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UK editor, ESPNcricinfo

Pietersen outcry no false alarm

The ECB should be careful before ignoring Kevin Pietersen's complaints about the schedule for contracted England players

David Hopps

July 16, 2012

Comments: 78 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen thrusts his hands in his pockets during England training, Edgbaston, June 5, 2012
Kevin Pietersen's complaints about the England schedule should be an alarm call to the ECB © Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen has sounded the alarm for English cricket. The only problem is that he is widely regarded as highly unreliable, the sort of upmarket alarm that cost a fortune when it was installed, but which came without a service contract and has become rather temperamental.

KP alarms are the sort that can scream away at 130 decibels, flash multi-coloured lights and even cause virtual reality attack helicopters to appear above the drive without the neighbours taking the slightest bit of notice.

When the KP alarm goes off, you don't sense the danger, you just carry on much as before, grumbling at the disruption and blocking the commotion from your mind. That is pretty much what the ECB is doing after Pietersen's premature retirement from international one-day cricket.

"I can't go on like this," cried Pietersen. "I need more time off. And, what's more, I want to play all the IPL."

"You must go on like this," replied the ECB. "When was your last service? If we can't rely on you never to go off, we will have to replace you with another one."

With that, the ECB believes it has controlled the problem. Andy Flower, the team director, has stressed that the ECB's stipulation that England players must be available for all three formats of the game is intended to protect English cricket "in its entirety," adding: "We have to take personalities out of the equation."

Geoff Miller, the national selector, has growled that England can only pick players who are available, intimating that unless Pietersen returns sheepishly to the fold, with no guarantees obtained, he will not be in England's provisional 30 for World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September.

To rule out Pietersen's involvement now is unnecessary. It would be a generous - and correct - gesture to name him in the squad this week to allow every chance of reconciliation before the final squad of 15 is announced nearer to the tournament.

No player is bigger than the game. The message is clear and necessary. It is a message - embracing team ethic, discipline and the general good - that has carried England to No. 1 in the world and which clearly has much to commend it. But it is only part of the story.

It also takes quite an ego for Pietersen to allow his representatives to float an alternative suggestion that he will make himself available for England's one-day fixtures if he is allowed to fulfil the whole of his $2m (£1.3m) IPL contract with Delhi Daredevils next season and skip England's May Tests against New Zealand in the process.

That is the suggestion coming from sources at the ECB.

But the fact is that the KP alarm has gone off for a reason. New Zealand will probably field a weakened side in England next May just as West Indies did this summer. All because the ICC will not fight for an IPL window and English cricket prefers to pretend that IPL does not exist.

Whether the ECB believes that this strategy is a long-term solution nobody really knows. One of the side effects of England's rise in the rankings is that David Collier, the ECB chief executive, and Giles Clarke, the chairman, now successfully maintain such a low profile that decisions are rarely held up to public scrutiny. Even Hugh Morris, manager director of the England cricket team, prefers to work in the shadows, seeking to keep his meeting with Pietersen's representatives from public view.

One element of England's unspoken policy is simultaneously to reward and make demands of its players to such an extent that their involvement in IPL is discouraged. But Pietersen's alarm call this year could be sounded by Stuart Broad or Eoin Morgan next, especially as all the signs are that a high-profile T20 tournament in England is not about to happen. It is natural to to want to experience the best.

The amount of cricket played by England to protect its corner is simply unsustainable. The English counties are under severe financial strain and the only answer the ECB has come up with is to ask the same 15 players or so to play international cricket until they drop.

It is a good bet that Flower himself will soon be given a tour off. He will not demand it, or threaten to quit like Pietersen, but he will get it all the same and it would be naive to imagine that negotiations, albeit more gentlemanly, will not take place.

Pietersen's cry that he has "never been looked after" was tactless; England's cricketers are highly rewarded and the great thing about rotation is that it does not affect the bank balance. His talk of needing more time with the family is unconvincing when he yearns to spend two months at IPL or jets off, as he did last month, on a weekend return to Johannesburg to watch the rugby.

But Pietersen's game relies on flair and inspiration as much as technical excellence; on an incalculable belief in his own ability, on the chance to be play in the most high-profile tournaments. He constantly needs to refresh his self-esteem, to feel himself a celebrity sportsman in a glamorous life, and however much this may affront national pride he does not achieve that against New Zealand in the drizzle of an English May.

To feel stale and put-upon weeks before a Test series against South Africa will have been enough for the alarm to sound. His reaction can easily be viewed as disproportionate, but that is the thing about alarms. They have two noises - loud and none.

For England to enter a Test series against South Africa with their most celebrated batsman in dispute with the board would normally not auger well. For Pietersen, as his freewheeling double hundred for Surrey against Lancashire at Guildford on Friday suggested, it could be entirely different.

