April 22, 2014

England's Pietersen folly

They were making good progress in building a world-class side, but not getting rid of Kevin Pietersen after the texting saga in 2012 cost them greatly
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How does a team fall dramatically or rise brilliantly? What is behind a a sudden shift in fortunes? Is it a fickle moment, a natural cycle gone wrong, or a case of being resurrected inspirationally, or just down to luck either way?

Four years ago, in 2010, I wrote that I thought England would continue their golden run, given their resources and excellent approach towards what was important in their game. They had a vast nursery operating nicely, with two divisions providing meaning, and central contracts providing intent, allowing for competition to rule and for specialisation of the very best to be managed. Andy Flower, I assumed, would have an eye out for the future pathway.

Since 2000, England made good decisions to secure the structure of their domestic game. Then in 2005, fruition arrived with a remarkable Ashes win under a good captain, Michael Vaughan, and a good coach, Duncan Fletcher, and a resolute group of motivated players. It was also the beginning of the international career of one Kevin Pietersen, a rejected, enigmatic talent keen to shock the world.

Then, in between Vaughan and Andrew Strauss being in charge, 2008 to be exact, England hit a nasty roadblock with the notion that Pietersen was Test captaincy material. Peter Moores may, too, have not been of international standard. And so a quick transformation was made. Once Flower and Strauss were firmly in position, England began to blossom again.

All went serenely well - two more Ashes victories - until the moment it all broke down, leading to the regrettable saga around the premature retirement of Strauss in August 2012. This, of course, was the hideous "Textgate" affair in which Pietersen behaved poorly during South Africa's tour of England in midsummer. In essence, on top of the Moores spat previously, Pietersen had murdered his second chance. This time he had attacked his captain.

In that moment, England had a serious choice to make, an important vital decision to follow through with if they were to continue to grow as a team and a cricket nation long-term. Their decision was whether to re-engage Pietersen back into the ranks after he was dropped for the final Test at Lord's in 2012, or move him on for good. It appeared that Flower was against having him back, as was Strauss, who decided to walk away, sick and tired of the upheaval Pietersen had generated. On the flip side, it was obvious that Alastair Cook and Matt Prior, the new captain and vice-captain respectively, were adamant about finding a way back for Pietersen.

We all know the decision now. The fallout became complete in Australia over Christmas. In principle, there should not have been a third chance.

It must have eaten away at Flower, slowly derailing his strong leadership. Instead of taking the opportunity that Pietersen gave them, to move him on and bring on the next breed of top-scoring batsmen, they fell for the prospect of more short-term highs from their enigmatic No. 4. They forgot in that moment about the collective buy-in they needed to be sustainable, about teaching the young how to fulfil their potential, about building and nurturing a culture of cricketers that can last. That is not to clone anyone - quite the opposite: more to encourage them to be unique and team-oriented.

England have neither a captain who instinctively knows his role, nor a coach who knows the top level, nor a new bunch of players who have come through to carry the baton. They have just given cricket a blueprint of how not to build for the future

That they now have fallen so dramatically, so stupidly when all is considered, is due to the opportunity they badly missed in September 2012, when it smacked them between the eyes.

Since then, that decision has caused so much grief and recrimination that England are not only now struggling for positive air and inspiration, they look in deep trouble. They have neither a captain who instinctively knows the role, nor a coach who knows the top level, nor a new bunch of players who have come through to carry the baton. England have just given cricket a definitive blueprint of how not to build for the future.

In hindsight, they stumbled at that moment, they erred on too much hubris, and they got a little unlucky that Pietersen would prove to be such a pain over and over, despite his run-scoring prowess.

It took a perfect storm of many factors to bring England to their knees. It may take a sunny miracle for them to regroup just as quick.

I am not convinced about their latest appointments. It looks like a broken egg and smells like a rotten one too. The damage is done. And if they steal Paul Farbrace from Sri Lanka, that will be a disgusting act. He has been with Sri Lanka three months, assisting them in winning two important titles, and he has a contract until the end of the 2015 World Cup. He would be mad to walk away from his commitment, let alone walk around eggshells in London. If he doesn't see his contract out, he risks not being touched again.

On the other side of the world, Australia have sprung the reverse. By 2013 they were dead in the water. Their administrators had become sidetracked and were focusing on T20 mania, and the national team was squandering game after game. The coach and captain both crazily were part of the new selection-panel experiment. It was a brilliant botch-up. In Michael Clarke, they had a great batsman and leader, yet around him there was no solidarity, no real voice.

Finally, after much self-inflicted pain, sanity prevailed and Clarke was removed from the selection table, Arthur altogether, and someone with experience and knowhow, the resilient Darren Lehmann, stepped into the breach to support Clarke appropriately.

False egos were dealt with, flimsy techniques were discarded. Focus was put on their strengths: fast bowling, attacking and counter-attacking batting, vibrant fielding, and overall a more aggressive approach was adopted once again. The Aussie way was back in town. Yes, they overdid the verbals and the antics, ugly as that was, but at least they stuck to their natural cultural theme. For the most part they became real again.

In no time they were winning Test matches against the No. 1-ranked team. Now, despite their blind approach in the recent World T20, they look as if they could carry on, inspiring many, and pull off the next World Cup, and all in its path. They have embraced who they are again.

England need similar inspiration, yet they have settled for less, which they may deny. What can't be denied is that this last period has been dramatically dreadful and the future is shaky. How long will it take them to bounce back again?

It's a fickle world we live in.

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • eggyroe on April 26, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    It appears that after reading the numerous comments,it appears in my opinion that the English View is Pietersen should have been shown the door in 2012 after the Texting Debacle.The rest of the world wanted him retained because when the ego took over he was a walking wicket.There is no I in the word team and the team ethic should be one for all and all for one.

  • llw5682 on April 25, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    Since so many of you think that disruptive people like KP needs special "handling", why don't you enlighten us? How EXACTLY do you manage such a "character"????? Apparenlty you know something that Natal, Hampshire and ECB and wherever else he's failed at don't know....

  • on April 25, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    English Cricketing Authorities seem to do a harakiri by sacking KP and forming a quadrat in Downton, Moores, FarBraze & Cook to salvage English Cricket looks bizarre and might be an unfulfilled day dream only for ever !

  • on April 25, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    Not sure why so many none England fans want England to pick KP. Point here. good leadership does NOT mean always finding ways to accommodate good but flawed players. It is. NOT essential to find space for trouble makers. It is about making strong, correct decisions, often decisions that others would shirk from. Getting rid of KP is one such decision. It's the right decision.

