Cook Blames ECB For Pietersen Debacle

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We’ve waited almost three years for this. And I can only applaud Alastair Cook, now free of the captaincy, for finally having his say on the ECB’s handling of the Kevin Pietersen debacle. Better late than never eh.

Although some won’t be prepared to take Cook at his word, I personally believe his testimony backs up what I thought from the start: that the real villains of the piece were the hapless and spineless ECB not the captain. The board were primarily the ones who wanted Pietersen gone because they needed a scapegoat and KP had always been a thorn in their side. Then, having driven that decision, they were quite happy to sit back and let Cook take the heat; therefore Cook became an indirect victim of the whole affair too.

Here’s what our former skipper said today. And if you’re Paul Downton, or one of the other ECB stooges who handled things badly and then ran for cover, it makes particularly awkward reading. The quotes are taken from Cricinfo (who borrowed them from Sky):

I felt like it wasn’t handled particularly well by the ECB. I know I was the lightning rod for it, every person thought it was my decision. I felt I bore the brunt of that, unfairly in my personal opinion. As much power you get as England captain, you don’t have the ultimate decision on that sort of thing.”

Yes, I was part of the decision making, as six or seven other people were. I didn’t actually have that final trigger and I felt as if I was the only person who made that decision. I felt a little bit let down by the ECB by that one period where they kind of left me out to dry a little bit. But that’s all gone now. It’s part and parcel of the challenge of being captain. I can’t say now I have any regrets. I’ve tried, whether I got it right or wrong, to do what was the best for English cricket at that time.

I have argued from the start that Cook was in a weak position after the Ashes whitewash (he probably knew he was lucky to keep his job) and was probably in no state of mind to make a stand over a player who was sometimes difficult to handle; therefore he was quite happy to go along with the board’s wishes.

However – and this is the key point here –  Cook wasn’t the main person driving the decision, so the Cook versus Pietersen narrative that some journalists and supporters propagated (where the board were merely making a stand for their captain) was essentially bogus. I think the above testimony substantiates my position.

Although I disagreed passionately with the decision to sack KP, I could actually empathise with Alastair’s position at the time. I might even have done the same if I was him. After all, we all know what happens to players who go against the grain. Cook had his own career and family to think about; therefore I believed it was unfair to demonise him. Indeed it might be an uncomfortable thought but those who ended up blaming Cook actually fell into the ECB’s trap.

Although I could understand where the ill feeling towards Cook came from, especially in the light of Giles Clarke’s abhorrent ‘right sort of family’ comments, I hope people will now forgive Alastair to some extent. Some might disagree – I remember Maxie and I arguing about this in the pub once! – but I always trusted the board less than Cook. After all, Alastair had always seemed like a decent bloke whereas the board had a whole history of misdemeanours behind them.

Consequently I’m glad that Alastair has finally had the opportunity to mount his defence. As for the ECB, when someone as mild mannered as Cook puts the boot in then you know you’ve bungled something horribly. The men largely responsible for the Pietersen debacle have now moved on – so there’s no point storming the barricades – but I hope all the England fans who originally gave the board the benefit of the doubt will finally admit they were wrong.

In my humble interpretation the bottom line is this: the ECB needed a post Ashes scapegoat so they picked the most convenient one (the South African they’d wanted to get rid of for some time) but misjudged the public mood and underestimated the shit-storm it would cause. When they realised that they’d miscalculated they “hung out to dry” one of English cricket’s most loyal players while they hid behind confidentiality agreements. Shame on them.

Maybe people will realise now why it’s so important to scrutinise everything the ECB do, and why it’s so hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. Now that Alastair has broken his silence, perhaps more players will come forward and support his story? I certainly hope so.

James Morgan

127 Comments

  1. Oh wow. That is certainly going to put the cat among the pigeons. Shame he didn’t come clean at the time. Well you said it at time, indeed you did and we all concurred. Aggers and usual suspects in media denied it all. Even up to day before last Aggers was telling P. Morgan he was deluded to think Cook was part of the decision-making. Boy this puts a different perspective on it all.

    • Bit late to this, but I see two possible conclusions to draw from Aggers saying that.
      1 – He was just telling a bald lie.
      or 2 – He’s not half as close to Cook as he’d like to believe, or as close as he said he was within 30 minutes of the resignation announcement on Monday.
      Liar or deluded?
      Sadly, that’s the question I’ve been asking myself about so many of the press these last few years.

      • And by the way, I also thought this was a very fair and penetrating piece, James. Having read over a few articles in different places, it’s so easy to lose sight of one’s point as the subject brings back every bone of contention of the last 5 years. I thought this article used Occam’s razor very well.

  2. Hopefully this won’t take us back to those dark times 3 years ago when it seemed you either pro KP or anti KP (it really was never that simple)

    Everyone knows it cant have been Cooks decision alone, I’m sure he was asked his input and also as he was going to carry on as captain, I’m sure he was aware that he was the one was going to have to front it out. He could have resigned there and then if he didn’t feel he could do it.
    A committee decided English cricket needed to move on from KP , it was handled badly and he probably should have just been dropped.
    Cook was part of that committee.

    Whilst I have no desire ti go over old ground, For what its worth I don’t think they did misjudge the public mood, I’ve come across many, many more anti KP than pro. And the anti KP feeling has grew stronger with his and his friends behaviour.

    • You’ve said exactly what I’d have said, Neil. All I would add is that the vitriol has been building again on Twitter as a result of the execrable Piers Morgan throwing out frankly disgraceful tweets about Cook in a totally transparent attempt to pour petrol on the fire once more. I do hope people don’t oblige the disgraced ex tabloid editor.