About to face the country of his birth, he is emotional, impassioned, on edge and in need of adulation. He might well prove to be in just the place that he wanted to be. But, whatever the outcome, the ECB should not ignore the ringing in its ears.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by S4CHIN_IS_GOD on (July 19, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

cmon guys you comparing yourselves with us. We revolutionize t20. World champs before England, even though England invented this format. ODI currentl world champs, u can't take that away. How many England has won? I know they have lost 3. Ranking doesn't matter, it what you win. Do you think your team will be remeber forever. I don't think so. BTW India no. 1 test before England, no.1 ODI team before England. This test series again between chokers who actually can't win major tournaments. Keep yourselves happy with ranking, we keep ourselves happy by winning tournaments.

Posted by fineprint on (July 19, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

more the talent more difficult it is to manage it. KP is highly talented and has certain personality traits which may be nightmare for the managers of the game. Having said that, a good manager can only be one who retains such players, otherwise of what use is the 'managerial skills'. A failure to keep KP in the squad would definetly be a failure on part of ECB, team coach, and all those who are taking the decisions in this respect.

Posted by manojettedi on (July 19, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

What Kevin has said is absolutely true. After KP, many are going to come out and speak for IPL. I dont support IPL as against tests. But ENgland must realize that IPL is here to stay, whether they like it or hate it.

Posted by AKS286 on (July 18, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

@@S4CHIN_IS_GOD we accept and we know sachin is a player of millennium, but on his early days. for a better honour he has to take retirement and also one problem with sachjin he always flops in main matches. WC final he has the ultimate opportunity but fail.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 18, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

see ya kev... loved the double ton v aussie in adelaiide, masterful, and the m clarke wkt... but now u are just taking the michael and like most people (inc A Flower) i've had enough... i think a few eng players may come out of his shadow when he huffs off and eng will not miss him as much as he thinks eng will... the latest 4-0 odi result is just for starters... strutting his stuff in the parochial subcontinent comps with no western tv coverage will not suit him either but he is drawn to the money candle so sail off kev.. ''you're a long time retired'' remember... cheers

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

@fr0nt-foot_lunge on (July 16 2012, 16:46 PM GMT) - Don't pretend you're an Englishman/woman.Again why would you look to a side you've just beaten 4-0 and had players going home injured etc ?

Posted by indoorminer on (July 17, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Dunno about others but I'm not remotely jealous of the IPL. I'm just not interested in. It can't be compared with football - there's no tradition or history involved, it's just franchises. Good luck to the older players having one last big pay day, but it - and all it's pathetic time outs - mean nothing to me.

Posted by 5wombats on (July 17, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

@S4CHIN_IS_GOD - what a nasty little hissy fit! Are you talking about those "India cricket stars" who lost 8 consecutive away Test matches? "stars" which lost in all formats in England, who got hammered in ODI in Australia by Australia and Sri Lanka, the "stars" which lost in Asia Cup to Bangladesh?!?!? These are "stars" do not look so bright. DO not come here and slag off the Test match format just because your marvellous India crashed and burned whilst playing it. please publish.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

@S4CHIN_IS_GOD on (July 17 2012, 11:56 AM GMT) Why are you putting it down to jealousy of IPL ?This is a KP issue. IPL is there and it's up to players whether they choose it. Re "You can Never be Like INDIAN CRICKET STARS" - would that be the cricket stars which are responsible for your national side being below our boring lot in all 3 formats?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

@venkatesh018 on (July 17 2012, 03:26 AM GMT) Time will tell. Obviously a fully motivated KP is a huge player for any side but we have managed ok without him so far and there have also been past occasions when he has played and Eng have been pathetic. I'd love him to play but only if he has the right attitude

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

@Lmaotsetung on (July 17 2012, 07:46 AM GMT) It seems that way doesn't it. If he wants to play IPL then go for it , just don't moan about the contracts he's given. I can honestly see KP just giving up England in all formats. A shame but it's his choice

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

@Hazeyrocks on (July 17 2012, 07:01 AM GMT) Feel it's slightly different in that KP is not choosing to do what he's doing because of non selection

Posted by kevinpp24 on (July 17, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

To some Indian fans, I don't think ECB is jealous of IPL or anything. I follow every cricket that's going around and that includes IPL as well and seriously speaking there are far too many matches for just 9 teams. If there's 15-20 teams in IPL then 80 matches is okay. Actually ECB allowed some players to the auction but unfortunately for ability or availability or any reason some English players went unsold and the remaining guys stayed in the IPL until their international commitments. If the tournament runs for just a month then I don't think ECB will still stop players from full participation. But at the end of the day BCCI is doing what's best for them and ECB is doing what's best for them as well, you just can't fault either board. The only window for cricket in England is Summer season, and unfortunately there's rain even in summer here. So please stop blaming ECB they have a country and som people watches cricket and they need to provide them some cricket at the right time.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 14:14 GMT)

@maddy20 on (July 17 2012, 00:22 AM GMT) KP was to have the whole ODI series vs WI off , so he was going to get a break. Anyway , if KP wants to choose to have more time - whether it be to play the other high paying T20 gigs or to spend with his family - then fair play to him , but I say don't come back and still whinge about it. Either honour the contract or stay retired

Posted by kevinpp24 on (July 17, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

I'm a big KP fan, but whatever he's done in the past couple of months were unacceptable. Let's just get rid of him for the sake of English cricket and hopefully it'll spur ECB to comeup with a few more restrictions for SA immigrants. His attitude has been a disappointment for a while now, he think he's too good to make ECB bow for him and he's a tremendous player as well but seriously nobodys better than the game itself. I'll better watch England struggle with committed cricketers than some characters like this, he's embarrassed himself and I'm embarrassed being his fan.

