over the last decade (Strauss, Collingwood) and yet their commitment is not questioned. I can see that the ECB should not make exceptions for one player but this part of the contract seems to create a problem that need not have existed. I don't think his twitter fine has anything to do with Pietersen's decision. I expect he wants to spend more time with his young child and wife and decided that something had to give so he retired from ODI's. Going on pointless ODI tours of India can't have helped. The ECB has created their ridiculous schedule with their Sky contract so they only have themselves to blame. I hope something can be worked out so that Pietersen can play in the T20 world cup as he is playing well and with confidence at the moment and will be a big loss.

Posted by Robster1 on (May 31, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

A well balanced article. The ECB is most certainly working its players too hard and in too many pointless matches. The 50 over game is effectively dead and the cricketing calendar would benefit from just test and 20/20s being played. An annual international test championship must be introduced as soon as possible.

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