15 August 2012

Like children in the playground


You'll have noticed my lack of comment on the whole Kevin Pietersen debacle.   That's partly because of work/childcare etc, but partly because I don't know what to make of it.   KP is clearly like an only child who needs constant care and attention or otherwise he throws a tantrum.   Some of the players (e.g. Broad, Swann and Anderson) show so much petulance at times that you wonder if they're really past adolescence too so I assume they dig at him relentlessly.   All in all it amounts to a skirmish that resembles children bickering in the playground.

It's easy to give an opinion and without all the facts it's likely to be wrong.   But from what's in the public domain it's clear that Pietersen wanted to play the whole IPL and there will be others hoping that he'll pave the way for them, such as Morgan who apparently came to KP's defence on Twitter.   In that respect, Pietersen is playing the role of the elder child testing the parents' patience - he may not be successful, but I suspect the ECB will be a little more understanding with Morgan requests the same at some point.

I imagine most readers of Cricket Burble will be extremely anti-Pietersen.   I've not got a strong opinion.   Knowing the detail that Strauss and Flower plan with though, I think they'll be cursing themselves for not treating Pietersen with all the care and attention he feels he needs.   It's easy to say that he needs to fall in with the team ethic, but some players need love and adoration more than others, and all need bespoke handling to get the best out of them.   It would be interesting to know if Strauss and Flower have spent time thinking in detail about what could motivate Pietersen to new heights and ensure that he and his team mates gel....and then put in place that individual plan.

When West Indies toured here, much was made by the commentators about the fact that their most talented players weren't playing such as Gayle, Sarwan and Jerome Taylor.   It was said then that it was the job of the management to ensure that these characters were integrated and moulded into the best possible team for the West Indies.  

I don't hear anyone saying the same about England's management of Pietersen.   Being hard on Pietersen is acceptable (under the assumption that it leads to mid and long-term benefit for the England team), but only if at the same time they're reiterating to the rest of the team that all characters need to be integrated into the team.   It's not a popularity contest....it's about getting the best XI on the pitch to win for England, and Pietersen is undoubtedly in England's best XI.   It's both Pietersen and the ECB's responsibility to find a compromise, and the rest of the player's responsibilities to reintegrate him.

Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

Dhiraj said...

Without knowing the full facts it is difficult to pick a side here, but I'm going to err on the ECB's side.

I agree with you Ed, that there are a few players who 'banter' with KP and may cross the line now and again, but why would KP say anything 'provocative' about Strauss and Flower?

Both are extremely professional and I doubt would engage in the same sort of behaviour as Swann or Broad.

The ECB gave Pietersen a longer than normal spell in the IPL this year so they have tried to accommodate him where possible, but their refusal of his suggestion from retiring from 50 over cricket but still playing 20:20 was correct for the long term future of 50 over cricket, which I hope he acknowledged.

Pietersen has not helped himself by apologising through advisers and email. Nor are his celebrity supporters helping his cause either.

Whether he plays again depends on how much pride he swallows. But I feel there is more to come which specifically relates to Pietersen's thoughts on the two Andys.