Posted by Snick_To_Backward_Point on (July 17, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Someone else said on these threads that KP is on record as saying test cricket raises his IPL profile. Im not sure if that's the case but I;ve always suspected KP's motives in playing for England. Back in Napoloeonic times the British army used to rely heavily on the Kings German Legion - a foreign cavalry division. It was professional, it was better led and run than the British cavalry but at the end of the day it could cut its allegiance at any time. I think KP's talent is unquestioned, his excitement appeal is unrivalled but you can;t bank on his loyalties. The guy should come clean about his intentions - Flower and ECB owe him that much. Find out what his intent is and be ruthless either way in whether to keep KP on. ECB are building a foundation for hegemony - in 10 years time KP will be a footnote in the cricketing pantheon. Enough said.

Posted by jb633 on (July 17, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

Please Flower can we just get rid of KP. I know he is probably our best player, but I cannot stand this guy any more. If he wants to get some rest then scratch the IPL off. Of course this will not happen, because he loves the money and the glamour. I am 100 % behind Flower in this matter, and would rather lose the T20 WC than let this saffa hold the ECB to ransom.

Posted by shibuvin on (July 17, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

The Mindless manner of ECB is ridiculous. KP is a world class player and a match winner. Replacing him with Ian Bell and eventually Bell made some fluke Runs are not at all equal to KP. ECB must not be frigid with KP's issue. They should come down and have a talk with him, as he is an exceptional player for England.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

I think the IPL should be reduced to 4 weeks instead of 6 so a lot of the problems will go away. Almost two months of nonsense IPL Cricket is destroying the game.

Posted by S4CHIN_IS_GOD on (July 17, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

@LMAOTSETUNG - Haha you have KP retiring from ODI to play IPL mate. Why more money than their whole salary for year. Check their wages before commenting nonsense here. The wages you are talking are not even for Director like Flower. I can see these wages for CEO/GM of English cricket. What make you think that English footballers prefer Club than country. Get your facts right yeah. Stop blamming IPL, getting jealous. You can Never be Like INDIAN CRICKET STARS. Just play your boring test matches in white and copy new skills like slow bouncers,Dilscoop etc from other internationals

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

New Zealand have a weakened team?

Posted by Marktc on (July 17, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Players know what it international cricket entails and they are well paid for it. I do understand that this is their careers, but what happened to the pride of playing for your (chosen) country? With the IPL placed in the calender where it is, sometimes it is a choice between money and country. But, like all of us, sometimes you cannot have it all your way and cricketers must realize this. If KP does not have enough pride to play for England and would rather go for the money of T20's, then he must face the consequences. As was said and I think it is true- no player is bigger than the game. To play for your country should be the honour.

Posted by ragebe on (July 17, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

Given the issue appears to be all about results (and money) and not about playing the game, then everything is moot. I seem to recall the English press hacks moaning about having to cover a one-day final a couple of years ago, instead of Ashes Tests. Playing for England should be the pinnacle of doing well for your county, not just another team. Because of the over-exposure of cricket in so many formats, we have a situation where county games are sparsely attended and interest in the county game has dropped, as so many peeps seem to be following England and not cricket. The likes of Pietersen merely compound this. Let him shove off to India and stay there; stop worrying about England being the No.1 Test team and worry about putting on a good show for the paying spectator, not some meaningless ranking that is used as a way to screw more money from the sponsors.

Posted by py0alb on (July 17, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

I don't know any cricketers who watch the IPL. I think the only people interested in it are just celebrity spotters. Its such a low quality tournament anyway, I've tried to watch some games but if I wanted to watch full-tosses I could go to a local U11s game. At least the fielding would be a higher standard there. Anyone who thinks that the English, with the best domestic cricket in the world bar none - are "jealous" of the ridiculous circus that is the IPL are severely deluded. We don't want an EPL and the associated dumbing down and drop in quality.

Posted by 5wombats on (July 17, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

@Paul Rone-Clarke - hey mate. Dead right. IPL is irrelvent to the development of world cricket or in fact cricket at any level. It acts only as a source by which players can fill their pockets. This is what KP is talking about, viz "how much money can I earn" - which in it's own way is fair enough - but not at the expense of the development, success and unity of the National team in all formats. @allblue - nice comment. I don't watch any county cricket but I do still play club cricket in London. NOBODY and I mean NOBODY at my club watches or takes even a passing interest in IPL. England cricket is strong at all levels and you are right @allblue - people outside of England just don't understand how things are here. @Lmaotsetung - real good comms, spot on.

