February 5, 2014

The end of the Pietersen project

Leaving a series of disgruntled teams in his wake, Kevin Pietersen has only himself to blame for the sorry end to his England career
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Tumbling, falling into the abyss: the Pietersen project appears to be over. At its core was a marvellous talent, studded with genius and driven by a contrary mind that has achieved its death wish. Whatever your faith, and even the believers might not argue this: Kevin Pietersen has brought pretty much everything upon himself. "It's not easy being me," he said not so long ago. Apparently not. And it is not easy dealing with you either, Kev. If it was, this sorry business would surely have been avoided.

Almost certainly it was Alastair Cook who called time. "It is him or me" will have been the message at recent meetings, and Paul Downton, the new managing director of England team affairs, concluded it must be "me". At least with that choice the rest of the team would stay on board the train. At the rate they have been hopping off, the risk of "him" was too great. Cook feels unforgivably let down. Allegedly, Pietersen became unmanageable in Australia, though, as this column has argued before, it would be no bad thing if we were told more of the facts. Whispers and rumours are unpleasant and destructive. Michael Vaughan is right in saying we need an explanation. After all, the biggest drawcard in English cricket has been fired for reasons other than his play.

Prior to the first Test in Brisbane, Pietersen's 100th, I interviewed him at some length for a television profile. He spoke brightly, admitted mistakes, stated clearly that he had 10,000 Test runs in mind, and lavished praise on his captain. Cook, he said, was a top bloke and an excellent leader. Cook, of course, had brought Pietersen in from the cold a year earlier. In another interview Cook said Pietersen was a rare talent and that 100 Tests was a very special achievement and to be applauded. The words were considered but not obviously warm. Perhaps Cook knew he had wrapped his arms around a time bomb.

Some of the team really don't like Pietersen. A few do. Only the fresh faces will still be working it out. Without KP around, Graeme Swann might still be playing and Andy Flower could still be in charge. Equally, without him England would not have won in India and may well not have won many other high-octane series in which he has changed the course of matches. Can't live with, can't live without. But not anymore.

It is too simplistic to say that Pietersen should have been managed more sympathetically. How many back-stabbings can a captain and coach take, if that is what was happening of course? Peter Moores, Andrew Strauss, Flower and Cook, all bloody from KP wars? Almost certainly. Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher were lucky to have him at the start, when his ambition was defined by the present and by performance, not by money and mood. Equally, it is daft to say that his shot selection in Australia could be excused by the tactics of counter-attack. With power comes responsibility and too often - in four of the five Tests, come to think of it - Pietersen perished without reference to the situation in which the team found itself. The nub of Downton's quote is the phrase: "We must start to rebuild, not only the team but the team ethic and philosophy." That's a slam dunk if ever there was one.

Someday down the track, he will wonder why on earth he was so contrary. It is easier to look back at your talent and then understand what you did, or did not, do with it

Goodness knows what happens if a Pietersen man is appointed as the new coach and Cook fails to last as captain. Perhaps there is a twist in this spicy tale yet.

The Pietersen project began at Nottinghamshire, after Clive Rice invited him over for a crack at county cricket. Unhappy in Natal, where the quota system denied his gifts the exposure he was sure they deserved, Pietersen jumped at the chance of a new life. Batting on a good pitch in a Test match arena, he startled everyone with his adventurous, often unorthodox style and then amazed them with the results that accrued. But he fell out with the folk at Trent Bridge and moved to Hampshire, where Shane Warne bellowed from the canopies of the sparkling new Rose Bowl pavilion about the boy from Pietermaritzburg who had to play for England immediately. The selectors agreed and against Australia in the glorious summer of '05, a star was born.

The slog-sweeps against Warne, the off-drives against Glenn McGrath, the flamingo-like swivel shots against Jason Gillespie and, best of all perhaps, the hook strokes from 150kph deliveries by Brett Lee, took the breath away from all of us in awe of the instinct and bravado. Of England batsmen since the war only Denis Compton, Ted Dexter and Ian Botham had played with such abandon. It was incredible to watch and it stayed so for much of a career that gave the England team a dimension it had lacked since Botham fell off the mountain of greatness.

These men of Southern Africa who have worn English colours are an interesting bunch. Tony Greig became captain but was sacked for desertion to Kerry Packer. He was a fine cricketer who knew no backward step and he was an easy man to follow. Allan Lamb had a rare talent and the stomach for a fight but he loved a party. To some degree this betrayed him but, conversely, it may be why England embraced him - an embrace that did not go unrequited. Like Lamb, Robin Smith relished the fastest bowling but found the patience and touch required for more subtle challenges hard to come by. Had self-belief rather than shyness been at the helm of his character, Smith might now be ranked among England's best. In summary, you would want all three by your side in the trenches.

Graeme Hick made runs for a living, tens of thousands of them at Worcestershire, the place he called home. But he found the spotlight difficult and retreated into himself in a way that Greig, say, or Lamb, would not understand. The more he played at Test level, the greater the pain. Jonathan Trott, with his practical method and nice sense of humour, appeared to have the balance right. But what do we know of cricketers at night when the demons of self-doubt and pity creep under the covers and invade the mind? Suddenly, inexplicably from the outside, it all became too much. Trott's future is in doubt.

Certainly, there is something in not being "English" while playing for England. Pietersen is tired of the references to South Africa. Courage is required to make the break from the land of your birth and to be adopted elsewhere. Pietersen's journey has been especially complicated. Having fallen foul of Nottinghamshire, he moved on from Hampshire too. Now it seems England have moved him out. There is only one common denominator.

Someday down the track, he will wonder why on earth he was so contrary. It is easier to look back at your talent and then understand what you did, or did not, do with it. Having known him quite well, I am saddened by this unattractive ending. There was probably an answer in there somewhere but not with the people charged with making the decision. They know too much and Downton had to take heed of their counsel.

His talent is a terrible loss to English cricket. The days will be duller without him, the team less interesting to watch. He will soon tire of a mercenary life in the world of T20, for his skills are greater than the parameter of the game. Oh dear.

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 5, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    With power, comes great responsibility, and as you mentioned this phrase to demonize Pietersen here, I would also use the same phrase to condemn the short sightedness of ECB, Cook and Co. in general. He may have had attitude problems but in the end the vision is quiet clear. It is to win. If so, a wise coach and captain would do anything to preserve the gem of talent like him in the squad, no matter what. Instead he finds himself retired, while all the other non-performers (Matt Prior and Cook included) would be given an opportunity to further their careers, just because they had good work ethic.

  • harshthakor on February 10, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Kevin Pieterson was the equivalent of a Viv Richards of modern times.He tore great pace attacks with the ferocity of a tiger and ranked amongst the top match-winning batsmen of his era.Few batsmen posessed Pieterson's range of strokes,power and reflexes.He deserved a test average of above 50 as he played such a crucial role in England's big test match and series victories.One of the best ever batsmen of genuine pace bowling.His aggressive batting could change the complexion of a game 180 degrees.Reminded me a lot of Ted Dexter with his cavalier approach.Arguably Kevin ranked amongst the all-time greats and earned a place amongst the top 100 cricketers of all.Above all an outstanding entertainer.

