Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Was Pietersen outspoken or insubordinate?

Did England sack him because he thought differently from his captain and coach or because he was a disruptive force in the dressing room?

Ian Chappell

February 9, 2014

Comments: 82 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook, Andy Flower and Kevin Pietersen in discussions ahead of the first ODI, Dambulla, September 30, 2007
Was sacking Pietersen just the easy way out for England? © AFP

Was Kevin Pietersen eventually sacked because he disagreed with aspects of Alastair Cook's captaincy? Any English player who wasn't exasperated by some of Cook's captaincy in Australia deserves to be demoted.

Is it better for England to cut Pietersen adrift and choose a player who is more compliant, or is it just easier? There's no doubt that working on a difficult relationship takes a lot of time and effort, but sometimes that's what good leadership entails. So was Pietersen unmanageable, or should questions be asked about the way modern cricket teams are run?

What I do know is that when selecting a cricket team, it's performing not conforming that counts. A selector only has to ask himself if a player can get him a hundred or take five wickets.

There's no doubt Pietersen is still capable of scoring Test centuries, so he must have been sacked for reasons other than cricket ability. That's another thing about selection: likes and dislikes shouldn't enter the discussion. A player should be chosen on merit and then it's up to the captain to sort out any personality clashes and ensure there's a degree of harmony in the team. That doesn't mean everyone has to be in agreement with the captain; a bunch of yes men won't help a team win.

Players who question the way things are done actually help the captain. Firstly, the skipper can learn from the way others think, and secondly, the argumentative players off the field are usually the last ones to concede defeat on it. While cricket is a team game, it's played by individuals. A captain can't expect a player to be an individual expressing his talent on the field and then demand that off it he be subservient. Occasionally a captain has to live with the consequences of individuality, whether it be on the field or off it.

That said, a captain can only put up with so much and if individuality turns into insubordination then he has to act. A captain should do all in his power to inform the individual he's wanted in the team but the player has to be prepared to compromise. If, after exhausting all avenues, a player won't compromise and is a disruptive force, then it's time to cut him loose, even if he can score a century or take five wickets.

Had it reached that point with Pietersen?

There's a theory that Pietersen vented his feelings about the operating style of coach Andy Flower. If so, it wouldn't be the first time Pietersen had expressed a strong opinion about a coach. He was sacked as captain for speaking out against Peter Moores when he had the England job.

Doesn't Pietersen speaking out show he cares?

The priority should be appointing the right captain. Then you worry about choosing the coach. If Pietersen was considered the best man to captain England, surely he deserved the right to have a say in who was coach?

Nowadays players are outnumbered by the support staff, who all have a say in team affairs. In matters affecting team spirit, it's best if the captain alone deals directly with the players. The more personalities that become involved, the greater the chance of likes and dislikes playing a part in the selection process.

The captain - if he knows what's good for him - has a vested interest in having the best players in the team, as all the wins and losses go against his name.

The England hierarchy makes a big thing of "team culture". Selectors can pick players of good character but team "culture" can't be manufactured, it has to evolve through strong leadership and natural friendships. Character only comes into selection when two players are even in ability. Otherwise, picking the best player is the wisest choice.

Cook took such a battering from Michael Clarke and his team, I believe that if he's opposed by the same captain in 2015 he'll be too mentally scarred to regain the Ashes. And England certainly won't beat Australia if they don't pick their strongest team.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

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Posted by cricketsubh on (February 12, 2014, 3:39 GMT)

i do not think england can beat aus in 2015 ashes with kp.swan.trot out new player need time i do not think england can build a team in 1.5 years young players need time to sattel eng need to think about build a team for future not for the ashes in 2015 and also they need bud young batsmen root is a gud batsmen but eng need more young batsmen .

Posted by cricket-india on (February 10, 2014, 15:35 GMT)

india had kapil and gavaskar who had their own issues with each other but still played togethr for india and achieved their own deserved places in cricketing history. pak had imran and miandad who never really got along but still won pak the world cup and much more. buchanan was highly rated as coach not just because he won matches but because he man-manages such diverse and strong-willed prsonalities as warne, ponting, mcgrath and the waughs - and this is also why flower will be consigned to the dustbin of history as the coach who let his own insecurities with kp take over his team's interests.

Posted by   on (February 10, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

According to KP's own team mates he was so committed and behaved very well devoid any controversy in the Australian tour.As Vaughn pointed though he was a senior player, was always seen in boundary lines without any involvement in any of game plans. It is the stupid mind set of the Coach and the Captain which must be condemned for this fiasco in management.What a poor management style !!!

Posted by christoph20 on (February 10, 2014, 12:46 GMT)

After flogging Australia for so long, when the English arrived in Oz, you could see something was wrong. For Trott and then Swann to jump ship shows that the team morale was wrong. As cricket is 90% a mind game, they were easy picking for an average Australian side. KP by the sounds, was part of the problem. It should be lesson for Cook and he has some pretty good kids there to fill KP's spot.