  • on April 24, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    The fundamental problem with this assessment is that England were well in to their decline when all of this happened. As bad as the thrashing in Australia was, the series in the UAE was at least equally bad. There was a scraped draw in Sri Lanka, an early season win against the Windies and the South Africa series. England have won their last 9 Tests in May and haven't lost since 2001 so the Windies series can be discounted. You say Pietersen blocked up a place in the side and stopped younger players coming through but England have yet to truly replace Collingwood, a position that Stokes may take, or Strauss. The problem with renewing the side is not about Pietersen, it's about a failure to select the correct players, or a failure to commit to them, or a failure to develop them, or simply an absence of them.

  • MAK123 on April 24, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry: Yes, I have seen "Stokes" play in county cricket without being very impressive with either the bat or the ball. I did see him bat and score a century during the Ashes. But honestly, would you rate him the next best thing based on that century which basically had a nuisance value of entertaining a few English fans? Whatever he did in terms of bowling or batting, he did it while the contests had already died down. I would have rated him if any of his innings had prevented the English slides in any of the five tests. It is very easy to score or bowl when you have nothing left to lose.

  • krik8crazy on April 23, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    By not throwing out Pietersen after the text gate scandal, the English selectors showed a lack of spine. They didn't have the guts to drop him as he was still a capable batsman. After the Ashes debacle, they sensed that he is not the same destructive batsman of old. So they deemed him expendable and dropped him. All the talk about him being a disruptive force is just hype.

  • on April 23, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    This "folly" brought England their first series win in India for a generation.

  • on April 23, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    I agree to most part of this article, however, it all started when Moores and KP started falling out. Isn't it necessary to deal with such kind of people, isn't it people management is necessary in such adverse situation. See each team have character like KP, Shane Watson for Oz, Gayle for WI, Ryder for NZ, and list goes on. You can't just throw away these characters and make a move. Team is important but at the same time, team have to accommodate such characters and make them feel part of it.

  • sreni on April 23, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Without K P whether you would have won against India in India..Poor England, you ppl can write a lot but KP is the only one who performs on the ground. Let us see where Eng will go without KP. (Remember I am not a KP fun at all)

  • eggyroe on April 26, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    It appears that after reading the numerous comments,it appears in my opinion that the English View is Pietersen should have been shown the door in 2012 after the Texting Debacle.The rest of the world wanted him retained because when the ego took over he was a walking wicket.There is no I in the word team and the team ethic should be one for all and all for one.

  • llw5682 on April 25, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    Since so many of you think that disruptive people like KP needs special "handling", why don't you enlighten us? How EXACTLY do you manage such a "character"????? Apparenlty you know something that Natal, Hampshire and ECB and wherever else he's failed at don't know....

  • on April 25, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    English Cricketing Authorities seem to do a harakiri by sacking KP and forming a quadrat in Downton, Moores, FarBraze & Cook to salvage English Cricket looks bizarre and might be an unfulfilled day dream only for ever !

  • on April 25, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    Not sure why so many none England fans want England to pick KP. Point here. good leadership does NOT mean always finding ways to accommodate good but flawed players. It is. NOT essential to find space for trouble makers. It is about making strong, correct decisions, often decisions that others would shirk from. Getting rid of KP is one such decision. It's the right decision.

  • on April 24, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    The fundamental problem with this assessment is that England were well in to their decline when all of this happened. As bad as the thrashing in Australia was, the series in the UAE was at least equally bad. There was a scraped draw in Sri Lanka, an early season win against the Windies and the South Africa series. England have won their last 9 Tests in May and haven't lost since 2001 so the Windies series can be discounted. You say Pietersen blocked up a place in the side and stopped younger players coming through but England have yet to truly replace Collingwood, a position that Stokes may take, or Strauss. The problem with renewing the side is not about Pietersen, it's about a failure to select the correct players, or a failure to commit to them, or a failure to develop them, or simply an absence of them.

  • MAK123 on April 24, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry: Yes, I have seen "Stokes" play in county cricket without being very impressive with either the bat or the ball. I did see him bat and score a century during the Ashes. But honestly, would you rate him the next best thing based on that century which basically had a nuisance value of entertaining a few English fans? Whatever he did in terms of bowling or batting, he did it while the contests had already died down. I would have rated him if any of his innings had prevented the English slides in any of the five tests. It is very easy to score or bowl when you have nothing left to lose.

  • krik8crazy on April 23, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    By not throwing out Pietersen after the text gate scandal, the English selectors showed a lack of spine. They didn't have the guts to drop him as he was still a capable batsman. After the Ashes debacle, they sensed that he is not the same destructive batsman of old. So they deemed him expendable and dropped him. All the talk about him being a disruptive force is just hype.

  • on April 23, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    This "folly" brought England their first series win in India for a generation.

  • on April 23, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    I agree to most part of this article, however, it all started when Moores and KP started falling out. Isn't it necessary to deal with such kind of people, isn't it people management is necessary in such adverse situation. See each team have character like KP, Shane Watson for Oz, Gayle for WI, Ryder for NZ, and list goes on. You can't just throw away these characters and make a move. Team is important but at the same time, team have to accommodate such characters and make them feel part of it.

  • sreni on April 23, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Without K P whether you would have won against India in India..Poor England, you ppl can write a lot but KP is the only one who performs on the ground. Let us see where Eng will go without KP. (Remember I am not a KP fun at all)

  • on April 23, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    Very well written and providing much food for thought. Having finally got rid of the rotten apple in the barrel, England will need to move forward with a positive bent of mind. Success and failure in cricket come in cycles, the better prepared team tends to prevail. Test cricket is not an easy format and much of it has always been played "between the ears," as the saying goes. Let us hope for a new England team willing to put in the required labour and willing to rectify the balance of power in the cricket world.

  • ARad on April 23, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    Rally_Windies has hit the nail on the head except that the last two lines are a bit harsh. :)

  • GauravReddy on April 23, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    KP's 186 in Mumbai in November 2012 must have been one of his best ever in an England shirt. Had he not been 'a third chance', as you call it, England would never have beaten India.

  • Vinod_Fab on April 23, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    @Gerry_the_Merry on (April 23, 2014, 7:40 GMT) .. That innings was simply the best test innings i have ever seen in this era..!!. Just now finished watching highlights off..!!. I think KP would have been in the team for 3rd test had he secured a win that test.. Innings was as class as viv's innings..!!. Even in the just concluded ASHES series, ENG was in winning position in MCG thanks to this guy again..!!.. Allow KP to play till 2015 end.. He will do wonders for ENG.. Miracles do happen bit i still believe Moores will give KP--One last chance..!!