Posted by SamRoy on (July 17, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

Now that I have thought about it, I am proposing a solution. In May rather than having the test matches, have the meaningless ODIs and T20s. That way, even if the opposition brings it's second XI, even the young untested players from opposition can benefit from the exposure. Play the test matches from first week of June and the English Audience gets to view two international teams at full strength.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 17, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

@ Humdingers - reading comprehension much? Where are we bashing IPL? Just pointing out that English players' central contract are worth more than their IPL ones and that not playing in the IPL would not be a big deal unlike KP because he has more to lose. Therefore not many English players will be lining up to go the KP route of moaning and whining and asking for special treatment which is what many people have suggestion in here and I was just point to them that this is not the case. Learn about how English cricket operates before making stupid comments. Ofcourse Sunil Naraine's 700k IPL price is worth more than what WICB pays him....ofcourse Brendan MacCullum's $900K IPL price is more than NZ cricket board pays him...which is why these players from other boards MUST play in IPL...NOT English cricketers in their prime...they get paid more than enough to not make it such a big loss.

Posted by allblue on (July 17, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

Further to Lmaotsetung's previous comment, people from outside the UK need to understand how deep support for the game is in this country. For most of my life the Test team has been pretty ordinary, but crowds have still turned out to watch them. 586,000 watched County cricket last year, and having been to a few Sheffield Shield games, and a Ranji Trophy game at the Chepak where I counted 8 people including me watching I know that no other domestic First Class competition comes close to those numbers. The much criticised County system does provide a bedrock of loyal support for the game, and if KP was to go off and become a part-time cricketer/part-time Indian TV commercials star, the deep foundations of cricket in our culture will see it survive come what may.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 17, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

I forgot to add that the only reason this is becoming an issue is because of KP's massive IPL contract which is at US$2 million. Compare that to Broad who was bought by Kings X1 for US$400K. Jimmy, Swann, Prior, Bopara and Bell were all in the auction and did not get a bid. Jimmy's base price was US$300K. IPL franchises do not want to pick up English players because they know they'll only play a maximum of 3 weeks. So you can see for guys like Jimmy @ 300K and Broad at 400k their ECB central contract pays them more but for a whole year's work yes but it's not such a massive lost if they can't play the IPL as compared to KP which is a HUGE $2 million. Ofcourse Swanny did not get picked but I'm pretty sure he bowls and bats better than Jadeja who got the same IPL price as KP. I'm not saying Jimmy, Swann or Broad don't want that extra $200K to $500K but when compared to the security of an ECB top tier contract, it's not worth it to make a big stink out of it! :P

Posted by Humdingers on (July 17, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

@Lmaotsetung, mate you have no clue do you. It's not just the "salaries", it's the whole package, endorsements; financial security (relatively speaking, where even a couple of off years in the IPL can still not count after one big knock) etc.

This IPL/BCCI/India bashing is hilarious. If it was that preposterous as all you arm chair critics are claiming it to be, why are the best players in the world running there? WAKE UP People.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 17, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

For those people who says KP is just the start of more problems down the road have no clue how English cricket is run and more importantly financed and managed. The only reason Australian and SA Board are kissing BCCI's u know what is because they do not make nearly the same amount of money the ECB does with its TV contract and other sponsorships. England players are the best paid cricketers in the world and that includes India. ECB 1-yr contract is worth 400K pounds sterling for the top players. For India it's 1 crore rupee which is equivalent to 166K pounds sterling. If you guys think there will be more English players following KP's moaning and whining...well..THINK AGAIN!!!

Posted by richardror on (July 17, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

He is not worth his place anymore, his big scores in tests are few and far between and until his hundreds against Pakistan he was almost dropped, and Bell has proved to be a worthy replacement. England unbeaten since he left in ODIs and t20s.

Posted by akpy on (July 17, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

ravi shastri was right....anything anywhere goes wrong, blame the IPL....I am no fan of 20-20/IPL myself but fact is that IPL is feeding a lot of stomachs, both current/future and even the retired indian players...which enterprise does that?? And, what was stanford links all about for ECB/english cricket - not about money when he flew into Lords with all that cash? If that had continued, wouldnt ECB be organising matches with WICB? BCCI never did anything of that sort - they started a tournament and requested boards to free up players if they can so that both the boards and its players earn money, whilst making IPL more competitive...

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 17, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

The problem facing flower is half of his team only play for money, because they aren't actually english. It's hard to motivate people when they have no connection or pride for the country they are representing. You have to feel sorry for the guy.

Posted by CM2012 on (July 17, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

Very well written... Either ECB need to replicate EPL Cricket to invite the big showmen of cricket or allow English players to participate in the world's best T20 tournament and experience the madness!