  • on February 8, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    At natal kp played as a spinner, natal had pat symcoc, SA test spinner and dereck crookes SA odi spinner......what's the quota?great loss for England but please leav the quota system references!!!!

  • MarinManiac on February 7, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    Mark, I can understand your perspective, but is there another explanation here? And that is, that the ECB plan to reinstate Peter Moores as director of cricket? It's not crazy, he's a fine coach, he's English, he's worked with this team before, and clearly can't work with KP.

  • on February 7, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    Those that know what happened at Sydney (and are censored from saying what they know) probably understand why Pietersen had to go. It went further than Botham's antics, Flintoff like a puppy in comparison. About 100 England fans heard the debacle. It was way too loud to be private. It was a frankly disgusting. Cooke was shattered by the end of it. The team physio seemed to be caught in it for a while (and got told where to go). I know people who witnessed it have tried to post what they know here - only to be censored. I can only imagine George Dobell and others who are defending Pietersen are not aware of what went on, what was said, and how it was said. Cooke might not be the showstopper Pietersen is, but his stats stack up, he's a thoroughly decent man, has the respect of his team, he did not deserve to be treated that way. If people knew what happened they would understand that Pietersen HAD to go. No one in that team could play with him again. I hope it all comes out soon!

  • warnerbasher on February 7, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    Its a very sad day for cricket. As an Aussie I sat up all night and watched that innings against South Africa in 2012 at Trent Bridge? and wondered whether a more audacious, brilliant innings had ever been played in the history of the game. One can't help feeling that the English public have lost out big time because of poor management by the support staff and captain. Hope he comes and plays for the Sydney Sixers in the BBL next summer. The SCG will have the 'house full' signs up everytime he plays

  • LateCutR on February 7, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Managing difficult people! In truth the best method is to get rid of them as early as possible, regardless of how good they are individually. I've made the mistake of trying to manage these types before, because they had talent I thought we were better to keep.

    I was wrong. You don't fully realise how great the negative impact they cause is until they are gone. Suddenly everybody can stop tiptoeing around them and putting effort (and its a lot) into trying to keep them happy. The negative atmosphere disappears. Suddenly the rest of the team will start enjoying cricket (or business) and the team environment again.

    England's mistake was in not doing letting KP go a long time ago.

  • Deuce03 on February 7, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Mark Nicholas is right. At some point you have to stop blaming the people who "failed to manage" Pietersen, and start blaming him for being impossible to manage. It's not just Strauss and Cook who have struggled with him; they've just had the misfortune to encounter him when he was established and powerful. And yes, he had power, because he was one of England's most senior batsman in terms of experience and public support, not to mention his talent. The ECB appointed him captain and he responded by falling out with the team director and trying to get him fired. Strauss and Flower rehabilitated him and were rewarded by being backstabbed in 2012 (not to mention KP's attempt to take the credit for the 2010-11 Ashes). Had it not been for KP, Strauss (one of England's best ever captains in terms of results and a player England have still not replaced) might have stuck around. Cook rehabilitated him again and as a result his other players are jumping ship. KP's had his chances.

  • Spiritofcricket99 on February 7, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    I think it's quite clear he had it coming as Mark Nicholas points out so eloquently. Pietersen was given numerous chances and seemed incapable of reigning in his ego. It's sad to lose such a talent from the Test Match arena, but England have to rebuild after the drubbing they just got handed by Australia. Pietersen is obviously seen as an obstruction to the rebuild, and the team has to come first.

  • duke7nukem on February 7, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    This article comes as a surprise. Its pretty easy to acknowledge from commonplace wisdom that great talent comes with its own whims and fancies and has to be managed, nurtured and handled with care. With power, comes great responsibility is an inappropriate phrase to use in this context as Pieterson was never really instilled any position of power in the team. Cricket is a team sport but not all personalities in the same team need to be alike for a team to succeed. We have an example with the Windies team of the 70's and 80's. Too much undue importance is being put onto ethics and philosophy of life in Cricket these days, without realizing that greats like Pieterson have to sweat out lesses in practice to perfect the art of succeeding at the biggest stage. ECB will surely in time regret their decision and as for KP, I'm sure he has a world of followers and well wishers. Anybody who's played a 100 tests has surely entrenched his name in history of cricket.

  • on February 5, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    With power, comes great responsibility, and as you mentioned this phrase to demonize Pietersen here, I would also use the same phrase to condemn the short sightedness of ECB, Cook and Co. in general. He may have had attitude problems but in the end the vision is quiet clear. It is to win. If so, a wise coach and captain would do anything to preserve the gem of talent like him in the squad, no matter what. Instead he finds himself retired, while all the other non-performers (Matt Prior and Cook included) would be given an opportunity to further their careers, just because they had good work ethic.

  • harshthakor on February 10, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Kevin Pieterson was the equivalent of a Viv Richards of modern times.He tore great pace attacks with the ferocity of a tiger and ranked amongst the top match-winning batsmen of his era.Few batsmen posessed Pieterson's range of strokes,power and reflexes.He deserved a test average of above 50 as he played such a crucial role in England's big test match and series victories.One of the best ever batsmen of genuine pace bowling.His aggressive batting could change the complexion of a game 180 degrees.Reminded me a lot of Ted Dexter with his cavalier approach.Arguably Kevin ranked amongst the all-time greats and earned a place amongst the top 100 cricketers of all.Above all an outstanding entertainer.

  • on February 8, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    At natal kp played as a spinner, natal had pat symcoc, SA test spinner and dereck crookes SA odi spinner......what's the quota?great loss for England but please leav the quota system references!!!!

  • MarinManiac on February 7, 2014, 21:43 GMT

    Mark, I can understand your perspective, but is there another explanation here? And that is, that the ECB plan to reinstate Peter Moores as director of cricket? It's not crazy, he's a fine coach, he's English, he's worked with this team before, and clearly can't work with KP.

  • on February 7, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    Those that know what happened at Sydney (and are censored from saying what they know) probably understand why Pietersen had to go. It went further than Botham's antics, Flintoff like a puppy in comparison. About 100 England fans heard the debacle. It was way too loud to be private. It was a frankly disgusting. Cooke was shattered by the end of it. The team physio seemed to be caught in it for a while (and got told where to go). I know people who witnessed it have tried to post what they know here - only to be censored. I can only imagine George Dobell and others who are defending Pietersen are not aware of what went on, what was said, and how it was said. Cooke might not be the showstopper Pietersen is, but his stats stack up, he's a thoroughly decent man, has the respect of his team, he did not deserve to be treated that way. If people knew what happened they would understand that Pietersen HAD to go. No one in that team could play with him again. I hope it all comes out soon!

  • warnerbasher on February 7, 2014, 20:43 GMT

    Its a very sad day for cricket. As an Aussie I sat up all night and watched that innings against South Africa in 2012 at Trent Bridge? and wondered whether a more audacious, brilliant innings had ever been played in the history of the game. One can't help feeling that the English public have lost out big time because of poor management by the support staff and captain. Hope he comes and plays for the Sydney Sixers in the BBL next summer. The SCG will have the 'house full' signs up everytime he plays

  • LateCutR on February 7, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    Managing difficult people! In truth the best method is to get rid of them as early as possible, regardless of how good they are individually. I've made the mistake of trying to manage these types before, because they had talent I thought we were better to keep.