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 23, 2014, 7:40 GMT

    And have a look at his 149 against South Africa in Headingley 2012. Not only was it a magnificent innings, each and every run was scored off frontline bowlers. They were decimated. There was none of the "see the quicks off, and then pick off the easy runs against the rest". every South African bowler was in great form. They had won the previous test. I would like to see a single innings by any great batsman where almost all the runs are scored under pressure or at least without the team reaching a dominant position, in a critical test match, off the frontline bowlers, in such commanding fashion. I cant remember too many.

  • Vinod_Fab on April 23, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    As KP says de one who doesn't play cricket has lot to say since they doesn't have any other work than writing the article..!!.. And what happened to u guys, KP 186 is not the only one he score in that tour, did someone noticed that 75 odd in 4th test..? ENG were struggling and KP scored 75 odd out of 140 when he got out..!!. Are memories that much short..? Alongside 186,that 75 odd was also vital in the context of series.. KP the only who scored centuries in PAK, ENG, IND, WI(WC tons),AUS,NZ,SL,BAN(99),SA(he will get it if he plays). Home and away he is magnificient and you people are complaining about his committment..?. He won ENG the series single handedly in IND after reintegration, likewise give KP a second chance,he will win u the WC,ASHES and tour of SA..!!. Support KP for what he gave to ENG rather than complaining..!!

  • Clyde on April 23, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    The Pietersen issue has drawn a line between what is visible and what is not visible to the cricket spectator. As a spectator, I can say I have read a lot about but understood nothing of what has happened beyond that line. The important question is whether I have needed to, and the answer is no. If it had been about corruption it would have been different. On my side of the line I would put rather Lehmann than Moores, because I know the former as a Test player and I would have to look up Moores's statistics. The only conclusion I can draw about Petersen is that whereas he was an outstanding batsman he no longer is. The trouble with that is that his decline in cricketing terms has not been made visible enough. Every time an off-field personality appears in the coverage of Test cricket so much of the game disappears, from a cricketing perspective. Whatever Downton was as a cricketer he is not now. What next for the category of 'not cricket'?

  • Shawk on April 23, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    I cannot believe that Martin Crowe can seriously blame Pietersen for everything. He might be the reason for some of the difficult episodes, but he is also the reason for most of the good stuff (such as England winning quite a lot!, and some unbelievable innings that we all remember.) While it might have been an easier dressing room, I doubt England would have won much or kept many people entertained which is really the whole point isn't it?

    The facts are that from an English cricket point of view, Kevin Pietersen is the best batsman that they have probably ever had. You would have to go back to Len Hutton and Dennis Compton to get a similar status of batter, but I doubt they were better than KP. Now he is gone, I imagine England will basically go down a level to where they were before he turned up, i.e. not that good.

    They shouldn't be getting rid of him. They should be keeping him for as long as possible!

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 23, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    MAK123 - About 'Stoke" as you call him...was it a blunder to select him? on what basis. Did you see the speeds at which he bowled? have you checked his batting stats. Did you see his batting? Next to the main subject of this article, Kevin Pietersen, he is the batsmen that I would remember most for stylish and brutally powerful strokeplay. A star in the making...you read it from me first.

  • on April 23, 2014, 2:37 GMT

    In the end, its all about the runs and the wickets. No amount of management mumbo-jumbo is going to buy you that. Aussies did the right thing - dump their MBA type manager and go for broke with the blokes that are going to get you wickets(MJ) and runs. Naturally, with wickets and runs, wins follow and with wins vibes in the team. Cricket is a simple game. Don't complicate things. Leaving out KP is a foolish move. As foolish as dropping match winners for not doing homework. Before the India tour of England, please drop Cook, Bell, Broad and Anderson as well :)

  • JAH123 on April 23, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    Martin, the problem is that KP didn't really get a third chance. Yes he re-joined the team but the England management apparently never embraced his return, which put his position in limbo. Now we are in a situation where he is gone but no one can point to the specific reason. All we hear is "disruptive influence" and "rebuilding". It seems to me that the awful Aussie tour became an excuse for Flower and co to do what they have wanted to do since 2012 - axe Kev. Maybe ejecting him in 2012 would have been a fruitful step. Maybe properly accepting him back into the fold would have been equally beneficial. Who knows? All we can say for sure is that the in-between option of leaving him on the outside looking in was a poor choice.

  • Manush on April 23, 2014, 0:33 GMT

    There is always the other side of the story. You cannot simply crucify KP for all the shameful acts of his colleagues and the Board.One can agree with the author in that when the controversial text was sent to the opposite side which caused his exit, it should have been over. ( what ever may be the reason, sending message to opposite camp should be condemned ). But the Board used KP and dumped him when he was right and contributed positively in Australia. Andy and Cook should have been sacked for their poor handling and not KP.

  • OneEyedAussie on April 22, 2014, 23:59 GMT

    Good to see some balanced comments from Crowe. One-eyed KP fans will talk about KP's Mumbai hundred but on the other hand completely ignore the damage done to the England team through the loss of Strauss, the undermining of Flower and the suffocation of team unity and morale. Remember, we are talking about a guy who sent the opposition a deriding text message about his captain.

  • on April 22, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    "And if they steal Paul Farbrace from Sri Lanka, that will be a disgusting act...and he has a contract until the end of the 2015 World Cup."

    Laughable, Mr Crowe. Would you write an article denouncing the Manchester United board for sacking David Moyes despite him being 10 months in a 6 year contract? Of course not. The opportunity to coach your home country doesn't come around often. In the case of Farbrace, this is likely to be his only opportunity. To not grab it would be madness. Anyone can resign from anywhere if they choose to do so.

  • Rally_Windies on April 22, 2014, 22:04 GMT

    It takes 2 to tango....

    KP did not leak confidential meeting minutes KP did not create a parody account and publicly ridicule his team mates

    KP did make a private message to his friend .....

    Yet.. KP was punished for (1) A private message which no one can explain how it got out into the public domain ! (2) For what he said in a meeting that was SUPPOSED to be private ..

    Yet was anyone punished for (1) Snooping and reading a fellow players private phone ? (2) Leaking meeting minutes to the press (3) Public acts of ridiculing a fellow team mate ?

