Boycs comparing him, Botham and KP
“Don’t even think of saying that Botham and Boycott were talented, awkward buggers but helped win matches and that someone had to man-manage them. We never rubbished our captains to the opposition while playing with them. It is insulting to put us in the same bracket.”
So says the legendary former star batter and immensely controversial Sir Geoffrey Boycott about Kevin Pietersen.
Uhum…, well let’s ponder over this for a while – let us digest this loaded statement whilst I provide some context.
Boycs performing the perfect betrayal
Sir Geoffrey Boycott, probably the biggest thorn in the side of the ECB before KP Pietersen burst on the scene, made a complete about turn over the merits of the star batsman’s fight with the ECB.
Not too long ago Boycott publicly declared his support for KP in his rift with the ECB. Boycott was clear that the ECB had not been faithful to Pietersen in the past and that the entire dilemma was caused by Hugh Morris, Managing Director of the ECB, when he telephonically fired KP as captain of the England test team.
“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 is clear on the fact 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.”
But, in his most recent column in The Telegraph Boycott says England’s best cricketer must again publicly apologize to Andrew Strauss, his team-mates and England’s cricket lovers for his behavior.
Boycs ignoring the facts
Now here is the thing: Boycott adequately illustrated that the rift between KP and the ECB was not caused by the batter. The most recent fallout was also not caused by KP.
Pietersen had sensitive discussions with the ECB, prior to the Protea-tour and content of that private discussion was leaked to the press by the Board.
The media then accused KP of stealing the limelight whilst the spotlight should have been on the England team. Given the context, that everybody in the UK now seems to ignore, KP had reason to be miffed with the ECB.
Team mates of KP decided to rubbish the former South African on a social network and the ECB turned a blind eye; practically stating that they are okay if anybody in their fraternity finds it acceptable to humiliate KP publicly.
Probably at this stage KP sought the camaraderie off his Protea-friends and sent a few SMS’s. It is not that he sent SMS’s to perfect strangers and people he did not know. No, he sent it to friends from a country he was born and raised in. He sent it to fellow South Africans whom he was raised with on cricket venues back in the Republic.
Then KP talked to the media about the things that bother him in the England cricket setup.
Rather than to apologise to KP for leaking information about a private discussion to the media or to expose the England players behind the derogatory social network the ECB focussed on the SMS’s. To cover its own behind the ECB made a scandal over the SMS’s.
For the umpteenth time they proved what Boycott claimed before: they want absolute loyalty but will not return any.
In the meantime KP apologised, twice. Boycott now wants him to do so again.
In his latest column Boycott wrote this gem: “Richard Burton and Liz Taylor were the great love story of the last 50 years. They got married and then divorced. They tried to mend fences and got married a second time but it lasted a few fleeting months. They loved each other but could not live with each other and that is the problem for England and KP.”
So, that is objective; but still Boycs do not advice the ECB to do the honorable thing and to apologize to KP.
Boycott the king of rubbishing
KP has been around long enough for students of the sport to spot the similarities between his career and that of Boycott. The truth is that their experiences as England cricketers and especially with the ECB and teammates show remarkable similarities.
Boycott was an egocentric and eccentric cricketer who did thing his way and not necessarily according to team plans.
Like Boycott, Pietersen served England with distinction and both “parted ways” with the ECB’s over the captaincy of the National team.
In his prime Boycott sat out 30 tests when Mike Deness was preferred as England captain ahead of him.
Can Boycott in all honesty say that he did not rubbish Deness?
No he cannot because he went about far more graphically than KP ever did to show his anger with Deness and the ECB. He went so far as to sit out; to refuse to be on the same field as Deness. He stabbed England in the back by boycotting the ECB and Deness.
So let’s rephrase Boycotts statement: “Let us say that Boycott was a talented, awkward bugger who helped win matches and that someone had to man-manage him. Boycott never rubbished his captain to the opposition; he rather humiliated his captain by refusing to take the field with him.”
KP a chip off the old block
Geoffrey Boycott and KP Pietersen, in different eras, brought England a new aura by challenging and breaking down the boring, socially correct stiff upper lip approach of the ECB and England cricket.
The tension both had with the “brotherhood” of bosses intensified when the ECB increasingly portrayed them as disloyal and self-centred cricket entrepreneurs.
Despite their overwhelming successes for England, Pietersen and Boycott never won the affection from either the ECB or their teammates.
Captaincy is not the only thing that ties Boycott and KP in their dislike for the ECB.
Both showed little respect for their bosses’ comfort zones and in many respects they dismissed the Board as a backstabbing fraternity who need their employees to perform but feel challenged and insecure when they do.
Neither KP nor Boycott had the time or idiosyncrasies to polish others’ marbles or to respect their protocols.
The more Boycott points out that he was nothing like KP the more apparent it becomes that it is indeed a case of the chip and the old block.