Boeta Dippenaar, former South African test cricketer said on DSTV’s “Inside Edge” the innings Kevin Pietersen played for England against the Proteas at Headingley is one of the ten bests in history. Arguably, I would say; but it was most certainly an extraordinary knock which saved England.
In a dramatic change of mood, worse than Lemony’s Snicket’s “series of unfortunate events”, Pietersen, after the test, told reporters in a press interview that he had enough of England’s cricketing politics and that the next test at Lords might be his last.
Pietersen openly admitted the feud between him and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and he basically said he had enough of that.
He hinted that contents of a private discussions he had with the ECB was leaked to the media who accused Pietersen of once again grabbing the limelight at a time when England was playing for their number 1 test position and when the team should have made the headlines.
In the interview, far from the “extraordinary verbal attack” reported by the media, Pietersen said it became custom to blame him.
Bob Willis certainly did that when he speculated that greed is the agenda for Pietersen’s shocking threat. He said Pietersen is holding England at random by threatening to quit test cricket.
However, if the leak of a private conversation happened, and everything indicates it did, there is merit behind Pietersen’s accusation that the ECB breached the good will between the parties and that they are not to be trusted.
Pietesen’s displeasure with the ECB is an open secret and although many reckons the star batsmen overplayed his “greedy” hand by expecting the best of all worlds, the problems are probably caused by a total lack of respect and trust between Pietersen and the ECB.
Whatever the England media and the microphone brigade make of Pietersen’s agendas and “unpatriotic” behaviour, the ECB is not the fairy in this bizarre tale.
Only once; when the Proteas toured England in 2008 Pietersen showed an animated love for the Kingdom and the ECB. After that it was clear for all to see that the ECB was using their former captain and that the gifted player returned the honours.
The ECB has not been faithful or nice to Pietersen in the past. In an article in the Telegraph Geoffrey Boycott, who also had his differences with the ECB in his playing days, “painted” the scenery that lead to Pietersen’s resignation from England’s ODI team: “The ECB was not thrilled with the timing of Kevin’s decision. You could tell he (Hugh Morris, managing director of ECB) was peeved and miffed that Kevin had gone public at that moment.”
“Hugh would probably like to tell Kevin to get knotted and not pick him – even for Tests. He would like to say: See what that does for your profile, not playing any international cricket at all. But, hang on a minute; is not this the same Hugh Morris who sacked Kevin as captain over the telephone in 2009?’”
According to Boycott, Kevin was flying to London for a meeting at Lord’s when he was sacked over the phone: “Hugh could not wait to do the decent thing and tell Kevin face-to-face that he was being replaced. No, he just blurted it out over the phone with no thought for the player’s feelings.”
Boycott makes no secret that he regarded Morris’ handling of the sacking as ill-mannered and a blatant attempt to humiliate KP publicly: “What goes around comes around. So Hugh Morris and the ECB are not really in a position to complain.”
It is not only the ECB who is backstabbing Pietersen and downplaying his greatness. Mike Gatting, former England cricket captain and columnist says if Pietersen goes it is merely a matter of replacing him. Gatting mentions young James Stewart as a replacement. This is typical of the type of arrogance that finally got Pietersen to a point where he had enough of England cricket.
Nothing can camouflage the knowledge that an England batting line-up without Pietersen would be tentative, to say the least. There is no other KP in the kingdom and only a hand full in the world.
In fact, for decades now England could not produce eleven competent cricketers to keep their flag hanging at the same time.
Alec Stewart is far more realistic and he openly said the loss of Kevin would be a tragedy for England. Stewart sensibly suggested that the ECB and Kevin sit down and redefine their relationship.
Kevin Pietersen is an egoist of epic proportions but he is not to blame for the chaotic rivalry between him and the ECB.
The ECB wants 100% commitments from their foreign players but give none in return.
I, for one still wonder why Jonathan Trott found it necessary to say he misses London when he visits Cape Town. He said it days before the first test at the Oval. Why did he have to express his loyalty to England so graphically?
Anyway; speculations have it that Pietersen will be dropped for the Lord’s test. If it happens, and the ECB does not have the balls to go that far, England can kiss there number one position in test cricket goodbye.
Without Kevin the Proteas will find Lords a secure and pleasant outing.
My guess is KP finally through the gauntlet down and that the ECB is scurrying to maintain his greatness and to save face.