    I'd say there are a LOT of other people who deserve punishment ..

    and If KP is to be banned then so should Broad and Moore and Downton ....

    the ECB behaviour is reminiscent of WICB !

  • on April 22, 2014, 20:18 GMT

    england had only one player who was a match winner,a big match player,an impact player. Kevin Pietersen. still,unfortunately enough,english men don't like him because of his attitude,they maintained double standards with him.Now the result of his dropping is out. english cricket team is struggling to win against the west indies. being bundled out for 88 vs nederlands. throughout his life KP has faced criticism, even when he played great knocks, there has been people pointing out that it's someone else's hard work for which he is being praised.for godsake, cricket is a team game.

  • mrmonty on April 22, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    I typically agree with most of what Martin puts forward. But, I would disagree with the theme of this article vehemently. Let's compare Australia and England's fortunes since Text-gate or Pietersen's supposed third chance. England would never, I repeat never would have won in India in 2012 without KP's innings in Mumbai; neither would England win that series (which I know is of course lesser than Ashes). In contrast, Australia would not have won the recent Ashes without Mitchel Johnson, at least by such demoralizing margin. So, to counter Martin's argument, there are times when individuals with sheer brilliance haul their respective teams over the finish line. It is easy to credit or blame the system, especially in retrospect.

  • simon_w on April 22, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    totally agree -- good riddance to Pietersen, and it really should have happened in 2012. the fact that it didn't is going to haunt us for a generation.

  • fguy on April 22, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    yes, Eng should not have brought him back in 2012. then probably we (India) would not have lost the series. those saying that Cook was the main batsman are wrong. Cook had made a 100 in 1st test too but did it help? when KP came in 2nd test the match was even. if it had been a bairstow or whoever & we'd gotten his wicket even a Cook 100 wouldnt have changed things. its all about the momentum & confidence that a innings like KP's 140 that gives to the side & all the confidence it sucks out of the opposition. if KP hadnt been there the scoreline would've been 2-0 india with Cook's form, at best, maybe fetching a draw.

    fact is a solid player like Cook needs a few batsman with flair around him else his inning by itself doesnt do much good as bowlers never feel totally out of it as they can chip away at the other end without too much damage in terms of runs.

  • 2MikeGattings on April 22, 2014, 18:45 GMT

    The decision to make Pietersen captain was self evidently disastrous. Apart from that, I disagree almost completely with this article.

    Time will tell whether the recent Ashes debacle was the right time to move Pietersen on. Pietersen is a impulsive character with a history of sudden betrayals. It was always going to end in tears. But, England got some damn good performances out of him over the years and he kept the fans happy.

    Perhaps his knee was shot anyway and clearly some kind of clear out was in order. But dumping on KP from such a great height looks a lot like an attempt to whitewash Cook.

  • AlexPG on April 22, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    Ian Jones - Whilst KP may only have played one major innings on that Indian tour, it was the series changing one. After the poor performance in the first test, England needed to do something in the second test or face crashing to a white wash (much like Australia did in India a few months later).

    When KP came to the crease India had posted a par first innings score, but with Trott and Compton back in the pavillion early there was the possibility of England facing a severe first innings deficeit and having to bat last on a rapidly deteriorating wicket. Whilst Cook batted majestically, KP was utterly dominant and turned the series by murdering the Indian spin attack. Which was fortunate as the rest of the England line up did collapse after the two centurions went.

    Along with KPs 149 against South Africa earlier in the year definitely the best innings I've been lucky enough to witness in test cricket.

  • cloudmess on April 22, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Perhaps the original mistake was in not giving KP a longer ban in 2012, say for 12 months. He was certainly out of order then with his conduct and deserved a more substantial punishment. England could then have assessed their other players to see how they fared and KP would have very much had to force his way back in. Instead, he missed a total of one test and a meaningless ODI series, which he would probably have been happy to sit out anyway. All of the England players who have spoken out since Sydney have questioned his more recent ban. Even Swann, KP's nemesis, does not seem to agree that KP was being divisive. Broad (another one not on KP's Christmas card list) still wanted him in the T20 side. There is very much a sense that Flower and the ECB are punishing KP retrospectively for 2012. But doing so now has certainly weakened English cricket, not least in having seriously limited their future coaching options, as Crowe rightly suggests.

  • Lakpj on April 22, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    It is true that KP is as flamboyant as his batting style but isn't it the responsibility of the coach and the captain to control all this and take him forward. Quite a few similar characters like Warne and Symonds played under Ponting but somehow he managed to get the best out of them and form one of the most formidable sides ever. Even Ponting was a notorious character when he was young but somehow Steve Waugh and whoever in charge at that time managed to groom him to test captaincy. In terms of tactics he was not the best but he managed to control and take the best from them. That is what England is lacking right now.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on April 22, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    Got to agree with MC on this 1.In funny sort of way for all problems b'cos of KP,expected cleanup by new mgmt.,by his removal still wont be of benefit to Eng team.Though much needed,ECB's move is 1 of solutions,problems are far to many in Eng cricket atm.

  • on April 22, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Viswanath - I think you need to check the stats from the India v England series. KP had 1 good knock in the 3rd Test. Cook scored 3 100s on the Test tour (KP only 1). They people who won that series were Cook, Monty and KP in 1 Test

  • on April 22, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    Players like Kevin Peterson,Sehwag are there for a reason. They are players who can hit a good ball and upset Bowler's rhythm and dismantle any Bowling attack. We cant have 11 Dravid's and say it is best Test Team. England dont have any batsmen who can come and stamp their authority on bowling attack. To win a Test match, you got to have heart to take risk, being conservative doesn't cut it.

  • iHitWicket on April 22, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    I would say Pietersen wasn't the wrong player. England were the wrong team. Cricket is a team sport where Individual excellence matters. It's hard to understand the mix of team and individual in process oriented countries like England and NewZealand. England feel's and perhaps is caught up in personal squabbles when winning matters. If you love to win above all else, you will excel. Each personal victory will add to the team belief. The Peitersen I saw was selfless while on the field. Selfless and imposing. What he is off the field needed to be better managed. Coach has to realize that coaching at that level is more managing different characters and not about determining the fate of the team.