    I was wrong. You don't fully realise how great the negative impact they cause is until they are gone. Suddenly everybody can stop tiptoeing around them and putting effort (and its a lot) into trying to keep them happy. The negative atmosphere disappears. Suddenly the rest of the team will start enjoying cricket (or business) and the team environment again.

    England's mistake was in not doing letting KP go a long time ago.

  • Deuce03 on February 7, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Mark Nicholas is right. At some point you have to stop blaming the people who "failed to manage" Pietersen, and start blaming him for being impossible to manage. It's not just Strauss and Cook who have struggled with him; they've just had the misfortune to encounter him when he was established and powerful. And yes, he had power, because he was one of England's most senior batsman in terms of experience and public support, not to mention his talent. The ECB appointed him captain and he responded by falling out with the team director and trying to get him fired. Strauss and Flower rehabilitated him and were rewarded by being backstabbed in 2012 (not to mention KP's attempt to take the credit for the 2010-11 Ashes). Had it not been for KP, Strauss (one of England's best ever captains in terms of results and a player England have still not replaced) might have stuck around. Cook rehabilitated him again and as a result his other players are jumping ship. KP's had his chances.

  • Spiritofcricket99 on February 7, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    I think it's quite clear he had it coming as Mark Nicholas points out so eloquently. Pietersen was given numerous chances and seemed incapable of reigning in his ego. It's sad to lose such a talent from the Test Match arena, but England have to rebuild after the drubbing they just got handed by Australia. Pietersen is obviously seen as an obstruction to the rebuild, and the team has to come first.

  • duke7nukem on February 7, 2014, 16:53 GMT

    This article comes as a surprise. Its pretty easy to acknowledge from commonplace wisdom that great talent comes with its own whims and fancies and has to be managed, nurtured and handled with care. With power, comes great responsibility is an inappropriate phrase to use in this context as Pieterson was never really instilled any position of power in the team. Cricket is a team sport but not all personalities in the same team need to be alike for a team to succeed. We have an example with the Windies team of the 70's and 80's. Too much undue importance is being put onto ethics and philosophy of life in Cricket these days, without realizing that greats like Pieterson have to sweat out lesses in practice to perfect the art of succeeding at the biggest stage. ECB will surely in time regret their decision and as for KP, I'm sure he has a world of followers and well wishers. Anybody who's played a 100 tests has surely entrenched his name in history of cricket.

  • on February 7, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    a real JOY to watch in the modern game!!!

  • Mehtass on February 7, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    Whatever you are in cricket 11 guys are there and you should be team player. Not fighting and creating scene every now and then. Yes Cook Strauss and others too are at fault as they could not manage the KP as IMRAN KHAN CONTAINED JAVED MIADAD....we all are learner and have to learn from history too as VICTOR HUGO SAID CLEARLY " HISTORY TEACH US EVERYTHING EVEN FUTURE" Hope ECB and COOK party will do best and learn. Yes KP should also learn and move on. Mehtass

  • on February 7, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Very disappointing from Mark Nicholas, I've come to expect better from him. Too many vague assumptions. Too little real analysis. Too much blame apportioned to KP when any fool can see that it's a failure of management. Yes, KP did bring it on himself, because that's who he is. Duh. He's also the best player we've had in 30 years. And as Dobell pointed out in a much, much better piece, he's been at the very front and centre of England's success in past ten years. Put simply, for all that he's given cricket and its fans, he deserved a better solution. And a much better exit.

  • Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on February 7, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Im afraid KP finally got found out, if you bowl a tight line to him and stack the onside he's ego will eventually hit out.

  • Robster1 on February 7, 2014, 13:16 GMT

    Cook will not last as England skipper as he's just not a natural leader and is in charge of a team in decline. KP will of course become bored of incessant, and what will become pointless, T20. AS the writer says, what a crying shame and such a waste.

  • flickspin on February 7, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    i liked the way pietersen played

    surely thier could be a mature response.

    allow pietersen to be him self, and work on unity

    i dont know the person who replaces him will do a better job

    i hope its not the end for him

  • on February 7, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    "Now it seems England have moved him out. There is only one common denominator."

    That England have no trouble in accepting 'outsiders' into their camp; but do have problems, when the outsider does not conform to the understood, and understated, English ways of doing things. You have to be a winner and a nice, modest guy in the process.

  • ramesh28 on February 7, 2014, 11:03 GMT

    If Cook is behind the KP's omission then I think Cook feared of that KP is the one man who will not give him chance to become greatest cricketer of England ever produced. As both competing each other in terms of number of centuries and number of runs..

    KP is much better than Cook in terms of batting technique and batting style. But definitely Indians now enjoy him watching in IPL. His batting is love to watch.

  • on February 7, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    The fact is that you have to be a team player. it is a team game. personalities always come into it but if you don't fit in, then you are up against it no matter how talented you are.

  • ooper_cut on February 7, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    KP will laugh all the way to the bank after this year's IPL auctions while Cook will cook his goose over the next 3 years.

  • Beertjie on February 7, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    Agree entirely with your ironic response, @viriditan (February 6, 2014, 17:48 GMT): "I'm not sure why this article is being commended." Some self-serving elliptical ambiguity masquerading as research It is common knowledge here in South Africa that KP exhibited little sign of batting talent when given the occasional game (as a budding off-spinner), so to endorse without qualification KP's position that "the quota system denied his gifts the exposure he was sure they deserved" is disingenuous if not downright sloppy from someone I know to be extremely knowledgeable about matters South African. Interesting insights into the other two Saffers cited, though. As for KP: the man is undoubtedly a superb, perhaps even great batsman, but when allied to his other qualities, he's so little a team-man as to render that phrase virtually obsolete. Nevertheless, his contribution to the batting of this team will be seriously missed. As an Aus. supporter, though, I won't be complaining!

  • simon_w on February 7, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    Mark Nicholas has it about right here, in my opinion. It's a shame Kev won't be playing for England again, but perhaps we should just be glad we had him as long as we did -- the only surprise is that it lasted this long (longer than he'd managed to stay in any other team environment).

  • arunsubbu on February 7, 2014, 7:48 GMT

    of late teams around the world give much importance to "work ethic" which basically involves attending after match meetings,going to bed early,no party after matches which doesnt work with everyone..maybe KP also feels suffocated coz he cannot relate to this .a la warne..the world's best cricketer King Viv was known to party till the wee hours,and smash the bowlers around the next day.

  • arunsubbu on February 7, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    In a way english cricket got the killer instinct becoz of KP..till then they were thrashed by aussies year after year.pity he is being singled out.cooks captaincy was as much to blame.i dont know why so much imp. is being given to andy flower.

  • jezza65 on February 7, 2014, 5:06 GMT

    Why is Graeme Hick, a Zimbabwean, listed here? Do you cite New Zealand players as examples when discussing Australians' performance?

  • on February 7, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Graeme Swann has stated quite clearly that he's had no problem with Kevin Pietersen since his 'reintegration' into the team. And Alec Stewart is obviously very happy to have him at Surrey. I don't think all the blame should be put on KP.

  • AmissWasGreat on February 7, 2014, 0:24 GMT

    It seems very strange to effectively announce the end of a player's whole international career, rather than to say that he is being dropped or rested. I think it might have happened to Brian Close, but they had to keep calling him back. As someone else said, what happens if Cook is succeeded by another captain, or there are injuries amongst other batsmen?