Posted by riprock on (February 10, 2014, 12:18 GMT)

Gear up for a high profile T20 freelancer! Sometimes talent is a good enough reason to avoid sacking. And also for the sake of the game, its popularity and your own dodgy batting line up..its an unfortunate decision, ECB

Posted by aativas on (February 10, 2014, 11:23 GMT)

There was never a question of capability of KP; he was fantastic. However, by his attitude, he destroyed his career. I don't blame the administration, sometimes it is not worth having a player with capabilities - for non-cricketing reasons. I feel sad for KP, but he has to blame himself.

Posted by shabmost on (February 10, 2014, 8:45 GMT)

Thanks Yan, for this insightful article and speaking my mind on this KP matter. I am surprised none of the Cricketing pundits actually using the fantastic example of how Shane Warne. He was a maverick, a distinctive individual, often involved in controversies, and a constant management challenge. However, none here in Australia ever thought of cutting short Warne's wonderful career because he was "kinda hard" to deal with. I am sure there were many people who did not like him personally, but still respected him for his match winning capabilities and fresh ideas. Warne and KP are very similar in their cricketing intelligence, manners on and off the field, and their ability to think outside the square. No wonder they are friends, and one being the mentor of another. ECB has no right to deprive us, the followers of the great game of Cricket, from the pleasure of watching KP in action at a packed stadium.

Posted by chillu_chillu on (February 10, 2014, 6:20 GMT)

More than anything selectors need to handle ego of the players. No doubt KP is a class act, you seldom get such players who play on the minds of the bowlers. Richards,haydos,sehwag to name a few. KP is on that list. For years indian selectors handled the ego of ganguly. English selectors must put the game first and egos's later.

Posted by   on (February 10, 2014, 4:36 GMT)

Ian has made a potpourri of observations in trying to pin point Pietrsonn's ouster. The track record shows Pieterson was down right arrogant and insubordinate; where is the question of speculation. Pieterson was critical of Andrew Strauss, the erstwhile coaches and now Cook. He certainly is not a team man, though he may still wield the willow in the T20s/IPL.that is a different brand of cricket where individuals are capable of carrying the team single handedly to win; not in longer forms of cricket; where the team spirit and performance count more than the individual. All said and done, discipline is not negotiable in any sport.

Posted by Sreerang on (February 10, 2014, 3:05 GMT)

England used Peterson and now that he is aging have discarded him. Simple as that. They took him during his best years. They took him to India when they knew they needed him even though there was the 'texting' problem. Now suddenly he is unmanageable! That is how it looks from outside.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (February 10, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

Only matchwinners should be picked. Pietersen was undoubtedly the greatest match-winning batsman playing today, and by dropping him, England is showing its defensive mindset.

Posted by   on (February 10, 2014, 1:56 GMT)

Not often i agree with IC but boy, has he got that right. How can any team, especially one travelling so badly, dream of dropping their best batsman since Gower? Love Cook as a person and a player but as captain his lack of aggression in the first 4 tests when England were on top eventually cost the match.Bring back KP, Broad for skipper and Cooky concentrate on opening.

Posted by phermon on (February 10, 2014, 1:19 GMT)

haq33 - perhaps Surrey manage him because he's never there ;-} I still think Cook's captaincy on the field has deteriorated progressively since he took over - probably reflects a failure to understand what's going on off the field too - and Pietersen has been made the scapegoat for that. Mind you - I wouldn't want to have to captain him any more than I'd be prepared to have me in my own side

Posted by AidanFX on (February 10, 2014, 1:06 GMT)

I don't know about the whole KP - aspects I feel like ECB are being children. On the other hand, KP has caused disruption from outset which included slandering his team quietly to the opposition, from that point on he lost a lot of trust and was working over time to get it back. Maybe he has been treated harshly as a result of that. I think the administration have made some serious blunders though.

Posted by   on (February 10, 2014, 0:13 GMT)

I have read that Cricket, is a gentleman's game. Where is that going in the current form of Cricket, it is all about media, favoritism, captain's pet, captain talk, team manager's selection. I am fan of KP, he has been the reason for England reaching to No. 1 Status. I agree with Ian Chappel, as he writes "What I do know is that when selecting a cricket team, it's performing not conforming that counts. A selector only has to ask himself if a player can get him a hundred or take five wickets."

By all means on the merits of Cricket as a Sport, KP can be rated as the most entertaining batsman in the world, his presence in the team makes a lot of difference for the opposition. KP has anyhow won this battle of dropping him from the side as you can see the healthy tweets, and discussion for him. He is an independent player with some extraordinary and rare talent which the England Team Management cannot manage and handle. If they have to manage him it would cost them their egos.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 23:53 GMT)

Ian and Greg Chappell are very good commentators of cricket. Ian Chappell's comments on Kevin Peterson is praiseworthy. A man who has played well and scored centuries consistent and an indispensable to the team is sacked. It is shame to England and its selectors

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

You know the old saying 'A bad workman blames his tools' and I think in this situation 'Bad Management blame their players' and sadly it seems KP has been made the scapegoat. Ian hit the nail on the head here by saying that team culture cant be manufactured; which seems to be what the ECB are doing! bizarre times ahead for England indeed.

