Personality vs performance: would you have dropped Pietersen?
England's Kevin Pietersen runs to the Balmy Army on the hill in celebration after making his double century on the third day of the second Ashes test at the Adelaide Oval, Sydney, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010.(AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
Despite the forced retractions and half-hearted mea culpa, it seems Kevin Pietersen has played his last game for England, after he was dropped from the Test side before the series decider against South Africa.
Not even a fluffy YouTube video or a century in the second Test could save KP, following allegations he sent text messages during play to his Proteas opponents, with particularly disparaging content about England captain Andrew Strauss.
Pietersen has never been regarded as a team player. With a vain, arrogant, swaggering external persona, the 32 year-old has a history of crying poor when things didn’t go his way.
Despite his undoubted star quality, throughout his first-class career Pietersen has almost always managed to polarise the dressing room by putting his own needs ahead of the team. On leaving Natal he overlooked his own poor stats and blamed a (admittedly faulty) quota system for a lack of opportunities.
At Notts, captain Jason Gallian threw KP’s gear off the dressing room balcony in response to some on-field banter between the two.
Pietersen is again in the wrong here. He signed a centralised contract with the ECB and then wanted to play when it suited him, threatening to retire if his employer didn’t play ball.
He bluffed. The ECB called.
But the fact remains, England need to win the third Test at Lord’s to retain top spot on the ICC Test rankings. Pietersen is (with Trott) their best player, and his 149 in the last Test showed he’s in great touch. There’s no ready-made replacement. On paper, the side will suffer.
The selectors have drawn a line in the sand – they believe Pietersen’s negative impact on the dressing room would have outweighed the runs he would contribute.
It’s a weird one because the player is in form. It’s common knowledge Shane Warne didn’t see eye-to-eye with Steve Waugh or Adam Gilchrist, but he remained an integral part of the team on their record winning streak.
Nicolas Anelka continued to be signed by football clubs with big plans and bigger chequebooks, despite a reputation for selfishness and causing disharmony.
It seems the days of a skipper dressing down an out-of-line player may be over
Personally I like the stance the ECB have taken, but the players now need to back it up at Lord’s.
What would you have done with KP?
The Ashes journey begins
The Australian cricket team have left Australia to begin their tour of England, with a mission to reclaim the Ashes.
Australian captain Michael Clarke and his teammates were optimistic about their chances before jetting off.
Click here to hear the thoughts of our Australian cricket team as they left for England.