Posted by HughL on (July 17, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

The point is not the amount of days cricket played but the sheer time spent away from home. The current England players who play all formats are away so often they could almost be tax exiles. Membership of the England team is inimical to a family life- David Hopps is right- this year its KP but other playerr will start retiring early and prioritising IPL contracts unless they can get a life-work balance

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

I understand his reasons, but KP is always a controversial character. Remember his switch-hit innovation - as if he is not sure if he is left-handed or right-handed. He still has lots of dilemmas in his mind - English or South African, to play or to retire from short versions, to be left-handed or to be right-handed, to fulfill the IPL contract or the English job. Come on KP, make up your mind!

Posted by Munkeymomo on (July 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

@venkatesh018: I hear a lot of fans from abroad bemoaning the lack of batting depth for England in limited overs cricket. How many of you actually watch or even follow county cricket? I'd suggest that the depth in batting for limited overs style players is probably stronger than for the test team. Buttler, Bairstow, Taylor, Hales, Hildreth, Stokes, Root, Ali to name a few. Any of which could be seen in the 30-man squad at the very least, if not in the final 15.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

There's been unconfirmed reports that KP is asking for permission to play the whole IPL season (therefore missing the NZ Test series at home next year) as a condition for his return to ODIs. If there was any doubt before that his retirement from ODI had nothing to do with IPL, there is your evidence if what has been told to certain journalists is true.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

How can you have a window in International cricket for a domestic league? WHat sort of prescident does that set? It re-inforcesiIndias unreasonable and bullying stance towards just about anything the rest of the cricketing world wants, and opens the door for them to do whatever the hell they want in the future, in the safe and surw knowledge that International cricket will bend of backwards and kiss it's own backside to accomodate them. Again. HOW CAN INTERNATIONAL CRICKET BE SUBSERVIENT TO A DOMESTIC COMPETITION. ANSWER = IT CAN'T. If the IPL stood for "International Cricket League" then that would be different, but it doesn't so IPL must always come second no matter what. Hell outside the couple of good Indian players an most of the overseas stars, the actual standard of cricket at the IPL is really pretty poor anyway. 2/3rds of tyhe guys playing would not make a UK county second XI (and some have tried - and failed in the past 18 months to do just that).

Posted by Ramski1 on (July 17, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

The problem is the IPL, it is a problem that every other Cricket Board has faced and none have been able to manage.

Players want to play in it because they earn significantly more money, they are treated like superstars and its the least physically demanding form of the game.

England can try and fight it/ignore it, but in the coming years the May Test series in England is going to become farce. NZ are going to turn up next year with a B team whilst their best players are sitting on the bench in Bangalore or Kolkatta earning a years salary in a week.

The English public dont want to see England thrash NZ 2nd XI, and the likes of Broad, Anderson, etc are going to be thinking im potentially giving up a big pay day for this meaningless thrashing of NZ 2nds.

KP is just the start of the problem - he looks at all the other top players around the world and they are playing IPL, England are the only players really missing out.

The IPL is getting bigger and stronger, worying times ahead

Posted by Hazeyrocks on (July 17, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

I'm gonna say this even though they never show my comments. KP is doing nothing surprising at all I mean the dude left South Africa because he wasn't picked as the selectors thought he wasn't ready so he literally abandoned SA for ENG now he wants to be begged otherwise he will abandon ENG for IPL

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 17, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

@maddy20 on (July 17 2012, 00:22 AM GMT), that argument doesn't really wash because Pietersen CAN get a break and apparently WOULD have got a break for the WI ODIs this summer anyway. It's not like Flower wants to coach just Tests and T20s and they're saying "yes" and he's not going to go and coach an IPL team in his time off. He just wants a series off now and again and they are going to oblige, just as they were going to give Pietersen a series off now and again. Quite possibly not enough for his liking but then a player having time off is not really the same thing as a coach doing so. If Flower doesn't go back to India next winter for the second leg of the tour then I'm sure he would still be in contact with his input if there was something significant to discuss.

Posted by screamingeagle on (July 17, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

This too, shall pass :) The Pietersen thingy is just the start, next season you will see more England players trying for IPL and then the fun will start......

Posted by venkatesh018 on (July 17, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

Andy Flower's argument that we can't let the "personalities" override the larger interest is well made. But England doesn't have the depth in its batting ranks to be a world-beater in limited overs cricket without KP. One day, the ECB has to come to terms with the fact that the players can't keep on playing all three forms of the game, especially the ODIs which have neither the stature of the Tests or the financial benefit of the T20s.