Posted by WoundedSplinter on (February 9, 2014, 21:45 GMT)

Yo, Ian!

Yo. That is all. If you and Boycott and several other people who have The Game to heart think this way, then Yo! Let it be so.

The alternative is shameful.

Posted by Cubey on (February 9, 2014, 21:43 GMT)

Well said, Ian. Couldn't agree more.

Posted by landl47 on (February 9, 2014, 21:24 GMT)

Outspoken and insubordinate are not alternatives. A player can be neither, one or the other, or both.

Pietersen's problem was that he was both.

Posted by haq33 on (February 9, 2014, 20:50 GMT)

Hi Mr Chappell. Nice of you to bring us your call a spade a spade down to earth analyses, after it had been quiet for a period. Where were you with your self righteousness when the ICC was being devoured by vultures? Moving on, I fail to understand why KP can be managed at Surrey but not by England.

Posted by Rahulbose on (February 9, 2014, 20:44 GMT)

Your arguments would be sound but for the fact that KP has a track record of being insubordinate and breaking up with teams. It is not limited to Eng, it is common for all teams he has played for be it SA or county cricket or ECB.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 20:39 GMT)

After England's shamful defeat in the Ashes, ECB should have demoted Cook from his captaincy and found a captain who could manage KP. You didn't solve the problem by cutting loose KP. If your team is even weaker now than before KP was fired, then you didn't solve anything,,,,,,you just created another problem!!!!!!!! You're damn right ECB, you needed a player like Kevin Pietersen going into the upcoming T20 Championship and 2015 World Cup.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (February 9, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

@Mmoosa, i totally agree with your analysis. The ECB seem to have thrown their weight behind Cook who's bland unimaginative captaincy did more damage during the ashes than the performances of any individual. Aus were repeatedly in trouble during the series in their 1st inns but were able to get out of it mainly due to Cook's negativity with his field positioning & questionable use of his bowling resources. I find it hard to believe that Cook's dismal captaincy & poor form with the bat just seems to have been overlooked by the ECB. IMO I just don't see Cook as the man to take the team forward. His Captaincy has come up short whilst captaining players of proven test quality, I don't see how is going to do better with a team which will have a majority of unproven youngsters in the ranks. Broad or Bell are the only possible alternatives but I think either would be a better option to Cook who if he was unburdened from the captaincy he may even start to score runs again.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 9, 2014, 19:50 GMT)

@Firegoblin (post on February 9, 2014, 18:46 GMT): That's fine if it is "for the greater good" - but at a time when England are struggling for runs/impact/interest at the moment, I can forgive fans for demanding an explanation for why their highest run scorer and perhaps most exciting player has been discarded.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 19:37 GMT)

Didn't Warnie say that a coach was only useful to get the team to the ground or something like that? Some players are difficult, but, if they're good enough, you live with it. And if no one objected to the timid and tedious way England played in Australia, I'd be disappointed.

Posted by Insightful2013 on (February 9, 2014, 19:18 GMT)

Excellent article Mr. Chappell. Do you have any idea how difficult it is for Brits from the south and educated, to impose their feelings or speak out. We are thought to not become involved, be considerate and mind our business. It's almost shocking when someone like KP who is passionate, expresses himself. Also when you have Flower, who probably suppressed KP's lability to the point of shaking a bottle of soda pop and we all know what happens. KP would have always been on the outside, despite probably massive efforts to make him welcome. He is foreign, you see and different. Our civility though wonderful, can be very stifling to us. Surely, as an Aussie, you must have felt this? It's a very complicated set of rules we live by!

Posted by barryrichardsfan on (February 9, 2014, 18:54 GMT)

Cook looks a good man, a level headed guy who would always keep team interests foremost. But this KP-expulsion episode doesn't quite fit in the so called rebuilding process. All that management staff of Flower and co, Are they bigger than the players. If a player knows what to do after entering the field, gives his 100 percent, then everything else is redundant. And I am sure KP knew his job pretty well and put his best foot forward. Unlike other yes men in the team he put forward his thoughts, everybody has his. So what is the fuss about. Pathetic from Flower, ECB and Cook, specially Cook, he has let me down as a fan.

Posted by Firegoblin on (February 9, 2014, 18:46 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK: I suspect the reason why the ECB doesn't 'come out and say it' is that it is quite hard to prove in concrete terms. What would ultimately entail would be a drawn out process of claim and counter-claim, lurid headlines, current players being name-checked and undermined, and English cricket as a whole would be the loser.

For those who believe the ECB\Cook (& Flower) are being cowards, I would counter that the easy option would have been to let Pietersen carry on, the harder option to drop him and try to publicly justify it (to protect their own reputations), and the hardest of all to drop him and let the negative comments go unanswered.