    One quibble "Of England batsmen since the war only Denis Compton, Ted Dexter and Ian Botham had played with such abandon". Has Mark Nicholas forgotten Colin Milburn? I haven't.

  • Leg-Breaker on February 6, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    Someday down the track, he will wonder why on earth he was so contrary. >> or ECB will wonder why they were so stupid With such management in the "top three" test playing countries - god save cricket !!! By the way questions for you: 1. How did KP become Swann's Achilles heel (or tennis elbow)? 2. Whispers and rumours are unpleasant and destructive. - absolutely agreed and your article contains more whispers and rumours about KP. There is not a single fact that cites any incidents of misbehavior.

  • sitaram58 on February 6, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    Does KP qualify for SA immediately or do the rules require a waiting period. It would put bums on seats if he was included in the SA side next time they play England.

  • cricketcritic on February 6, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    "The end of the project". Not very nice, implies that it was an experiment and the end was never far away. KP might be difficult, but his personality was part of his genius. If a team wants him to be a shrinking violet it says more about them than him. Disappointing article that is high on supposition and light on facts

  • LarryCD on February 6, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    I was under the impression that the 'England Management' were appointed, and substantially rewarded, to do exactly that - manage the ego's as custodians of english talent. If the management are unable to manage the stronger characters within their setup, then are they not the ones without character, ideas or the ability to finesse? Interesting how the Aussies changed their coach after a raft of complaints about the 'characters' within their setup, and achieved a great deal: Michael Clarke has no less of an ego than KP, yet his energies were harvested not resisted - he too brought about the downfall of a coach or two and has polarised the change room on more than one occasion....I would love to read an article that parallels these two cricketers and the very different outcomes....that would be worth reading - this rubrication of KP's flaws is poor and unbalanced!

  • on February 6, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    @200ondebut: regarding Pietersen's fallout with Hampshire, it was his comment that suddenly Hampshire was too far from Chelsea - I think he said something like it was "a question of geography that doesnt work" - which got up peoples noses.

  • viriditan on February 6, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    I'm not sure why this article is being commended.

    "Without KP around, Graeme Swann might still be playing and Andy Flower could still be in charge."

    Er. No. Swann retired for the reasons he has already explained. And has recently made a statement unquivocally supporting Pietersen. As for Flower, if Pietersen's the cause of him no longer being in charge then we really ought to be sending our heartfelt thanks...

  • on February 6, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    let peitersen get the citizenship & play for india...

  • geoffboyc on February 6, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    Pietersen was far from being the only one who got out "without reference to the match situation" during the Ashes series. It also looks and sounds like Ashley Giles is a shoe-in for the vacant Coach role; how else could a decision like this be made without consulting the man who will be running the team in the future. As for Cook's supposedly "him or me" stance, has he scored enough runs in the last eighteen months to justify such a piece of blackmail? And that's before we get on to his captaincy!

  • on February 6, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    great article ....i am a huge fan of Mark Nicholas....

  • on February 6, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    At last an article that refers to the common denominator in all that has gone before. One cannot ignore the ignominious departures from Natal, from Notts (most famously - with his kit thrown off the pavilion balcony) and from Hampshire. That a fine coach in Peter Moores lost his job as a result of him. That Andrew Strauss, one of England's finest captains, quit as a result of him.

    Having a disruptive player in the dressing room is fine if he is contributing regularly and the team is winning. He wasn't, England aren't. I look at how galvanised the Windies appear to be now Lara has gone and Gayle only plays fleetingly. The new England, shorn of the talented but wayward KP, can do the same.

  • Gevelsis on February 6, 2014, 15:06 GMT

    Mark it is very disappointing to see you taking the party line in this affair. This latest chapter has nothing to do with KP's "rebellious streak". Perhaps this was written before you read today's cricinfo! You make far too many assumptions.

    This farcical pantomime is a result of Andy Flower not wanting to admit that his dour personality had been trumped by Lehman's vivacity, or that his dearth of answers to the impending whitewash had undermined team confidence in him. KP spoke the truth at the team meeting, Cook betrayed him, that's what the public row was about. When Flower found out, Cook was in the middle and chose to betray the team as well. No other option at that point especially when he heard that Giles Clarke was galloping into town to erect the scaffolding.

    Perhaps when the truth is more widely known you could write a column containing fewer of the old hack KP cliches, i.e divisive, self-centred, etc. In the end, unfortunately Pietersen was a man amongst boys.

  • on February 6, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    Was KP all that difficult to manage or is it that 'management' in English cricket is interpreted as 'do it my way, don't step out of line, and - whatever you do - do not dare to question the way we do things'. ECB's assertion that they don't need to make any more statements and that we - the paying public - do not deserve any further explanations appears to suggest the latter.

  • on February 6, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    well....apart from the last para..I'm failing to agree with u.. a person can't change his ingrown attitude. .he has to be himself to shine. . that shows the weak character of England management. .. who cannot manage a sublime talent like KP. .remember without KP they couldn't have achieved wat they did in past 8 yrs ...they just want players who say yes to the management. .. that's ridiculous. ..

  • itsthewayuplay on February 6, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    Does this mean KP will be available for the Lord's bicentenary celebrations 50-over match?

  • 200ondebut on February 6, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    It certainly isnt easy being KP - he seems to get the blame for every altercation. Prior to coming to England his altercation was his fault - not the fault of the coach for not giving him the opportunities his burning desire to succeed needed. At Nottingham it was his fault that Gallian threw his kit out the changing room. Gallian from all accounts is just as arrogant and they claim KP is. So on to Hampshire - a county England wouldn't release KP to play for. That issue arose because they wouldnt find a place in his side when he was released (and we should also not forget the ECB were paying his salary not Hampshire.

    What I see is a man who want passionately to be the best - and if he sees others who dont share his desire to win he tells them. The trust always did hurt.

  • nastle on February 6, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    Andy Plowright: hear hear! My sentiments exactly.

  • on February 6, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    Mr Nicholas, this is by far the best single article I've read on Pietersen. No tubthumbing 'The fans have a right to know what happened' gibberish, no hyperbole, just a measured response that takes in both sides of Pietersen superbly. An excellent piece of work.

  • on February 6, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    Well Done to the the COMPANY man Mr Nicohlas, Exactly HOW was Swann retiring KPs fault? I would argue it is the mismanagement by Andy Flower, that is responsible for the fate of swann trott, and as you will see so many more. Fed up of this dictatorial management of world class players who have played for a 100 tests and has an opinion worth listening to rather than silencing them. Maybe the results in OZ would have been better.

  • on February 6, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    Excellent article, well balanced, very well written and I believe very accurate. There will be no spicy twist!

  • its.rachit on February 6, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    So 1 Ashes tour and the English teamhas turned to Ashes ... Trott, Swann, Prior and KP all gone away just like that ... and woth no replacement in sight ... that leaves only 4 players with experience (tho no form wahtsoever) in Cook, Bell, Broad and Anderson ... and 2 years back all the English media was going overboard about how this team would leave a lssting legacy in 2-3 years time ... I guess the odds of them leaving a legacy were 1-12 ...

  • Twenny-Twenny-Knight on February 6, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Oh dear indeed Mark!