  • jb633 on April 22, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    cont.. however even against Aus at home the scoring rates were going nowehere and guys like Joe Root, Bairstow, Kerrigan etc did not look up to top class international standards (contrast to when Trott came in 2009 for example and looked the finished article in his 1st test). The attitude we had in NZ should have been the biggest shock and we should have changed then. The batting on featherbeds was nothing short of garbage but the media kept lying to us saying in was a hangover of the Indian success. Nobody seemed brave enough to tackle the fundamental flaw that scoring at 2 runs r.p.o against top bowling will eventually lead to trouble. We were putting no pressure on the bowlers and were trying to soak up too much pressure. As soon as we faced an attack on top of their game we had nobody that could counter. The flair seemed to have been sucked out of the side as their was too much focus on playing hard cricket and not giving the wicket away. Eventually the pressure beat us.

  • jb633 on April 22, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    The decline of this England side is not a sudden phenomenon either. The media both English and international have skated over our fragile batting since 2011 and IMO our decline and a very sharp decline came in the UAE. We were whitewashed by one of the worst Pak sides we have played against and our batting was shown to be weak against top bowling. The media said it was just a problem with spin but the issue was far deeper. Against SA at home bar two innings from Cook (1st test) and KP (second test) we looked poor against good bowling. Against India we were brilliant but the bowling was poor again. NZ home and away we were tied up and our batting looked fragile against good bowling. With each series the scoring rates were getting lower and lower (e.g. 195-4 after day one of Lords test v NZ). Against Aus at home we beat a poor side becuase they had the ability to crumble with the bat.

  • jb633 on April 22, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    Mr Crowe, normally I agree with you but on this one you are way off the mark. To start with lets get KP (the batsmen) in perspective before we begin to think he was superhuman. His batting was poor in Aus and has been on the wane since 2008. Against SA in SA, Pak in UAE, NZ (first test) WI in WI he was poor. He had the capacity to play remarkable innings but I can't remember the last time he dominated an entire series. KP did not win the series in India on his own. Do not forget his innings of 186 came when we were in the driving seat becuase of Cook and Compton's solid opening partnership. His runs in SL came when Cook and Trott had piled them on and we were 200-2. In the Ashes 2010-11 he was coming in with the scores reading 180+ for 2. In the UAE, Aus 13-14, SA 09-10 when we were 2 down for nothing he generally made nothing. He played some top innings but his ego or even his lack of runs is not the reason we lost the ashes or even the fact we have declined.

  • magic_torch_jamie on April 22, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    I see why you end up with the position you do, Mr. Crowe (and wishing you all health!) but you seem to have arrived at one big negative on the basis of assessing a lot of small things together that were difficult calls and putting them all on the negative side of the ledger. Pietersen had to go. His stats can be what they like; he also contributed negatively to everyone else's and this cannot be quantified. A unity of approach does wonders (see, well, New Zealand, who often don't have the choice). Team England (I hate that, but still) will get on the right track with the new management but without a good spinner or enough dependable attacking batsmen won't get there immediately. The batting line-up could be boundary-light at first but there's enough seam bowling excellence to scare most countries.

  • on April 22, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    There has been a catastrophic failure to look at the reasons for England's malaise over the last two years, with their management, captaincy, tactics, selection, structure, coaching and attitude, while the ECB and this article simply shift the blame to Pietersen, the key player. As unpopular to some as his behaviour may be, you have to look at how often he was right.

    When Moores was sacked the first time, he had had a string of increasingly poor results and had lost control of the dressing room. There was no way he could carry on, and Pietersen, as brash as he is, was the only one who had the balls to say it. Getting rid of Moores was the best thing for England and set them on a winning path.

    Same thing Down Under. Cook's captaincy was not up to the job, England's tactics and preparation were worse than useless, and again, the coach had lost control of the class. Pretending it ain't so would achieve what, exactly?

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on April 22, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    Wow, really? KP was the reason England sort of surged back after the hiding SA gave them in 2012. Without him, they were lost and were being thrashed in their own backyard. KP came back to provide the much needed solidity and that spark that none of the other players seem to possess now. He also helped them retain the Ashes at home and was their best batsman in the disaster that was the Ashes away. He might be bothersome to the management because he voices his opinion but as a senior player, he has the right to. The management could not handle him at all since they have a blame and run mindset. They don't face the problem, they try to cover it up. Australia dealt with Warner in such a fantastic way. He too is egotistical and has anger issues but look at him now. If England is so threatened by free thought, they really can't get too far in the game.

  • balajik1968 on April 22, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    If the England management could not manage one player, they weren't much of a management were they? To blame KP for the Ashes defeat is daft. He failed, but he wasn't the only one. Trott, Swann, Prior fell apart. Cook, Bell did badly. Anderson was ordinary. Root was exposed as the series went on. The only ones who came out with some credit were Broad and Stokes. In the 2nd innings in Sydney, the whole team seemed to be in a hurry to go home, and were bowled out in 32 overs. How can you blame KP for this? Downton was wrong; it was'nt only KP who was disinterested in Sydney, it was the whole squad.

  • sirish.aditya on April 22, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    It is very easy to find reasons in the hindsight but way too hard to stand in a position of responsibility and take a call. If things had gone right after the Textgate incident, you'd have been commending the ECB on giving Pietersen enough leeway. Similarly, if Lehmann hadn't been coaching an Ashes winning side, I don't think he'd be given as much credit. Time gives us a perspective but in this case, you've handpicked facts to weave into your theory. I think KP is not as much a miscreant as made out by his detractors nor as gifted and irreplaceable as made out by his fans. He was a good player, one who brought joy to the game, and now that his time seems to be over it'd be good for us move on.

  • bitap on April 22, 2014, 11:45 GMT

    KP was like a power booster to the England team which otherwise played not to loose.KP was the shot in the arm which enabled them to win three Ashes.But if you keep taking these power shots regularly, you eventually get sick.That is what happened with England.Now they have decided to play without that power shot..it is going to be a difficult time in near future..

  • on April 22, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    England have one huge positive coming up: a series against India at home. India don't have a great opening pair which means the middle order duo of Kohli and Pujara will probably be in the middle in the first hour itself. And however well they may bat, they certainly can't do it every time. And that too in a 5-test series. Rahane still needs to prove himself more and Eng will be a big opportunity for him, if he uses it. The Indian bowling is badly messed up with only Mohd Shami looking promising. Zaheer is over the hill and Ishant never matured. And Ashwin is better batsman than a spinner. The Indians may never get around to making an inspired bowling selection and getting in the new chinaman bowler Yadav. They may also not play Pragyan Ojha making life easy for Eng.

  • on April 22, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    I don't quite endorse martin s views here.... can he explain how kp s behavior was related to the talent pool in England? even if kp had retired after Sep 2012- 1. eng would have lost the Indian tour in late 2012; 2. they would have faced the same problem as now a bit earlier.... Strauss trott swann and kp are all out now ; Anderson is past his prime and the other batsmen including cook are in terrible form... how can kp be responsible for all this?