Andrew Strauss indicated as much in The Times today - the hardest thing to do is often the one that is correct but opens yourself to the widest ridicule, and I will always respect those that do so if I truly believe that they are doing it for the greater good. In this instance I do.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 9, 2014, 18:44 GMT)

KP behaviour was tolerated 9 years because his contribution was better than others. But when his contribution become same as others , he had no say on things. He can't bring attitude when you do not have a value. I think KP lost his batting value but his baggage (mouth) remain same level. Is he manageable ? yes ? At what cost ? Is it worthy to manage him for his poor contribution , ECB decided he is messing up their play and cut him off. I agree with ECB actually. Case closed.

Its not cook can not manage KP. Its about what cost. Amount of time repairing all the damage done kp is waste of time. KP always hired gun , he was never part of the team. He always had cross hair on his back , the minute his contribution in ashes dwindled down , his value to England become miniscule compared to his baggage. I really think flower will be removed from england or he voluntarily resign himself. That is what will happen.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 18:27 GMT)

pieterson is by far the most talented and complete batsman in this era. one who can tear apart any bowling line up. feel sorry for the way the England team has treated him. I cannot help but sense racism and a total disregard for freedom of speech

Posted by BobCo on (February 9, 2014, 18:08 GMT)

It is amazing that people assume Greg and Ian Chappell are either the same person, or similar people. They are very different people. I totally agree with Ian's sentiments about the KP situation, and Ian captained far more outspoken and disruptive personalities than KP. Cook should suck it up and take on the problems KP apparently generates; KP is the English side's best batsman, comfortably. To dump him for non-cricketing reasons suggests more about the people running English cricket than it does about KP. It is also interesting to notice that KP spoke against Moore and Flower, and in the end both coaches were sacked... so the English heirarchy agreed with him on both counts, but too bad, he was wrong too, for speaking out!!! That is a double standard.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (February 9, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

"A captain can only put up with so much and if individuality turns into insubordination then he has to act. A captain should do all in his power to inform the individual he's wanted in the team but the player has to be prepared to compromise. If, after exhausting all avenues, a player won't compromise and is a disruptive force, then it's time to cut him loose, even if he can score a century or take five wickets."

Totally agree with this statement. If this is indeed the reason behind ECB's decision, then why not just come out and say it? There has been clear evidence in many games that KP wants to play for himself and not for the team in certain game situations. But the fact the ECB are refusing to give valid reasons suggests they are just cowardly, and most likely all avenues have NOT been exhausted. They have seemingly chosen to remove the problem completely rather than (continue to?) try to rectify it.

Posted by mmoosa on (February 9, 2014, 18:05 GMT)

How did KP play for 9 years and is now unmanageable..how was he managed all these years?..the fault has to lie with Cook.He is the man tasked to build unity and performance..A twofold loss for English cricket..retaining Cook as captain plus chucking the best batsmen out is a disaster.One of the biggest no no's....Pakistan are known for being volatile but this is in a different league.

The role of coach has been a vexed one ever since Illingworth and his insistence on being the omnipotent supremo.

Agree with absolutely everything Chaps has written here.

Cook can thank his lucky stars he didnt have to captain guys like Lillee and Thommo,Marsh,etc.

Posted by stormy16 on (February 9, 2014, 18:00 GMT)

Not sure how Eng arrived at this decision but if you ask any oppoenent which English player they would like to see sit out a game I reckon 80% would call KP. I would love to know what Ian Chappel has to say about the recent changes at the ICC.

Posted by Firegoblin on (February 9, 2014, 17:56 GMT)

There's a thin line between individual views and insubordination, even more so when someone has the guile to dress one up as another. Pietersen, great batsman as he once was, good batsman as he still is, is a classical narcissist personality, and that is a very dangerous commodity in this regard. His positive dealings with 'juniors' is portrayed as a plus; but for a narcissist this is about feeding the ego and more damagingly about building a power base amongst those less experienced and able to understand that they are, in effect, being used. I don't know the full story, no-one does yet (and I agree with that), but I suspect when all facts are out we'll be looking at the decision to 'reintegrate' him in 2012 a tactical win but strategic error. I love (Test) cricket, I love England winning, and I love 'rebels', but a rebel must start apart and never seek to influence the team to suit their agenda - that is when the line is crossed and the axe must fall for the greater good.

Posted by cloudmess on (February 9, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

I think some of the contributors here are confusing Ian Chappell with his brother Greg, not for the first time. Ian has never coached, and has always retained a stance of not being wild about coaches. Aussie greats like Shane Warne and Dennis Lillee would probably have been banned by the Flower regime for their various antics. Never mind in the confines of a dressing room, Warne used to slag off Buchanan in print while he was still playing. I think KP fell victim to Flower's one major weakness - his inflexibility, plus the cliquey amateurism which still pervades among those who run the English, who don't want the wrong sort of chap in their teams. And KP's dismissal was quite clearly part of a three-way horse-trade between Flower, Downton and Giles. If the ECB had dropped KP on the grounds of form, they would have looked less foolish. David Gower was after all dropped after the 1991 Ashes series, and scarcely played for England again, despite scoring 2 brilliant 100s.