    What a mess; Cook won't last as captain after this summer and maybe just maybe there will be the 'spicy twist' alluded to here...

  • on February 6, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Trott, Panesar, Swann, Prior, Rankin, Tremlett, KP...how many more careers demolished by one Australian tour? Trott, Monty, Prior, Rankin, Tremlett may never play for England again, KP sacked, Swann retired.

  • jackiethepen on February 6, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    Mark Nicholas knows nothing about the workings of the England side. He switched his allegiances to Australia and spends his time praising the side ad nauseum. The point is 90 per cent of England fans can't be wrong. They spotted that Flower and Cook were the problem in the Ashes, Flower for his management and Cook for his captaincy. Nicholas seems oblivious of the trail of blunders and management errors which led to England's unsettled side and lack of preparation. Trott's breakdown happened in the first Test which was the start of the slide. Was KP responsible for that? Of course not. Misjudgement did not spot that Trott was not coping. But he was cause for concern in England. Something that seemed to pass Flower and his team by. And so on. The catalogue of mistakes has not been addressed but KP has been sacked. That's how you avoid accountability. Flower wants further work with the ECB. He still backs Cook. Well Cook has a lot to make up for.

  • dwblurb on February 6, 2014, 9:16 GMT

    At last, an article that sees beyond the Pietersen gloss, the ego, the 'box-office' qualities, and says it like it is. A successful team cannot operate with a mole within.

  • on February 6, 2014, 9:11 GMT

    What a waste of page! He's blamed KP for betraying Cook without elaborating. And England are fine with all the rest of them? What about Cook himself? By the end of Ashes, there was not one expert who had anything nice to say about his captaincy. And he carries on? Just because he looks like a "decent" chap? As George Dobell has pointed out in a much more accurate analysis of the KP situation, England seem perfectly fine with underperformance as long as the culprit looks like he's sad about it. Maybe they need to learn how to go about it from Australia.

  • on February 6, 2014, 8:47 GMT

    Make Kevin Pietersen India's coach i say...India deserves such personality !!! swashbuckling ,bold and full of attitude !!! he will bring what all the coaches were not able to bring to the table !!! hail KP !! he is cricket martyr in my eyes !!! Cheers from India !!!

  • on February 6, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    I hope KP puts all these speculations to rest by writing a book soon :-)

  • u_guys_are_history on February 6, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    And where does the author come off with "Without KP around, Graeme Swann might still be playing and Andy Flower could still be in charge. " What absolute rot. Mark has ranted on and on about KP's disruptive behavior while conceding that he doesn't have a clue about whats really happening. The entire article is based on a mountain of assumptions. what a waste of internet space and reader time.

  • u_guys_are_history on February 6, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    This article is a waste of time. Poor stuff from Mark, Puts all the blame squarely on KP while admitting to having no clue whatsoever on what actually happened. The authors rants on about KP's behavior and ends with "Whispers and rumours are unpleasant and destructive."..."if that is what was happening of course" Absolute rot.

  • on February 6, 2014, 6:26 GMT

    Pathetic to say KP bought it upon himself and he alone is responsible. Surely, he wasn't the only member to be not liked by his team mates. You find a way, that is managers job. Surely he did his part on field. For Eng team, the off field is becoming more important than on field. They achieved most of their important wins with him playing the turn around innings.

  • Andre117 on February 6, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    I was a big fan of Pietersen until he started mouthing off at South Africa. When he left to go to England he was a spinner who could bat and his FC stats was nothing to write home about. Since he left a number of white players have joined the Proteas and with a little bit of patience KP could have made his debut for South Africa at age 22 or 23 rather than for England at age 25. Quinton de Kock at age 21 could so easily do the same thing (leave SA) because of the Tsolekile debacle but he's biding his time and playing cricket like he was born to it. His test debut might not be against Australia this month, but it is inevitable. Even though I'm not a Pietersen fan I'm sad to see him go under this circumstances.

  • Bones87 on February 6, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    We'll never know why until someone writes a book, the ECB couldn't even say KP was finished if you go by pure wording... it's pathetic.

  • on February 6, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Horrible article. No Facts. People talking about KP's form dropping over the last few seasons. I would just like to mention that in 2012 just before his exile from international cricket, KP scored 2 match winning hundreds against Pakistan in the UAE where every other English batsman, apart from Cook, struggled to get going. He scored 149 vs South Africa, to dig England out of a serious hole. I must also mention the pulverizing manner in which he treated the best bowling attack in the world. KP scored 219 runs in 2 matches, at a strike rate of 70+. He doesn't just score runs, he scores them at a decisive rate. His 186 vs. India at Mohali on one of the the most difficult turners was sublime. It also came at a strike rate of 80, which put a lot more time into the game. He had one lean series vs Australia, but was still the highest scorer for England. Regarding the rash shots he played; all I would say is that Cook got out leaving two straight balls and Bell twice to Smith. Manage KP!

  • shanks1967 on February 6, 2014, 5:19 GMT

    What is life without a little passion and rebellion. I think Cook and Flower being strong conformists and without a nerve of adventure would obviously hate such a personality like KP in their midst. I have seen many gems from him in IPL but the top knock was in the test against India where he single handedly took the game away. He is a fan's player. Cricket definitely lost something special here. Ultimately he would have to go but I feel it is atleast 2 or 3 years earlier from his time. My feelings go out to the English fans. You can find 10 Cook like Grinders and 10 Trotts who will just stay in the crease but you are not going to find a KP for a long time. Just remember Botham, after who there was no cricketer who went on to achieve a consistent tag of match winner. That is what England must think and rue about.

  • krik8crazy on February 6, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    One ill planned tour which ended in defeat and English cricket is imploding like there is no tomorrow. Unbelievable! Champion sides bounce back from adversity. They don't pout and sulk and throw out their players. KP is being portrayed as such a villain that one would think he committed some serious crime. Tell the world the reasons that led to his ouster.

  • Clyde on February 6, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    The article says more than anything that cricket is suffering from the notion that things can be kept quiet or even that libel laws tend to keep them quiet. If the public has an interest in the selection or non-selection of KP, then it has an interest in the reasons why. Writers can't have it both ways: if they allude to misdoings they will also have to give chapter and verse. To be as generous as possible, let us say that no doubt polite inquiries are being made, or writers are taking time to work out how to give answers in the most judicious and most satisfying ways.

  • Arslan_Javed on February 6, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    its almost 100 of columns here and there about KP after Andrew Strauss incidence , all praising his skills and stuff he got , ECB let Peter Moores, Andrew Strauss and Flower go for sake of him and then sack him and abandoned him altogether. yet no body explained clearly whats the real problem is. why they kept him for all so called problems before and why they are doing it just for getting out the way coaches dont want him to. yet he is the leading scoring player of the series. confusing.........

  • Cricket_theBestGame on February 6, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    disappointing from you mark nicolas. surly KP bad unmanageable behavior would've come to the fore in the long 2+months he was here? the main issue probably was KP and flower power! flower with his methods and success became a coaching dictator. its been well written how players went into their shell and looked scared..well 5-0 test, 4-1 odi and 3-0 t20 drubbing would certainly prove that!