  • vels79 on April 22, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    When England won in India wasn't KP the architect of their famous win in Mumbai? Give Aussies the credit, KP shud've been sacked after the text gate saga but England's poor performance in aus is not just becoz he was in the team!!!

  • on April 22, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    Unlike most of the people commenting against this article i am not a fan of Mr.Crowe (the writer only that is) for the same reason that i do not like this article.Handling KP was never going to be easy,you need good leaders to do that.In Pak Wasim handled Shoaib but Inzi could not,Imran Khan handled Abdul Qadir where others were having difficulty.If your captain cannot handle such players you loose out on great talent which whatever Mr. Crowe says KP undoubtedly was.Secondly, why does Crowe make the game so complicated?Aus won because of the magic and firepower of Johnson who not only got his belief and problems sorted out but also inspired his team mates,no one in that team "surprised" the world they all just played to their true potential.And England lost because their players were not ready for the pace test,nobody was so shocked when they lost to Pak 3 nil.Eng even at its peak was way too vulnerable with batsmen(except for Cook and KP) and bowlers only good in home conditions.

  • vigo_223 on April 22, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    Well Mr. Crowe, you have an amazingly short memory! KP was the only reason why England won the series in India in 2012. Without his 186 in Mumbai, I could easily see England going down 3-0 or even 4-0...almost every England series victory since 2005 has KP stamped over it, so it is shocking to see this turn of events!

  • tinkertinker on April 22, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    So England's biggest issue is their top batsmen and the top scorer in the ashes?

    England lost the ashes 5-0 and on the list of huge issues to deal with from that series kp would be down at about number 50, thinking that turfing him earlier would have avoided this recent slaughter is based on nothing factual.

  • cricketmad on April 22, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    agree with Martin Crowe that the time to move KP on was in 2012 after textgate. The sacking now has given KP martyr status. If ECB can steal Farbrace fom a team that is visiting England in 3 weeks, then perhaps SL should appoint KP for 3 months as "strategy consultant" for the duration of the England tour. It will certainly spice up the series!

  • on April 22, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    So.. KP is to blame for the mismanagement of Trott and Swann till they both broke down, dropping players like Nick Compton for having a single bad match, selecting 3 tall fast bowlers for Australia non of whom were fit to bowl in a test match, shoving Root up and down the order to unsettle him..

    Sorry, but the problem is that the England cricket team has been run as a private member's club, and entry is by invitation only, performance having only a peripheral role. KP is a symptom, not a cause.

  • gurumaster on April 22, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    There can be brilliance. There can be bad eggs. Sport is full of both and management to weak to deal with the latter for short term results.

  • deedeeess on April 22, 2014, 9:34 GMT

    I think you couldn't be more wrong Martin. It was the home series against South Africa which finally showed up the limitations of England's tactics and the ceiling it imposed on success. Under Flower and Strauss they had become the Caroline Wozniacki of cricket, ruthlessly consistent but lacking the aggression to dominate the best.

    Surely it would not be a wild inference to suggest that Pietersen's aggravating incidents are correlated to England being outplayed because their tactics are too negative. Pietersen's Headingley innings spoke louder than any supposed text message. This was, and remains a man who believes that England underachieved because they never aimed high enough, placing emphasis on secondary matters, i.e. team ethos and togetherness, rather than fostering an environment of daring to achieve greatness.

  • on April 22, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    problem isn't dropping kp, problem is why only kp. Rest of the team performed worse than kp in ashes so why only him. Yes some of the shots he played were ordinary, but what about bell most of his wickets were also of poor shots - infact most of the england batsman were poor because of soft dismisslas. Tim bresnan and monty were wastes - barely bowled and hardly lasted as batsmen. Bresnan leaked runs - mcg second innings he was going at almost 8 an over. Anderson didn't have his catches (a lot of sitters infact) taken. broad and stokes did well and that was it.

  • sknt on April 22, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    2 months ago, Martin Crowe had written an article on Pietersen, where he said that KP's dodgy knees would anyway have ended his career. He also refrained from making any comments on the controversies surrounding the batsman, saying that he was not in the knowhow of events which occurred exactly that had led to England abandoning him. Now, suddenly, Crowe seems all enlightened about everything that happened, suggesting all this bizarre theories including that KP should have been removed in 2012 itself. What has happened in this interim period which has given Crowe all this special knowledge? If anything, more people have come out in support of Pietersen, especially his colleagues, which makes Crowe's statements all the more difficult to understand.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on April 22, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    Interesting comments and agree entirely with the strong words regarding Farbrace. It really will be all about money if he leaves the Lankan winners for a total mess.

    I also agree that the KP "textgate" was the moment it all seemed to go wrong for England, but what was amazing at the time was how one player doing something very stupid brought the whole house down like a pack of cards. I suspect that either the foundations were already gone and that KP just unwittingly provided the tipping point or the leadership and management incompetence and over reaction was the real cause of the dramatic implosion.

  • jackiethepen on April 22, 2014, 9:01 GMT

    More mystification from someone half way round the globe and a million miles away from the truth. It's a pity Martin Crowe didn't read the articles written on Cricinfo by its own writers like Dobell and Kimber then he wouldn't present such a distorted picture of the Ashes failure. The collapse of the side had nothing to do with Kevin Pietersen. By the time England had reached the Sydney Test (so much referred to by Downton as the indication of what was wrong) England had lost their way entirely. Downton should have been there from the beginning and seen for himself the major mistakes and management mess that included the warmups as well as selection chaos - if he had bothered he could have spotted it in the summer in 2013. Or even if he had followed Flower's appalling management of the t20 side without KP and the one day side with endless different openers.

  • Gzero on April 22, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    England failed to handle KP the way Australia handled Watson & Warner.

    Managing player ultimately goes to captain & coach. Clarke & Lehman did it rightly. cook & flower couldn't.

  • steve48 on April 22, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    I am amazed at writing this, as a big fan of mr. Crowe, as a writer and player, but this article is terrible! Simplistic, biased and conveniently forgetting that in pressure situations against the sternest opposition KP has been a deciding factor in success or failure, I won't quote examples because we all know them. I reluctantly agree with the decision to sack him now, because having lost some strong characters and needing to bring in new players the fallout with Cook and the coaching methods leave KP a divisive influence. But has the coaching method not been an equally important factor in our demise? And is a senior player, and match winner not entitled to contribute his ideas on how best to perform? KP was hastily made captain, but he was not just removed in embarrassing fashion, he then had to endure coaching methods and structure the opposite of his own ideas. Fallouts were inevitable, but to lay all the blame on one man is laughable, and ignores his NEEDED contributions.