Posted by Mina_Anand on (February 9, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

Has Ian Chappell forgotten that Ganguly was also a Captain who had a right to choose the coach and he 'alone' should have had to 'deal directly with the players"? Double standards ?

Posted by Jimmyvida on (February 9, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

Now that England has given Kevin the boot with a steel tipped shoe. Please don't talk about him playing elsewhere where I might add are seas of gold. Kevin, go get em.

Posted by Mina_Anand on (February 9, 2014, 16:40 GMT)

Ironic that Chappell says a Captain deserves to choose the Coach ! Has he forgotten Indian cricketing history ?!!!

Posted by Natx on (February 9, 2014, 15:27 GMT)

Now is an opportunity for other countries that doesn't know how to bat outside to get him as a batting consultant and learn some good tips and techniques to score big and put up a good score for their decent bowling unit to have a crack at. Pakistan, WI, NZ, SL, here is your chance to seize a good resource while he is still at his prime. Especially now that he is relatively free and will be available for 6-8 months outside of his IPL and BBL commitments.

Posted by paapam on (February 9, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

Ian is right. Another thoughtful piece by the Aussie Warhorse. The essence lies elsewhere though. Pietersen is not viewed as a true blue brit. The Strauss episode exposed his South African leanings. If Kepler Wessels had texted (during his playing days) the technical weaknesses in the game of the Aussie captain, while playing for Australia, to the opposition, I do not think the Aussie team management would have spared him. Pietersen has already got a long rope. He has consistently put himself above the team. His attraction to the IPL is all too apparent. Pietersen is a cricket mercenary to the core. The English need to give no justification for the current sacking but they certainly need to explain why he was not sacked much earlier. Why did they tolerate disloyalty to Queen and Country!

Posted by Farooq3 on (February 9, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

I would love to hear Chappell's comments on the "day light robbery" committed by the Big Three. In his own words in this article he says: "That doesn't mean everyone has to be in agreement with the captain; a bunch of yes men won't help a team win"!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (February 9, 2014, 15:17 GMT)

As you say,cricket sides should be picked on merit as cricketers,not on whether they could dine with royalty or be extremely agreeable to what the captain says about varieties of cheese. As one or two former players have suggested,a captain should regard it as his job to deal with all the characters in the side. There is no divine right of captains to ordain what is and what is not acceptable thinking. Cook and co are down to the level of looking to see if the grain of a piece of paper is the right one. Most of England ciricket lovers want KP back in. There are only a few who want to move on with agreeable dull personalities.This is because KP is ENTERTAINMENT writ large. The perception too is that Cook is a poor captain and a dull person.The ECB may want this situation but in the end will wish they did not as soon they will reap the whirlwind for not taking public opinion seriously.Probably in the closing stages of t20 WC as England are dumped out as inadequate.They are a losing side.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 14:20 GMT)

KP was sacked after the private report he was asked to submit after India 2008 was leaked - not by KP or his people - to the press. He was the wrong man to have been made captain from a flawed policy of having a single captain across all formats. Strauss should have captained post Vaughan not Flintoff nor KP.

By all means sack KP if he was repeatedly disobeying team plans. Let's just be told why and then we can move on. He's gone now and whilst you can't rule out a return, it isn't likely.

Flower has left a legacy for England cricket and it isn't pretty but it seems easy to blame KP for it.

Posted by fsdb on (February 9, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

@ThirteenthMan - far from being ill-thought through, Chappell quite deliberately juxtaposes an assertion (playing ability is what counts) with the negation of that assertion (not if it is disruptive). It is a deliberatel device enabling him to make his point more forcefully and at the same time more completely. Chappell is one of the greatest captains of all times and he had to captain far more headstrong and ruggedly individualistic characters than Peterson. When he speaks about captaining a cricket team, managing strong individuals within it, the relationship between captain and coach and the relationship between captain and selectors, you would be wisely counselled to listen and learn. A legend like Chappell does not need to score cheap points in anticipation of the next Ashes series - he has bigger fish to fry. He has always praised Clarke's captaincy just as he was always critical of Ponting's - in the interests of the game not petty pom-bashing of the kind you are fixated on.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

Ridiculous. At the very least, England owed KP the opportunity to fight his way back into the side by making runs in domestic cricket. What if he does just that?