    KP is made scape goat. couldn't a staff of 20 backroom people a powerful captain and coach and more powerful and shameful ECB curb KP and brought him back line? please give me a break...you want england to win again, fire the 20 staff plus this cricket director nonsense, remove flower from ecb setup and change the captain...wanna start afresh, start with coach and captain not KP!

  • judeye on February 6, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    We'll not get the truth from Cook or the ECB and this is the closest to the truth we'll ever come... until KP writes his book. Excellent piece Mark, thank you.

  • on February 6, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    He clearly has no one but himself to blame what he did, "if that is what was happening of course." Brilliant stuff.

  • on February 6, 2014, 1:53 GMT

    These endless commentator articles waxing lyrical about the end of Pietersen are getting boring. It's all just speculation and until someone in the ECB or Pietersen himself actually comes out with the truth then its wasted reading time.

  • Sir_Francis on February 6, 2014, 0:24 GMT

    Nothing but hearsay so far. Until facts emerge please don't write anything.

  • on February 5, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    It happens and life moves on. Cricket didn't stop when Warne retired nor when Murali called it a day or when Lara and Richards left the game.For cricket to EVOLVE these jarring hits have to happen and now to the cliche " the game is bigger than the individual. RIP KP

  • anuradea on February 5, 2014, 21:56 GMT

    Mark, It is just weak leadership and management. Look at the way Michael Clarke and the Aussie management turned around Shane Watson. Not long ago they were talking about cancers in the team and how the strong leadership of Clarke cured it without removing it just by radiation only. Paul is talking about rebuilding, But with what??? With ROOT and STOKE??? I doubt it. As you have said it yourself, KP is the biggest draw and it will NOT serve English cricket by removing it. As it is they are finding difficult get 100 people watching county games and soon it will be the same with England matches. It will be like watching a James bond movie without James Bond, or dollar movies without Clint Eastwood. As you have said I really hope a KP man will take over and KP will be back for English crickets sake. Whoever takes over will have to be respected by KP and thats the only way you can extract the best out of these geniuses, If you don'd believe me just ask Botham,Sobers or the 70's WI team.

  • LiamWilson on February 5, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    In the corporate world there are a breed which I call blame shifters. They are the weak, spineless individuals with no concience. They are sociopaths who whenever anything goes wrong, will quickly shift the blame to someone else. What they also do is shamelessly take the credit for others' achievements. These people tend to progress rapidly up the corporate ladder but they always get found out sooner or later. The England set-up (or what's left of it) seem to be of similar mould. A tour has gone horribly wrong and they needed someone to blame in order to save their own skins. Kevin Pieterson is a convenient scapegoat. Someone who speaks his mind; someone who doesn't like it when the emperor is running around naked while all around him are praising him for his wonderful taste in clothe; an outsider. His accusers had better hope they improve immeasurably else they, just like the corporate sociopaths will be found out sooner rather than later.

  • on February 5, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    to barriewalker:

    no that was the South African captain Graeme Smith. the destroyer of England captains! :-)

  • Brosley1 on February 5, 2014, 19:50 GMT

    Terrible article full of speculation.... As George Dobell says, the ECB couldn't run a bath let alone an International cricket team. Get your facts straight before publishing please.

  • on February 5, 2014, 18:51 GMT

    There was a time when Pietersen was a great player. In his first 8 seasons of Test cricket he averaged over 50 in 6 of them. Since then, and since the fiasco of his captaincy, he has played for 10 seasons and averaged over 50 in three of them. Over the last year he averages 33 in Tests. Something went wrong along the way, whether it be the captaincy thing, the issue with left-arm spin, the repeated fallings out with everyone in England or just getting old. Barring a big turn around in his form I don't see his loss having a huge impact on England's fortunes. That said, I'd love to see him score a shed load of runs for Surrey, rediscover the batsman he was 5 years ago and force his way in to the side against India.

  • rizwan1981 on February 5, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    The last para says it all - Without KP , the English team is BORING and DULL - At least if Swann was around , there would have been a little bit of banter and lip.

    I doubt any one bar Bradman , Lara and Viv Richards ( VVS Laxman and Dravid to a lesser extent) have played as many match winning knocks as KP.

    Its the end of the golden age- Freddie, KP , Swann do not have any replacements.

    England has KILLED THE GOLDEN GOOSE !

  • on February 5, 2014, 18:38 GMT

    Cook must be gone not kp. Cook good for nothing. May be good for cook food now.

  • on February 5, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    If Cook said 'It's him or me', then he should have gone himself. He's a clueless captain and a one-dimensional batsman who has now been permanently found out.

    Pietersen has the best cricket brain in England, and is the greatest improviser of all English batsmen, and therefore one with the skills to adapt his game to any bowling attack, something which is impossible for a time-server like Cook.

    If Cook had put that choice o an audience of England fans, he'd have been out of that room before you could day 'Thrown in the Thames'.

  • godshand on February 5, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    KP - I am sure IPL will give you the platform to show the ECB what blunder they have done by making you the scapegoat.

  • Webba84 on February 5, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    I understand your point of view Mark, but cannot agree with you without more information. There is nothing to be seen from the outside that KP was anything but a team player during the Aus tour. The last 3 matches especially, he not only played better but played more responsibly than all his teammates. It is not, cannot be, the onfield performances, nor the way he trains or helps other players in training. What then, is going on? Why are the ECB so afraid to tell us?

  • on February 5, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    After i learnt that KP was no longer a part of the England team i went and looked through some of his old archives. In the match in Headingly where he scored 147 against SA, he swatted Steyn down the ground like he was an off spinner. He was just awesome. He was a true genius by his own right.

  • dozydoc4630 on February 5, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    Given KPs' history of problems with almost every dispensation he has been with for any length of time, there must be more to this than meets the eye. It is probably telling that the one place where he seemed truly at peace to express himself was in the IPL with Delhi Daredevils. That management team led by Virender Sehwag allowed him to be himself. He lived larger than life and scored runs by the truckload. He smilingly honored all sponsor commitments and even found time to tutor the young Delhi boys on the pressures of the international game. Guess it took one unorthodox genius to understand another.Also walked over to my 10 year old nephew and corrected his stance and grip on the outside practice nets of the Kotla while on his training run. Promised him a signed shirt and it duly arrived 3 weeks later.

  • on February 5, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    without knowing what had happened, it is very speculative to put all the blame on him. if the article about one man, he would be the common denominator. Having said it all, as a fan I dont care what happens behind the scenes. Whatever I had seen, he had played his best and given his best - thats all one could ask for.

  • steve48 on February 5, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Yes, we need details. Probably won't get them in any official manner. The big question for me is, has he gone because England are better off without him, or because Cook is? He played some amazingly irresponsible shots in the Ashes, was he petulant in being criticized for them? Does he undermine junior players and newcomers to the team? If he was undermining Cook, well from watching the matches he wasn't alone; who exactly does set the fields for England? You see, my problem is that even if he is a pain, how exactly does he make others play worse? I have played a lot of amateur team sports, and there is always a prat, but if the prat can play, you put up with it; a clique of prats is another story. Lastly, it is a cheap shot from the normally elegant mr. Nicholas to blame kp for swanny retiring. Did he make Trotty depressed too? And as for the South African slant, is the real problem the way non English players are treated, by the media and whoever else that is the problem?