Posted by jr1972 on (July 17, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

I echo brittop's sentiments. KP would definitely struggle and maybe even have something to complain about if he had a real job. Most of us will retire when we are 65 (maybe nearer 75 the way things are going), this guy will probably retire in the next 5 years and pop over to India once a year for a couple of months and get paid a ridiculous amount of money for playing IPL. For a man who wants to be loved, so we can on hearing, he sure knows how to find new and inventive ways of alienating himself from the masses.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 17, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

This is Chris Gayle all over again. KP wants the best of world, i.e get paid the full US$2 million for the IPL and play for England whenever he is free as well as getting contracted by the ECB for the full year.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 17, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

OK for those who do not understand how English cricket work here it is. NO! England cannot start their season later to accommodate the IPL first because of the short English summer cricketing season (they've already lengthen the season well into September and start county cricket in April) and secondly because they have a contract with Sky to play a set number of Test, ODIs, and T20 matches...JUST LIKE THE IPL HAS A CONTRACT WITH SONY TO PLAY SO MANY GAMES! England cricketers play all year round...2 Home series in the Northern Hemisphere summer and 2 AWAY series during the winter. For example Eng goes to India after SA series/T20WC, then goes to NZ for a short series, comes back home for NZ again then Ashes 2013.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 17, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

There's no doubt many people, players and non-players, have been saying the international cricket schedule is too congested. You have to wonder whether KP is just using that as a smokescreen though. I can understand the temptation to play IPL but to say that you need time off from playing for England because your body can't handle it and then use that time to play more IPL just doesn't hold up. The ECB wouldn'' have bound the two limited-overs formats in their contracts in the first place if they didn't think that players may have an issue with playing every game so they obviously recognise that there is a potential issue. The fact that they rest players at times suggests they recognise the demands of the schedule too. I think they need to look harder to find better long-term solutions. That said, while some may consider it just a board already considered stodgy being intractable, I do agree that they cannot be held to ransom by one player, even if some of what he says makes sense.

Posted by maddy20 on (July 17, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

A very balanced article by Mr.Hopps, one of the best cricket writers IMHO. He considered both sides of the argument(KP's and ECB's) and to be fair I feel he was wronged by ECB. A player of KP's talent is bound to have some ego. Besides if Andy Flower can get a break, then why not KP. Without him England will be knocked out in the first round of T20 for they play spin like rookies and the India tour will end in misery for them. A_Vacant_Slip This is exactly what Mr.Hopps was talking about. You wish "Sir" Stanford's league was still running don't ya?

Posted by kensohatter on (July 16, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

I have no sympathy for players who whinge about international schedules and then choose to go after money in the IPL. This retirement was all a tactical ploy to scare England into trying to make him the exception to have him available for the world cup... It would have worked 5yrs ago but now England are a strong side with competition for all places and exceptions would erode this strength and cause disharmony in the England set up. Sorry KP either get with the team program, stick to your partial retirement (which will also mean given your attitude if you start to underperform you will now get canned faster) or pick yet another weaker country (maybe NZ) who would make exceptions. You are no longer the big fish in the small pond personally i think england are better off without your attitude in their side but they seem unwilling to burn that bridge until Morgan, Bairstow or Bopara can cut it at international level.

Posted by allblue on (July 16, 2012, 23:28 GMT)

It's worth remembering that KP went home from the WC due to a slight injury against Flower's wishes so there is a bit of history there. Then again England flew home from a 3 month tour to Australia and spent 3 days - 3days! - at home before flying to India for that competition. England's schedule is relentless, but the income from it funds the decent salaries for the contracted players, the Lions set up, development squads as well as age-group and women's cricket, not to mention 40% of the Counties' income through the annual disbursement. Start cutting the schedule back and something has to give financially. Rotation is a partial solution which England have started to implement and may have to use more in the future. As to KP, I wonder how much this is all being driven by his personal management because he's digging himself a hole here. If he thinks he can strong-arm Flower into giving him special treatment he has been very badly advised.

Posted by Jonathan_E on (July 16, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

Why should there be more central contracts than international members of a team anyway?

I'd suggest the best approach would be to cut back the number of central contracts to, say, quite literally half a dozen - maybe 3 batters, 2 bowlers and a keeper. These should be the pretty much "permanent unless injured" members of the team, and be supplemented by selections from the counties based on form. If they play well, they keep their place, if not, then somebody else good is selected in their place.

Pietersen would then be free to be offered, and refuse, a "central contract" for ODIs and T20s, and take his chances on being one of the non-contracted players.

Which, of course, on CURRENT form, he probably would be. And if he decided to "sit out" for a series, his recall would depend on whether his replacement (also a non-contracted player) had played well (and retained his place) or badly (and deserved to be dropped).

Posted by kitten on (July 16, 2012, 22:50 GMT)

'Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (July 16 2012, 19:45 PM GMT) There is statement in this article "English cricket prefer to pretend that IPL does not exist". What IPL? Help me someone, what is IPL?'