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

Honestly Kevin Pietersen is being made a scape goat, I agree his performance was no way near his best but there were other under-performing individuals in the team. Still feel KP has it in him to score plenty of runs at test level, he is only 33, I agree he has been in controversy for wrong reasons but he is a match-winner and a player who draws big crowd in to the stadium. I have admired his stroke play over the years and it will be a pitty if we dont see him turn up again in whites

Posted by Narkovian on (February 9, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

Ian Chappell captaining a team with Botham in it. Now that is management I would pay a lot to see ! Seems to me obvious that Pietersen had become unmanageable, not for the first time. Now that cricket is big business(unfortunately), then maybe it should be run like one. If one of your top employees is totally out of sych. with company policy.. then he will be sacked. Sheeemple!

Posted by The_Wog on (February 9, 2014, 12:02 GMT)

My guess is he got sacked for the 2012 incident. They tolerated him while ENG was winning, but as soon as they weren't that's what they got him for. And probably rightly so - disagreements are one thing, but "bowl around the wicket" is well beyond the spirit of the game.

Posted by dorothydix on (February 9, 2014, 11:46 GMT)

Excellent article. ECB should hire him as a consultant.They need new ideas and constructive criticism. ECB is a business gone wrong so get honest informed assistance.

Posted by nareshgb1 on (February 9, 2014, 11:46 GMT)

I have always wondered what would have been the scenario if the author's brother (Greg) had been coach of an England team with KP.

Posted by Jeremy303 on (February 9, 2014, 11:38 GMT)

The ICC should make good use of Pietersen's extra time: get him over to the USA to help develop their domestic competition.

Posted by icknid on (February 9, 2014, 11:23 GMT)

There was that great chariot scene in the film Ben Hur - where the owner (aka Andy Flower) of the 4 white horses told Charlton Heston (aka Alistair Cook) that they had different strengths, i.e. pace, stamina etc. Charlton Heston was good enough to control those wild horses, get the best out of them, and win. Mike Brearley was excellent at controlling his wild horses - Botham, Boycott, Willis, Dilley...and win.

Alistair Cook did not control his wild horses Pietersen, Swann, Anderson, and Prior. In fact the the coach did not necessarily select his best horses especially on the bowling front.

And now to get rid of the most difficult, but the greatest talent in the team shows that the new coaching outfit does not understand the art of constructing a winning team.

It is also clear that if you cannot manage your horses, you should not hold the reigns of the chariot.

Posted by inyourbaffles on (February 9, 2014, 11:19 GMT)

A nicely balanced and thought provoking piece Chappelli. I particularly like your thinking that the first consideration is obviously performance [100runs or 5 wickets], but that if that high performing player subsequently becomes a liability in the team construct and if "after exhausting all avenues" for compromise he remains a disruptive force, then he has to go. There must always be the ability to challenge [advise?] constructively from the ranks; it's the way the best oiled military constructs work. However, that element of challenge/advice must never be to authority, only tactics (captain on the field); the strategic element having been laid down by the coaches and captain off of the field. The captain must consider all options and then decide the best way ahead under the prevailing circumstances. That's when the on-field advisors must accept that their place is to JFDI. Having said all of that, I don't believe history will reflect Cook as being one of England's best captains.

Posted by ShutTheGate on (February 9, 2014, 11:11 GMT)

I think if Pieterson writes a book now that his international career is over it will contain all the dirt. It will probably sell well also.

Posted by steve48 on (February 9, 2014, 11:02 GMT)

Loved the article, and the questions it brings up. KP disagreed, perhaps strongly, on the fitness session a couple of days before the test. As a senior player he has the right to take Cook to task on it, but would be wrong to refuse to take part in it, or complain whilst the session in progress. Similarly, Cook had to take him to task on his modes of dismissal in the early test, and if he was unreceptive to questioning and criticism, then KP is a problem. Again, KP should have been pointing out when he thought Cook was missing a trick in the field, but not to the point where he called him a 'doos' in front of team mates or opposition! This is why the paying public have a right to details. Is Kp threatening to sue, or is Team England hiding behind litigation as an excuse because truth is they want yes men? This private meeting coming out as the last straw puts them in a very poor light, and KP as a martyr, as can be clearly seen on any of the posts to all of the articles on this website

Posted by Harold-I on (February 9, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

I agree it is a team game, and I agree the team wins or loses. However, no team has won without either: a genuine star/match winner or a great captain.

Take Australia during the Ponting era - Ponting, a supreme player with 3 others for the future Hall of Fame and a so-so captain, add it together and its a winning formula.

Take New Zealand during the Stephen Fleming era, NO STARS AT ALL, but a great captain, and you get a team punching well above its weight class. I'd call that team a win (NZ somehow manages to unearth suprisingly good captains time after time).

And then you have England, who had one genuine star, nothing special as a captain, and what do you change? You get rid of that star...

I don't know if that point Chappell was talking about, where nothing could be done with the player, has been reached with Pietersen. From all the reports I hear it was quite the opposite. He was helping out other players, encouraging them to train and try harder.

Posted by Stouffer on (February 9, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

If he batted like he cared, then this would be an entirely different discussion, and one that might not have been needed. However, apart from one game he batted like he had no respect for the team or the situation they often found themself in. Sure, Cook is not a good captain, but he can't be blamed for the failures of other batsmen, ie all of them.