  • CricketFanInLosAngles on April 22, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    Come on. Everyone knew it was a short term arrangement of having Kevin Pieterson. It was purely for the Ashes. They cannot blame Pieterson for the Ashes failure. The team as a whole, the think tank and the management failed. Pieterson no doubt had problems and may have caused some headaches. But he should not be made the sole scape goat. It is pure and simple, they could not handle the pressure and could not handle Mitchell Johnson. Give the Aussies the credit and don't blame just one guy.

  • on April 22, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    England had a dream run from the 2009 Ashes to the 2013 Ashes in England. They suffered a defeat to SA in 2012, but that's understandable as the Saffers had a great side and were simply better. What some people forget is the whitewash inflicted by Pakistan on the Poms. England were the no.1 side according to the rankings and yet they were completely outplayed by a decent, but certainly not remarkable, Pakistan side. I don't think a genuine no.1 side would have been beaten so badly. They failed to read the conditions and had no idea how to deal with Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. England have quite a task ahead of them now. Pietersen is gone, Swann has retired, and Trott's future is doubtful. New batsmen like Root have not been too impressive, either.

  • Harlequin. on April 22, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    That's one way of looking at it, although the corollary is that if one player can cause a team to go from great to awful, then one player can cause a team to go from awful to great, and if there is one player responsible for the success of England over the past 10 years then it has to be KP. His innings at the Oval won us the '05 Ashes, which marked a huge turning point for English cricket, both in morale and interest in the game. He won the WT20, the only silverware England have ever won. He won us test series in Sri Lanka and India. He hasn't exactly been a model of consistency, but what he has done is scored runs and won matches when/where England have never been able to before. KP provided the belief that England could win anywhere, I don't think this should be underestimated.

  • shillingsworth on April 22, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    The first paragraph holds out promise, posing some interesting questions. From there it's all downhill. Apparently it's all about Pietersen and an Australian who doesn't bat, bowl. Lots of management speak but no mention of Trott and Swann or, even more bizarrely Harris and Johnson.

  • dunger.bob on April 22, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    .. cont.

    We are an aggressive, attacking sporting nation. The game is always there to be won from our point of view and we favour players who get out there and express themselves by charging in with the lance aimed squarely at the chest of the foe. It's how we are, take it or leave it, but we're at our best when we play like that.

    I guess I shouldn't be speaking for all Aussie cricket fans but I'd be very surprised, no, I would be shocked, if it was proven that I was wrong about how we like to see our team play.

    As muzika_tchaikovskogo bluntly points out, we're a long way from the finished article and have our own issues to cope with. He forgot to mention Ryan Harris as another who can't go on too much longer actually. .. the point is this though. At least we're doing it our way once again and that fact alone fills with hope and a certain amount of confidence for the future and that's something I just didn't have a year ago.

  • waspsting on April 22, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    I disagree very strongly with this.

    Sans Pietersen, England would probably have lost in India instead of won and if he'd played in the last Test against South Africa in England a couple years ago, they'd likely have won the match and held on to the #1 ranking.

    And this is leaving aside his 2005 debut series - England's greatest moment in God knows how long - they wouldn't have managed it without him.

    You lose 5-0 and blame one guy... when all kinds of guys let you down... I think its just finding a scapegoat stuff going on.

    He might not be the easiest guy to have in the dressing room, but he's a very fine player... I think the whole episode reflects more poorly on England's management than on KP

  • eggyroe on April 22, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    Once again,Martin Crowe has hit the nail on the head,Kevin Pietersen should have been shown the exit door in 2012 after the texting debacle.I do disagree with the premise about making Pietersen the scapegoat for the Ashes shambles because in my opinion he should not have been there in the first place.It is my understanding that there are confidentiality clauses that prevent the whole story of his dismissal from being made available to the paying fans.When these are made available and the whole story is in the public domain everybody can then make up their mind about what actually happened and who said what.This is not the first time England have dispensed with the services of a top class player,but the morale of the team comes first,and who knows the person chosen to take Pietersen's place in the Test Match side may actually turn out to be a better player and then it will be Kevin Who?.

  • MAK123 on April 22, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    If we keep KP's issue aside for a minute, one can easily see the selection blunders the English management did. Look for example, at the English bowling. I can't believe they did not have a better bowler than the west indies-born bowler (can't even remember his name). Finn warmed the bench during most of the Ashes series and in the end had to return heart-broken. What good did they see in Stoke who is not even good enough at county level? What about blooding new new players such as James Taylor? It looked as if the English management did not even lose KP, they lost their sense of judgement too in the process

  • on April 22, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Harsh eloquence by Mr. Crowe in holding up a mirror for team England to take a good look at themselves. Nuggets of wisdom included as well. For Cricket's sake, hopefully the right lessons are learnt followed by right action. Coach poaching for one does not seem advisable for the long run.

  • Deep_N on April 22, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    England can have Duncan Fletcher back... Mr Crowe, to blame the Ashes debacle on KP was in bad taste. Lets put it in simple way - the poms didnt knew how to handle KP, period.

  • ITJOBSUCKS on April 22, 2014, 5:27 GMT

    @siddhartha87 Get your facts correct!! ENG didn't beat SA in SA...They drew the test series in SA(KP performed poorly) & beat AUS in AUS mainly b'coz of cook, Ian bell & bowlers!!!

  • RoshJ on April 22, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    Nice piece Mr. Crowe...very well articuated!

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 22, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    Martin Crowe's comments on Australia's 'turnaround' are premature to say the least. The fact is, they have been brilliant at home and in South Africa, where conditions are closest to what they're familiar with. With Haddin, Harris and Rogers nearing the end of their careers and Johnson too not so far away, they'll soon need to start rebuilding.

  • on April 22, 2014, 4:18 GMT

    England won the series in India because of one man KP and ECB shouldnt boast themseleves of winning the series in India.. Kp deserves a better country than England. He is their scapegoat. Mark my words sri lanka and india are going to beat england in their upcoming tours.. Eng can win oly if they have kp..

  • on April 22, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Could the Pietersen issue be seen as a failure of mgmt ?