  • barriewalker on February 5, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    Can anybody tell me whether - as I have always imagined - the Kevin Petersen affair was directly responsible for Andrew Strauss retiring from first-class cricket?

  • on February 5, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    For all we know, he was impossible off the pitch in Australia. But he was clearly also impossible on it. His arrogant decisions to "take on the field" wherever it was placed for him (long-on, or mid-wicket according to taste) must have been intolerably grating for team management, and for team members. If it has been agreed that the challenge is to bat time, to save the match, and he holes out at long-on going for a needless maximum, that is a flagrant breach of team strategy. It says to the others, I will play only on my own terms, and hang the game situation. In a team game, having a player who is so self-centred corrodes the ability of others to play the strategy, and they all hang separately, rather than together. Good decision.

  • on February 5, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    Yesterday saw another example as to why England's major professional team sports enjoy such brief moments as the world's best. Just as in Football and Rugby Union, political face-fitting has taken precedent over pure sporting talent. The journeyman triumphs over the maverick. It seems to be a particularly English trait to suspect the individual that speaks out, to query a different style, to caution against expression. Mark makes an interesting observation on the generally 'up and at em' Southern African way as opposed to the traditional English caution...and don''t forget Dear Readers that Mark was at the forefront of the Hampshire effort to sign Pietersen only to see him play a mere handful of games for the county...there's still an agenda here. As a Surrey member I can look forward to the occasional treat from a truly world class player, but as an England fan I can only shake my head...The Dour Musketeers Cook, Whittaker, Downton & Giles have run through D'Artagnian.

  • on February 5, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    RIP English cricket. You will regret this decision come 2015 when the Aussies wipe your face with the Ashes urn in England.

  • Akhter786 on February 5, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    If u can not manage a rarest of rare finds like KP, a proven match winner, then the hell with your managing skills. ECB has always been unfair to him. Yes, he was the one who would not gel too much with the others but thatz y he was OUTSTANDING, he was not a circus Clown to be controlled by ring masters of ECB. English cricket is a hell of mediocrity. And with his departure there will be hardly any neutral fan supporting or hoping n praying for English win.

    English Cricket-it is the beginning of rot.

  • on February 5, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    Top article Mark. KP was & I guess still is, one of my all time favorites. As you and Michael Vaughan have said, we need some answers - sacking one of England's greatest ever batsmen while he still has plenty of runs in him seems, on face value, totally insane! What has gone on in that dressing room that makes him so unmanagable?

  • dunger.bob on February 5, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    I'm right on board with those who say they'd love to know the full story but we might have to wait for the book. It doesn't look as though the ECB is too keen to elaborate and I haven't heard anything from Pietersen himself yet.

    I'm trying to keep an open mind but it's difficult. It is a bit hard to believe relations could have sunk that low but things tend to get magnified when you're thousands of miles from home and copping a hiding. I think it's either a monumental knee-jerk they'll regret inside a month or it's a gutsy hard nosed cricket decision that 'll turn out to be the right one in the end. I have no idea which one it is though.

  • cloudmess on February 5, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    How exactly did he become 'unmanageable'? He stuck the series out to the end, unlike one or two others, and top-scored in both innings at Melbourne (the one test in which England were briefly competitive). I'm sorry, but we need some hard facts about what exactly it was that KP was doing in the dressing-room which was so terrible and shocking.

  • Akhter786 on February 5, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    And from now on my remote likeness of England team is gone now. RIP english cricket. I pray you get thrashed all way around in all your future endeavors. KP u will always b the best English batsman and true legend who stood against the 10,000 BC royal system. Good luck

  • riaz.m on February 5, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    KP was lucky to get away with his "provocative texts"in 2012. But his demise is not unique,consider Michael Slater whose career was over at 31, Dean Jones, Vinod Kambli in India career over at 25( ?) NZ Glenn Turner lost many good years due to differences with management, Boycott himself was out of England team for years and there is Jess Ryder just making his "comeback" after many issues. What a loss he has been to NZ cricket, so I will not be crying for KP.....my only gripe is he without him I got nothing to write about now.!!

  • peterhrt on February 5, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    Most comments have supported Pietersen but they are from fans, not those in the know charged with making decisions. For all his public charm and exemplary on-field image, teammates seem never to have enjoyed playing with Pietersen any more than they did with Boycott. That must adversely affect morale and team performance, especially during a long tour. Until his insubordination hit a new low with the texting episode, the quality of Pietersen's batting and his runs against strong attacks had outweighed other considerations. He was only reinstated because a new captain faced difficult series in India then back-to-back against Australia. Those three series have passed, Pietersen's behaviour doesn't appear to have changed, and his runs are drying up. It seems the right time for him to go off to the IPL. Where does he rank among England's greatest batsmen? Behind Grace, Hobbs, Hammond and Hutton. But certainly in the next tier, on a par with Compton and another adopted Englishman, Ranji.

  • amitgarg78 on February 5, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Disappointing but hardly surprising. ECB have never come across as fair or transparent in the matters involving KP. For all his flaws, I want ECB to come clean and clearly outline what team ethic they are referring to. He wasn't the only one who got out playing daft strokes. Skipper, bell, Trott, prior too were equally guilty of not playing according to the situation. Planning for future they say... Well chuck Bell out too. Hardly an year between him and the despicable one. That he's never set world on fire despite his talents is besides the point. It's a good thing ECB are keen on the "no relegation" clause in the revamp. They are likely to head down in the rankings.

  • on February 5, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    As a teenage boy I would spend hours hanging around at Northlands Road, not just during the Sunday League matches, the County matches but at the friendlies and even during the winter. I would hope to catch a glimpse of my heroes, even have a quick chat with them, men like RA Smith, VP Terry, DA Gower, MD Marshall and of course, MCJ Nicholas. At my school we were even lucky enough to have Paul Terry come in and coach us for 8 weeks, it was awesome. I wonder if I had been that boy later on in time and had hung around hoping for a few words with KP, a few tips on where I should stand or my head position, if he would have been kind enough to indulge me in the way that the gentlemen I mention above did? Or in person is he not the fan favourite that his Twitter account implies and our Indian friends seem to think that he is, would he have been humble enough to spend 10 minutes telling me to keep working at it? I get the impression he would not have, unless I told him he was a genius first.

  • on February 5, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    Equally, it is daft to say that his shot selection in Australia could be excused by the tactics of counter-attack. With power comes responsibility and too often - in four of the five Tests, come to think of it - Pietersen perished without reference to the situation in which the team found itself. ==========================

    And yet, one of the chief criticisms of England'sbatsmen, were that they were too passive, scored too slowly, allowed the bowlers to settle into a groove, to let them bowl how they wanted to. Yes, the shot selection was flawed, but is it really fair to criticise the one batsman who tried to not be strangled to death by the bowlign attack?

  • samincolumbia on February 5, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    A genius such as KP found himself suffocating in an ocean of of mediocrity, that is the England team. It's as simple as that.

  • SA_Scot on February 5, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    Pietersen apologists, is there nothing this man can do that justifies his exclusion? He certainly didn't score runs in Oz, but I'm the first to admit this is not the overriding reasoning behind leaving him out.