I will tell you what is IPL...it is the most watched tournament in the world at the moment, and all the top cricket professionals, except for the English ones take part.(Morgan& KP are involved, Broad would have played but was injured, and Swann and Anderson were not picked).....IPL is here to stay, whether we like it or not.....I agree is is not a pure form of cricket like Test cricket, but then the world has moved on, and people don't have as much time as before to watch cricket for 5 days, and hence this is a more entertaining form of cricket for a short period of time, and even the entire family can partake in it. It may not necessary be your or my cup of tea, but players have to look after their families' welfare, and the money could not be better. So there.

Posted by majesticmaniac on (July 16, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

Ouch, looks like the IPL and its success has stung the English ego HARD.

Posted by CrickFan82 on (July 16, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

KP is a great batsman, England will definitely miss him. But the England team does have a lot of talented bench strength and am sure Strauss, Cook, Flower and senior players like Trott, Bell wouldnt want KP back in the team. But hey KP, dont worry mate, crickets just a game, get migrated to Australia or Ireland or even India and represent their team. :) Imagine KP playing for Australia in Ashes and thrashing the English bowlers and sky sports commentators winging..i dont think this is impossible, when i can migrate to Australia with my limited skills, he sure can.... wow that will be music to my ears..:))))))

Posted by brittop on (July 16, 2012, 22:24 GMT)

To KP and other cricketers who complain of overwork. The majority of us go to work when we don't want to. We get a set number of days off a year, and don't get to pick and choose which bits of work we want to do and which we don't. Get used to it!

Posted by RodStark on (July 16, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

There are several issues here. The first is that England is the only team that doesn't allow it's players to commit to the whole IPL. Is there no way the England international season could start a couple of weeks later and the IPL a couple of weeks earlier? It seems like the weather in England is generally better at the end of the season than the beginning.

Second is the "rest" issue. Common sense dictates that those who are required for all three formats could be given time off during the less important series if they want it. There actually aren't many who play all three formats anyway. It shouldn't just be a special deal for KP, but if Broad, Swann, and--am I forgetting anyone?--had the same opportunity it could be a fair policy.

Posted by Baundele on (July 16, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

No player is bigger than the game; but cricket board officials are.

Posted by Waddle on (July 16, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

'It is natural to want to experience the best'

Is that what we are calling the IPL ? .. The best what ? .. .. The IPL is nothing more than a money-making pyjama game .. . World Series Cricket for the 21st century. It may be entertaining for some but it means nothing.

'It is natural to want to experience lots of money' is how I would put it.

Posted by Paulk on (July 16, 2012, 20:24 GMT)

I dont know if KP has a valid point or not and it is worth considering it seriously. However, his way of going about it leaves much to be desired. Contrast his attitude with that of Michael Hussey (5 years older than KP), who plays in all formats of the game as well as IPL but whose priorities are always with the national side - a team man to the core. KP gives the impression he is on his own agenda, apart from the collective interest of the national TEAM.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (July 16, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

There is statement in this article "English cricket prefer to pretend that IPL does not exist". What IPL? Help me someone, what is IPL?

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

Players have become commodities these days. IPL is just about whats happening in EPL. Giving time off to Andy Flower makes a sense as he would be spending time with family and plotting new strategies to rule world rather than coaching some other team.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

Everyone knows that England's schedule over the next 12 months is ridiculous but Pietersen cannot expect his demands to be indulged by the ECB. I find it particularly ironic when Pietersen bleats "I have never been looked after by the ECB". On the contrary, they have looked after him incredibly well and have paid him a fortune in central contracts and given him a platform from which to earn in other areas. The ECB has also provided him with access to some of the best facilities and training methods in the game. If it is correct that Pietersen has suggested that he would be willing to come back in to ODI & international T20 cricket if he is allowed to play a full season in the IPL and miss the home NZ test series next year then he's dafter than he appears. Luckily, England has a sensible and principled top man in Andy Flower and he doesn't seem to me to be someone who is going to pander to the whims of an individual player - even if it is someone with the gifts and talent of Pietersen.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 16, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

@David Hopps, there is one minor irregularity in the article, that is the ECB (and Flower) do not expect all centrally contracted players to be available for all three formats. What it has said is that players in the shorter format must be available for both formats. One case in point is Strauss he doesnt play ODI's or T20i's and has retired from both these formats, yet is centrally contracted. Unfortunately KP thought the ECB would come crawling back to him cap in hand, like the WICB did with Gayle, but the problem is England Dont need KP, there are at least a dozen batsmen queuing up for a place in the England team in the shorter formats, these include Hales, Bairstow, Buttler, Taylor, Hildreth, Root, Stokes, Compton, Northeast, and RHB (if he returns to FC cricket).

Posted by MartinC on (July 16, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

The massive salaries available to a select few world class players is certainly creating a problem for the world game and England in particular. As the only Northern Hemisphere Test side the IPL schedule will always clash with the English season and at least some of our home International series.

However the headline salaries are only available to very few players and for as long as the Indian economy continues to grow and media companies and corporate sponsors are prepared to poor cash into the tournament. I personally doubt that will happen over the long term.