Posted by ThirteenthMan on (February 9, 2014, 10:21 GMT)

Quote:". A selector only has to ask himself if a player can get him a hundred or take five wickets."

Quote: " If, after exhausting all avenues, a player won't compromise and is a disruptive force, then it's time to cut him loose, even if he can score a century or take five wickets."

Not well thought through.

Quote:"I believe that if he's opposed by the same captain in 2015 he'll be too mentally scarred to regain the Ashes.

Or maybe the war of words has started already.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (February 9, 2014, 10:10 GMT)

Ian Chappel is a legend and us saffers love him in commentary and the nice things he says about Graham Pollock. He is totally spot on. England chose not to manage him effectively and went for conformers instead of performers. The easy option.

Posted by John-Price on (February 9, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

I have never been a fan of Pietersen, but what has happened just isn't right. he has, in effect, been handed a life ban from international cricket without any semblance of due process. Not only that, but his many supporters have not been provided with any meaningful reason why this extraordinary step was necessary.

This type pf arbitrary action, driven it seems by personal animosity, should have no place even in a village cricket club, let alone a national team. If there are concerns about a player's conduct, these should be aired in a public hearing where the player has a chance to defend himself.

Instead all we a left with is a vague assurance that there must be a good reason for the action taken. We don't send people prison based on such nonsense, neither should such a justification suffice to deprive someone of their right to pursue their professional ambitions.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

To be honest English cricket is a joke and Kevin will no doubt be glad he is no longer in this pathetic side .... Cook will soon be gone to, as he is well past his best and will not tour Australia again in a Ashes series. Both sides were only average during the summer and the only players to stand out were Mitch and Haddin. If you think I'm mistaken these were the words of an ex Australian great and former selector Neil Harvey on TV during the NZ/India test.

Posted by Clavers on (February 9, 2014, 9:31 GMT)

As usual, Chappelli is spot on. The man is the walking textbook on cricket captaincy.

Is it even fair to say that Pietersen had "spoken out" against the coach? He was in a team meeting our of earshot of the coach and his opinion had been asked for. How can giving an honest answer to a question from your captain be construed as a disciplinary offence?

The meeting should have been kept confidential. Whoever leaked KP's remarks afterwards is the transgressor, in my view.

This is scapegoating of the worst kind.

Posted by Bubba2008 on (February 9, 2014, 9:25 GMT)

I for one think England had every right to act as they did. While Pietersen is an immensely talented man, he is just that. ONE man. His ability does not warrant special consideration or added leeway for poor behavior, he must learn to act by the standards as set for the rest of the team. Any other team I am aware of, taking into consideration a track record such as Pietersen boasted, would have acted similarly had any player showed such contempt of the coach and, to perhaps a lesser extent, the captain.

Yes, player-coach relationships rely on work, but Flower's reputation as a "smotherer", while not flattering, removes any doubt of his willingness to improve his rapport with Pietersen.

Posted by dahalb on (February 9, 2014, 8:49 GMT)

I feel really bad for Kevin Pietersen. Cook and company took the easy way out. Looks like Pietersen is going to be made the scapegoat for this series just because he is from South Africa. Of course, he has strong opinions. He is an exceptional player and his opinions are a part of what he is. The team management needs more concrete reasons to sack him than that.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (February 9, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

Good article Ian pretty agree with everything you said. I recall England doing a similar thing with David Gower in the early 1990s. Also Australia did a similar thing to Dean Jones in the early 1990s too. However Australia back then had four or five players as good as if not better than Jones waiting to come through like Langer, Lehmann, Ponting, Martyn etc. So Australia at the time could afford to jettison Jones. As Oz had a very good team and depth in the 1990s. England has no such depth now or when they jettisoned Gower. They cannot afford to jettison someone of Peitersen's mercurial quality as Ian Chappell rightly says.

Posted by cricbic on (February 9, 2014, 7:50 GMT)

I think the ultimate problem with Pietersen is that he's the guy who, when on 94 for example, will go for the big six as he imagines dominating back-pages the world over ... instead of playing more responsibly and valuing the price of his wicket in terms of his team's well-being. It always smacks of arrogance and selfishness. Yes it's a game played by individuals, but I've always looked at him as simply using the team he's in to promote brand KP. Maverick strokeplay and bravado is amazing, but if it's disconnected from a sense of teamplay, it's simply not acceptable.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 7:47 GMT)

Pietersen isn't just difficult he has shown utter disloyalty to previous captains and coaches in the English setup and frankly he just can't be trusted. Also imagine if an Australian had done what Pietersen had done during the 2012 South Africa series when he betrayed both his team and a successful and very popular captain Andrew Strauss? He would have been hounded out of Australia let alone the cricket team never to return. Pietersen has had one too many chances and was very, very fortunate to stay in the side after the Strauss affair. The man just can't be trusted no matter how good a batsman he is. Selfish players can be managed by either being given responsibility or being left to get on with their own thing but if their behaviour has a negative impact on the rest of the players then sooner or later he has to go. If anything Pietersen has been indulged beyond reason and finally getting rid of him is the overdue and absolutely the right thing to do.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 7:22 GMT)

not needed by saffers thanks and no thanks

Posted by __PK on (February 9, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

