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Does the ECB's handling of Kevin Pietersen now seem justified?

(AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN)
Roar Rookie
13th October, 2014
4

There has been a lot of discussion regarding Kevin Pietersen’s recently released autobiography and his version of the truth.

There have been three different reactions.

If you focus on KP, it seems very silly not to get along with coach and captain. The book reveals only minor and petty issues which could have been dealt with by a more emotionally mature individual.

If you focus on the England and Wales Cricket Board, it is damning that all along it was implied we would know the real reasons for Pietersen’s axing once the confidentiality period ended, but now all we get is a leaked dossier which accuses him of looking out the window in a team meeting.

If you look at it from English cricket, it is sad that so much mud-slinging is going on. James Anderson – not a great fan of KP and a supporter of coach Peter Moores – said that KP was summarily dismissed without given a chance to explain himself (by Andy Flower and Paul Downton), which is why he has exposed so much dressing room dirt in the book.

Many English fans are for Pietersen, and want to hold the ECB accountable, but a lot of Englishmen – and especially many sports journalists inside the cricketing circles – perceive a self-centred player just ranting.

As a neutral fan it is a shame KP wasn’t given more of a chance, but it was always fated to end this way.

On Cricinfo, Ed Smith provided a wonderful explanation of what drives KP and how such a sorry ending could have come about, without taking sides. His basic argument is that KP’s ego is an indication of his drive to achieve greatness, and as long as he remained great, his disruptive influence inside the team could be tolerated.

But once KP came back to the ranks of the ordinary (due to fitness issues and troublesome knee) he became excess baggage to the team.

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Derek Pringle – a journalist embedded deep inside English cricket – explains that KP was on probation after text-gate affair and a minor indiscretion after that was enough to bar him permanently from the team.

Fair point, but this was not the official reason given by the ECB, who unofficially accused him of being disengaged but are yet to give an official reason a full 10 days after raising the embargo.

KP’s situation can also be compared and contrasted with Cricket Australia’s handling of Andrew Symonds and Simon Katich.

After a few well-known incidents, very strict anti-drinking clauses were inserted into Symonds’ contract. A subsequent violation put him afoul of the contract and he was sacked from the team. Very similar to KP’s sacking but in this case there was a clear contract and a clear violation, so Cricket Australia could point to a transparent way of handling his violations

In Katich’s case, the need for central contracts ensured that he was prematurely dropped from the team and this is very similar to how the KP issue was handled by ECB. In the days before central contracts the selectors could have quietly and independently gone ahead with their decisions, but now the administrators and lawyers are involved, creating unnecessary drama.

Ideally KP could have been picked for the World T20 which followed the Ashes, and his Test selection could have been made based on first-class form and fitness in the county championship. It would have been very simple and there wouldn’t have been any controversies.

I agree with King Cricket’s conclusion that “At the moment, the corpse of KP’s career is like the victim in Murder on the Orient Express, where every suspect (including the victim somehow) has blood on his hands.”

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