Meanwhile England are a better team with Pietersen but are equipped to survive without him. At the end of this year he will be offered a contract which he can choose to sign or decline and play the full IPL contract. He can take his pick - either way English cricket will find a way to move on.

Posted by landl47 on (July 16, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

This is all very well, but what this article signally fails to do is suggest a solution. If the solution is that England cuts back on cricket in England so that a few of its flashier players can make a lot of money in the IPL, a tournament that resonates with very few England supporters, then the cure is worse than the disease. In their heart of hearts, are the West Indies supporters happy to see WI be hammered by England so that Chris Gayle can make money in India? Are South African supporters delighted with the fact that their national team lost to Zimbabwe while the stars rested after their labours in the IPL? England has a short enough season as it is. If it doesn't start until the IPL ends at the end of May, we're down to 3 1/2 months international cricket. We'll be playing 5 tests split between 2 countries and filling up on meaningless ODIs and T20Is. KP is only interested in KP, he has no interest in England except as it benefits him. Cut him loose.

Posted by py0alb on (July 16, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

I think the most pertinent way of looking at this is not to see this situation as KP's ego making him unhappy with the current scheduling whereas every other England player is just great; the way to see it is that KP's ego means that he is the only one brave or foolhardy enough to make a big stink about it. I would be extremely surprised if half the international cricketers in the world don't feel a similar way. Rather than being branded as a traitor for supposedly showing a lack of team spirit, perhaps we should be praising KP for being the first cricketer to have the guts to stand up and be counted.

Posted by whatawicket on (July 16, 2012, 18:16 GMT)

KP is only bothered about his IPL contract and i cannot blame him. but what i suggest that he gives up his ECB contract. the way i take it is he can play IPL for the full period of time and come back play tests if selected. plain and simple. dont play any of the shorter form cricket and then he can follow T20 round the world. then if he has any spare time between that and his rest period perhaps follow andy flintoff who going around the world for sky tv doing daft things on bikes etc and whatever. so then rest periods dont need to bother him as he will be well paid. i just get fed up with this guy.

Posted by ElPhenomeno on (July 16, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

I think David has missed the point big time. That there can't be 2 sets of standards, 1 for KP and 1 for lesser players, is the whole point. That he shouldn't have to play NZ in english drizzle because it doesn't make him feel like a celebrity sportsman is an idea bordering absurdity. SRT is 5 times the player KP can ever hope to be and it is at the age of 39, and establishing himself at the top has he earned the right to pick and choose. I remember him playing against much lesser glamorous sides in hard indian sun year after year for 25 years. I think it is about time people stopped placating KP. Period.

Posted by Commenter123 on (July 16, 2012, 18:01 GMT)

He acts like he's going to a war for the country. You play and you get paid millions and ECB has to 'take care of you?

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 16, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

A vaguely amusing piece on this awkward and controversial subject. I think at the heart of cricket's problems lies the IPL. When it began the organiser's claimed that it should never take precedence over International commitments. This claim was about as sincere as ICC's c;laim about Test cricket-ie boloney. But it is time for individual boards to crack the whip over IPL and by refernce BCCI so that this becomes enforceable. Players should not be offered contracts after such time as they are needed by their Boards for any internationals, and obviously for any time they need beforehand to get acclimatised. After all it is international recognition that gets them the fat contracts in the first place.

Posted by Muhtasim13 on (July 16, 2012, 17:14 GMT)

If I remember correctly, last year Cook also spoke out about England's heavy schedule. So the concern is definitely there. In my opinion, since the WC England played in three series which had very little meaning, "5 ODI v India", "2 Tests v SriLanka" and "5 ODI v Australia". Avoiding these kind of series will go a long way to clear out England's schedule to some extent.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (July 16, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

Hmmm, needs 'more rest' but wants to play more IPL. That makes sense. Why not just be open about the fact he just wants to earn more money? I think he expected a national outcry against the ECB when he 'retired' but instead everyone just got on with it and England beat Aus anyway. So now he wants to renegotiate to get his way.

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (July 16, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

English cricket, despite the crowing by fans, is in a parlous state. Most people believe that our purple patch of form, is the foundations of a period of world domination, rivalling that of Australia, the team we always measure ourselves against and rarely measure up favourably. This is not the case, this KP issue is the start of cracks appearing in "Team England", and make my words marks the downward curve of English cricket for a long while. Once again, we'll look to Australis to see how they handle their own T20 comp and the IPL, and their overall man-management. We copied almost everything of theirs when we were in the doldrums, and no doubt where they lead on this issue, we will follow.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

THIS CHEAP BY KP.................

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

KP is a cricketing great, a pleasure to watch and needs to be accommodated somehow.

BUt my main point - what brilliant writing David - a pleasure to read.

Posted by northoltquin on (July 16, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

Is this the same cricketer who complains about too much cricket but willing to earn so much with the IPL as well. There is too much cricket we all know that but to complain after accepting the rupee is being slightly contradicting

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.

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