Excellent article, although it stops short of actually drawing any conclusions. But I disagree with the second last paragraph. You can manufacture culture. There are some brilliant people around the world who've helped large companies do exactly that. I suspect the fact that culture is enclosed in double quotes shows Ian doesn't believe it's important, or possibly even real. And the first step is by changing behaviour. Hence sacking Pietersen. Values will follow, but you have to get leaders to help change behaviour. Or strong friendships - which is also informal leadership.

Posted by riaz.m on (February 9, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

ECB has made a complete pig's ear of this one. It should have been a simple case of a player being dropped because he he has not been performing to the level expected for the last 2 years. Averaging 38 in tests and even less in ODI's is not adequate let alone world class. That plus the attitude of KP added to his hanging out to dry. But I won't shed any tears for KP. Has he not done the same every where ever he's played ?. The disrespect to Strauss in 2012 was shocking and indicative of his attitude. KP was lucky that Cook allowed him back but now he knows better!

Posted by MarinManiac on (February 9, 2014, 6:50 GMT)

Chappelli, I hear there is a job available in charge of the England cricket team. Want it?

Posted by Katey on (February 9, 2014, 5:53 GMT)

KP doesn't fit any category - he's obviously not a follower, his stint as leader didn't last long, and he's not naturally one of the guys with beer and braais. he was known to be "difficult" when he first came out of Africa and joined the team.

Trouble with large management teams is that committees cant handle someone who doesn't fit any category. A good skipper - on his own - might have worked out a way to harness all that testosterone without trying to geld the man, but with all and sundry chiming in with their opinions he wouldn't stand a chance.

I can't help feeling KP, under a charismatic leader that could gain his trust, could have been twice the batsman he has been, but who can feel loyal and inspired by a committee?

Especially a committee that saw nothing absurd about having an 80-page recipe book to help them win the Ashes. Talk about micro-management! In fact they were into pico-management imho. Ridiculous!

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 5:46 GMT)

Seems like KP became too much of the oddball in a team who no one wants to work with and eventually paid the price even if he was the best in what he did. It happens all the time in all other jobs, nothing new in it. Only thing is, if it is so, the fans need to know and ECB needs to come clear with an explanation.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 9, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

"...the argumentative players off the field are usually the last ones to concede defeat on it."

I love this quote. So true. Another gem from Chappelli.

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (February 9, 2014, 4:53 GMT)

"Character only comes into selection when two players are even in ability" - There is no player in that England squad comes even close to KP in terms of batting ability - Sacking KP England has pressed the self destruct button - case closed.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 9, 2014, 4:45 GMT)

KP wants to be the MAN but do not want responsibility. Its lack of responsibility infuriate people who wants to build a team. No one disputing he is their best batsman but when he did not deliver in ashes and with that kinda baggage , i would have get rid of him long time ago or put a captain who can manage him. Its basically cook could not able to control KP. There ends the story. Its nothing to do with coach. if he performed in ashes with century or something , no one would able to touch him. For England and Australia , how you perform in ashes will show your value to the team on that time. KP can't mouth off when he has nothing to show. KP still their batsman but he may have to return to SA or Play IPL rest of his career. :)

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 4:41 GMT)

Excellent article, somehow England has a knack of complicating matters and this issue is right up there. Also true is the number of backroom staff who are hired these days, quite frankly it's a joke and holds good for most teams. Sad day for Cricket when you lose a player of this ilk to non cricketing reasons.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2014, 4:22 GMT)

Excellent article pointing out the real problem if current English team setup. if support staffs and tram management which includes selectors and coach cant solve off field problem of their best batsman than I think the management should go instead of a single player. what if Cook questions about working style of new management are they going to sack him. its always bettet to have someone who disagree eith your opinion in your group as it will allow you to think twice before making any decision.

Posted by C.Gull on (February 9, 2014, 4:09 GMT)

Excellent article. Clear, sensible, incisive. One of the best I've read on this affair and from you Chappelli.

Posted by Spinoza on (February 9, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

I know a great replacement for Andy Flower as coach - Andy Zaltzman. Here is why I think he is :

1) He is English and like Boof knows knows the Aussies he knows the English we'll to make them tick. 2) He has a sense of humor -so he can bring some lightness to the dressing room. 3) Being a little zany himself he can win the respect and love of mavericks like KP. 11 mavericks in the team? No sweat. 4) Having never played test cricket he comes with no preconceived notions. 5) Perfectly capable of defusing tense situations with humor. 6) Brings fun and joy to English cricket which has not seen fun and joy since - w

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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