  • siddhartha87 on April 22, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    Swann,KP and Trott are of similar age. So sooner or later they would have retire together. Although i must say KP is greatest match winner for England in modern era and without Trott and Swann they have a very slim chance of doing well in 2015 wc But on the flip side they got players like Ballance and Taylor who are young and hungry. Cook and Bell needs to take forward this young batting line up on their shoulders similar to Clarke did a year ago after the retirement of Ponting and Hussey. Cook needs to lead by example more than ever now.

  • on April 22, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    they dnt knw k.p. is how importent 4 england

  • AnkCric on April 22, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    :):):) KP, you the easy scapegoat!!!

    Well, one 'might' agree to all the other allegations against him....But to make him the scapegoat for Ashes debacle..........that's extremely poor. Cook,Swann,Anderson,Prior....all misfiring b'coz of KP!!! Then he MUST be some blackMagicWeildingSorcerer :)

  • landl47 on April 22, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    I agree entirely with Martin Crowe's analysis of the way this situation developed, though I'm not as pessimistic as he is about the future. KP has been trouble for every side and every captain he has played for, including himself. There's a difference between 'slightly eccentric' and downright destructive and KP has been the latter. It's amazing to me that there are still people defending him.

    I do think that with KP, Swann and Trott all departing almost simultaneously, there is the opportunity to make a real fresh start. There are lots of talented young players (with the possible exception of spin bowlers) and it's up to Moores and Cook to bring them along as internationals. Patience will be needed, because most young players need time to mature, but if the right approach is taken then in a couple of years, when Australia and SA will be losing their key players, England will be getting to its peak. I'm looking forward to watching the side develop.

  • on April 22, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    I agree with this article, but on slightly different terms. Ever since Duncan Fletcher, the English set up has always been slightly arrogant in its refusal to select and invest in players based on consistently excellent county performances. I despair for Graeme Onions and Taylor especially. I applaud Flower's use of statistics and they no doubt helped England to reach the pinnacle of cricket in 2010-11. However, he and others must have recognised that cricket statistics are a good 10 years behind their American counterparts. Eventually, he might slip up as he did do in selecting Rankin and Tremlett based on height rather than performance. Not getting rid of Pietersen essentially told everyone that he was too good to let go, and that England did not have other options even though they clearly do. That is the tragedy of the situation. I think Moore's is sensible; his first coaching stint shows that he recognises the talent in England seeing as he brought back Swann and Anderson and Prior

  • on April 22, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    fantastic article again from marto........

  • siddhartha87 on April 22, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    before 2012 KP helped his team to win series in South Africa and Australia .India was left out.And he did that with a majestic 186 in a dust bowl.

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 22, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    At last, an article that does not have Tendulkar in focus. Good writing. But Martin, how could you Ben Stokes, who is originally form your country, and say that England have no talent coming up?

  • ThatsJustCricket on April 22, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Another one jumping the bandwagon of dumping all blame on a suitable scapegoat that was KP. Not entirely unexpected from a black cap, a team that hardly breeds 'once in a generation' stars, but, not quite expected from Martin Crowe, whose cricket knowledge is something I duly respect. A genius is often slightly eccentric and doesn't always fit into the 'one size fits all' management method of English cricket. That's where the ECB failed KP, not the other way round.

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  • ThatsJustCricket on April 22, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    Another one jumping the bandwagon of dumping all blame on a suitable scapegoat that was KP. Not entirely unexpected from a black cap, a team that hardly breeds 'once in a generation' stars, but, not quite expected from Martin Crowe, whose cricket knowledge is something I duly respect. A genius is often slightly eccentric and doesn't always fit into the 'one size fits all' management method of English cricket. That's where the ECB failed KP, not the other way round.

  • Cool_Jeeves on April 22, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    At last, an article that does not have Tendulkar in focus. Good writing. But Martin, how could you Ben Stokes, who is originally form your country, and say that England have no talent coming up?

  • siddhartha87 on April 22, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    before 2012 KP helped his team to win series in South Africa and Australia .India was left out.And he did that with a majestic 186 in a dust bowl.

  • on April 22, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    fantastic article again from marto........

  • on April 22, 2014, 3:23 GMT

    I agree with this article, but on slightly different terms. Ever since Duncan Fletcher, the English set up has always been slightly arrogant in its refusal to select and invest in players based on consistently excellent county performances. I despair for Graeme Onions and Taylor especially. I applaud Flower's use of statistics and they no doubt helped England to reach the pinnacle of cricket in 2010-11. However, he and others must have recognised that cricket statistics are a good 10 years behind their American counterparts. Eventually, he might slip up as he did do in selecting Rankin and Tremlett based on height rather than performance. Not getting rid of Pietersen essentially told everyone that he was too good to let go, and that England did not have other options even though they clearly do. That is the tragedy of the situation. I think Moore's is sensible; his first coaching stint shows that he recognises the talent in England seeing as he brought back Swann and Anderson and Prior

  • landl47 on April 22, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    I agree entirely with Martin Crowe's analysis of the way this situation developed, though I'm not as pessimistic as he is about the future. KP has been trouble for every side and every captain he has played for, including himself. There's a difference between 'slightly eccentric' and downright destructive and KP has been the latter. It's amazing to me that there are still people defending him.

    I do think that with KP, Swann and Trott all departing almost simultaneously, there is the opportunity to make a real fresh start. There are lots of talented young players (with the possible exception of spin bowlers) and it's up to Moores and Cook to bring them along as internationals. Patience will be needed, because most young players need time to mature, but if the right approach is taken then in a couple of years, when Australia and SA will be losing their key players, England will be getting to its peak. I'm looking forward to watching the side develop.

  • AnkCric on April 22, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    :):):) KP, you the easy scapegoat!!!

    Well, one 'might' agree to all the other allegations against him....But to make him the scapegoat for Ashes debacle..........that's extremely poor. Cook,Swann,Anderson,Prior....all misfiring b'coz of KP!!! Then he MUST be some blackMagicWeildingSorcerer :)

  • on April 22, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    they dnt knw k.p. is how importent 4 england

  • siddhartha87 on April 22, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    Swann,KP and Trott are of similar age. So sooner or later they would have retire together. Although i must say KP is greatest match winner for England in modern era and without Trott and Swann they have a very slim chance of doing well in 2015 wc But on the flip side they got players like Ballance and Taylor who are young and hungry. Cook and Bell needs to take forward this young batting line up on their shoulders similar to Clarke did a year ago after the retirement of Ponting and Hussey. Cook needs to lead by example more than ever now.

  • on April 22, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Could the Pietersen issue be seen as a failure of mgmt ?