    I certainly don't believe that his contributions amount as much as the demoralising impact of his presence on the other 10 players. A sombre, edgy dressing room does not a happy one make. This is a team sport remember, you have responsibilities! Times have changed, and in this day and age I don't believe mavericks are as tolerated as decades ago...nor should they be if divisive.

    I'll bet anything that he has had more to do with declining individual performances that anything else. How many more chances can you give one person.

    Individuals HAVE a shelf life, and his has been reached.

    Raising people up to the level of deity is NOT how civilisation is going to move forward. Raising everyone ELSE up to higher standards is how you improve the world!

  • on February 5, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    If England lost aussies series because of KP, then the whole selectors including capt should be sacked. There is no way, one person can win or lose a cricket game..

  • pom_don on February 5, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    A lot of assumptions here Mark 'him or me' for one.......or do you know all of the true facts, I can think of at least half a dozen world sporting greats who 'did not fit in' for their entire careers but they all completed their careers to the full, I still maintain that man management in the England camp is pretty damn poor.

  • groggyme on February 5, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    This is really really ridiculous..You can't just end a players career and someone who has performed outstandingly well for so long without disclosing the reasons..Making KP the scapegoat is just right. Many great teams have had mavericks / enigma's like KP ..it is the handling of such players by the team management and giving them enough breathing space is what helps a good team great. It's clearly a leadership /management failure rather than the players..BOOOOO ECB

  • on February 5, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    I'm normally a big fan of your writing Mark, but I lost interest readying only the first paragraph, yes he's a unique personality, but a player like him should just be managed better, there are always going to be individuals in cricket because of the type of game it is, I can kind of understand dropping him from the test team, but saying we're trying to build a new team from now on when the T20 world cup is around the corner is just foolish, he's one of the best T20 players in the world & saying you want to build a team when a competition like that is obviously hiding the truth, the England fans deserve better than how the ECB have gone about it, even as an Aussie, I feel sorry for Pietersen!

  • Narkovian on February 5, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Yes, Mr Nicholas. You just about nailed it completely. To all those KP apologists, I would just repeat " There is only one common denominator" in all his "fallings out". Yes it will be less "interesting" to watch ENG Tests for a year or two. We'll get over it PDQ. Anyone who has played in a team environment at any level will have met characters like KP. They don't last long and soon get the message and disappear. And everyone is glad to see them go... no difference with KP, no matter how good he is. Amazed it took so long.

  • screamingeagle on February 5, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    A waste. I feel it is as much of a failure of Cook and Flower as would be of Pietersen. Too bad for England and world cricket. IPL guys wuld be happy and I sense probably the centre figure as well. :)

  • Nasir-Dubai on February 5, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Mark Thank you for the above. Its an interesting perspective on someone who was always an outsider. Although England's loss, its a bitter pill which needed to be swallowed.

    BTW - I have always enjoyed your perspective during Test commentaries - very keen to hear your view on the ICC revamp!

  • 51n15t9r on February 5, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Quick question .. Can India adopt him now ? Make a Best World XI for the past 7-8 years, and something would be wrong with your wiring if you don't have him in the team. Teams have characters. India had a loud Harbhajan and an arrogant Sehwag and quarrelsome Gambhir and see where they are now. Man-management means get the best of your players till they perform. Right now, none of the three are performing and hence are out of the team. In their best days, inspite of the way they were, they were a part of the team and gave their best all the time. I feel Pietersen has a LOT to offer to cricket (just listening to him during commentary, you learn a lot). This is a really unfortunate incident and I hope they realize their mistake.

  • 51n15t9r on February 5, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Quick question .. Can India adopt him now ? Make a Best World XI for the past 7-8 years, and something would be wrong with your wiring if you don't have him in the team. Teams have characters. India had a loud Harbhajan and an arrogant Sehwag and quarrelsome Gambhir and see where they are now. Man-management means get the best of your players till they perform. Right now, none of the three are performing and hence are out of the team. In their best days, inspite of the way they were, they were a part of the team and gave their best all the time. I feel Pietersen has a LOT to offer to cricket (just listening to him during commentary, you learn a lot). This is a really unfortunate incident and I hope they realize their mistake.

  • Nasir-Dubai on February 5, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    Mark Thank you for the above. Its an interesting perspective on someone who was always an outsider. Although England's loss, its a bitter pill which needed to be swallowed.

    BTW - I have always enjoyed your perspective during Test commentaries - very keen to hear your view on the ICC revamp!

  • screamingeagle on February 5, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    A waste. I feel it is as much of a failure of Cook and Flower as would be of Pietersen. Too bad for England and world cricket. IPL guys wuld be happy and I sense probably the centre figure as well. :)

  • Narkovian on February 5, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Yes, Mr Nicholas. You just about nailed it completely. To all those KP apologists, I would just repeat " There is only one common denominator" in all his "fallings out". Yes it will be less "interesting" to watch ENG Tests for a year or two. We'll get over it PDQ. Anyone who has played in a team environment at any level will have met characters like KP. They don't last long and soon get the message and disappear. And everyone is glad to see them go... no difference with KP, no matter how good he is. Amazed it took so long.

  • on February 5, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    I'm normally a big fan of your writing Mark, but I lost interest readying only the first paragraph, yes he's a unique personality, but a player like him should just be managed better, there are always going to be individuals in cricket because of the type of game it is, I can kind of understand dropping him from the test team, but saying we're trying to build a new team from now on when the T20 world cup is around the corner is just foolish, he's one of the best T20 players in the world & saying you want to build a team when a competition like that is obviously hiding the truth, the England fans deserve better than how the ECB have gone about it, even as an Aussie, I feel sorry for Pietersen!

  • groggyme on February 5, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    This is really really ridiculous..You can't just end a players career and someone who has performed outstandingly well for so long without disclosing the reasons..Making KP the scapegoat is just right. Many great teams have had mavericks / enigma's like KP ..it is the handling of such players by the team management and giving them enough breathing space is what helps a good team great. It's clearly a leadership /management failure rather than the players..BOOOOO ECB

  • pom_don on February 5, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    A lot of assumptions here Mark 'him or me' for one.......or do you know all of the true facts, I can think of at least half a dozen world sporting greats who 'did not fit in' for their entire careers but they all completed their careers to the full, I still maintain that man management in the England camp is pretty damn poor.

  • on February 5, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    If England lost aussies series because of KP, then the whole selectors including capt should be sacked. There is no way, one person can win or lose a cricket game..

  • SA_Scot on February 5, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    Pietersen apologists, is there nothing this man can do that justifies his exclusion? He certainly didn't score runs in Oz, but I'm the first to admit this is not the overriding reasoning behind leaving him out.

    I certainly don't believe that his contributions amount as much as the demoralising impact of his presence on the other 10 players. A sombre, edgy dressing room does not a happy one make. This is a team sport remember, you have responsibilities! Times have changed, and in this day and age I don't believe mavericks are as tolerated as decades ago...nor should they be if divisive.

    I'll bet anything that he has had more to do with declining individual performances that anything else. How many more chances can you give one person.

    Individuals HAVE a shelf life, and his has been reached.

    Raising people up to the level of deity is NOT how civilisation is going to move forward. Raising everyone ELSE up to higher standards is how you improve the world!

  • samincolumbia on February 5, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    A genius such as KP found himself suffocating in an ocean of of mediocrity, that is the England team. It's as simple as that.