      • Madaboutcricket on

        It’s a disgrace that a captain and supppsed leader didnt stand up for one of his players.. his best player too

        • But reading between the lines he seemed to agree with the decision……just not the fact that he was left alone in the firing line. However I would agree that, if he believed KP had to go, then he should have looked to broker some less acrimonious departure. Perhaps that was never possible but I would like to know if he even tried.

          • They should’ve just dropped Pietersen. I bet Cook didn’t want to publically sack him, get the lawyers involved, draw up a shit list of misdemeanours etc. That’s the point. It was the ecb who wanted blood and a scapegoat. Plus Cook had nowt to do with the T20 side etc. Why would he object to KP playing that? I think it’s clear everything was board led. After all, let’s not forget that KP wasn’t recalled after his 300 for Surrey specifically because (in Strauss’s words) ‘trust issues between KP and the board’.

            • In which case he really should have shown leadership and done one of two things – resign or make a public statement at the time outlining his position as you describe it and dare the ECB to sack him.

            • so you honestly believe that if KP had been dropped, there wouldn’t have been a furore over that as well. Piers Morgan and Co. would have been on the air waves lambasting everything and everyone if this had taken place. So it was a lose lose scenario for the ECB and Cook.

  3. Somebody who I engage with on Twitter who is a huge Cook fan has just said he is amazed at how all KP fans can see no wrong in him. I have replied and told him not to make assumptions this is the trap the Cook supporters have fallen into. KP supporters have been totally demonised as has he. I get so fed up with people thinking that because I thought KP’s treatment was appalling that I am what is called a ‘fanboy’.

        • Cancel my last James I am not sorry, it’s suddenly dawned on me that unless one agrees with the narrative of this blog, and challenges some downright ridiculous assumptions, then one is blocked. Almost Trumpian I would suggest.

          • The problem is you calling it ‘outright stupidity’. You can disagree with people but don’t insult them. Re: blocking people who don’t agree with the perspective of the blog, did I remove any of your comments criticising my article yesterday? No. You’re entitled to disagree. But if you’d called me stupid I might have. I want everyone to feel welcome here, regardless of perspective, perceived intellect, whatever.

            • well you are definitely not stupid James, but some of the comments on here are a mixture of speculation and rumour. People who try and back up their strange theories on the ECB , KP, Cook, and the whole sad and sorry episode,, have to be asked to back them up with fact.

    • Quite right Elaine. Therein lies the rub. Such a really stupid assumption. And yet usual suspects will continue to say that because they won’t engage. We all know KP was a loose cannot but as Vaughan said, KP was not a problem for him and he had a team of mavericks. Clearly, Cook didn’t have the skills to manage brilliant players with a bit of attitude. Cook was not a good captain but a very fine batsman. He was used and abused by the ECB just as KP was – as we now find Cook admitting himself. So please stop pigeon-holling everyone. Thank you.

      • Indeed. There are bandwagons and there are those who grovel for peer approval out there so you get “hey, I’ve just posted something rude about KP. Please can I join the club?” Very sad really

        • The only bandwagons I witnessed was the ones that tore lumps out of Cook over KP’s dismissal. I think you will find that KP has a fan club that would love to see him installed in the team even now. Such is their devotion and delusion.

        • It most certainly is Benny. Brearley managed some very difficult players. Bearing in mind that Brearley replaced Botham which could have more than ruffled feathers. It didn’t. Brearley brought the best out in Botham and Willis. Vaughan had the same management skills. Vaughan said that a captain has to listen to his players and take on board what they say but the Captain has to make the final decisions himself. My abiding memory of Vaughan in 2005 Ashes – the best ever IMHO. Boycott was commentating. “What on earth is Vaughan doing putting a man out there?” Next ball and “man out there” gets easy catch. Boycott: “Oh that’s why he put a man out there!” Yes Vaughan, like Brearley, was an exceptional Captain. Sadly, we have gone backwards. Clarke, Downton, Strauss, and the silent CEO. Unless there is truly a radical change at the top I can see England Cricket not achieving what they truly could in future.

  4. “The men largely responsible for the Pietersen debacle have now moved on”

    Really? Surely one of the six or seven is the current ‘Technical Director of Elite Coaching’.

    A very believable speculation would be that it was he who was feeding the narrative to a pliant Downton who was keen to be seen to flex his muscles and make “big and difficult decisions”

      • of course it isn’t. Very few people know the details of what happened, so all one can do is speculate.

        What I do know is that I’d not take anything smaller than 200-1 that Flower was arguing for KP’s continued inclusion in the side.

        • So how do you explain KP getting back in the side for the India tour. Or are have you heard a rumour from someone who knows a man who has his haircut near Lords that this was all against Flowers wishes

        • One of the prime movers has been Giles Clarke. He set the tone & culture in he England game and international. He’s wrecked England a more less wrecked ICC. Flower had passed his set-by date and should have been removed. Downton was his lap dog who did the deeds as required and sacked for being loyal to Mr Clarke. All very sad indeed.
          I agree with you Lionel. Furthermore, it would seem the leaks to some of the media at the time was untrue. Cook getting his revenge on the ECB shows just how unhappy he has been for a very long time. Hardly surprising.

    • Yes Flower is the one exception who is still employed by the ECB. But he was removed as coach … small victory I guess.

      • I think many, myself included, would struggle to feel disgruntled with any decision made by the ECB on Pietersen, had they waited to appoint a new coach first and then sat down with him and Cook and discussed whether they felt they could include Pietersen or not.

        And of course that coach could seek the opinion of Flower if he chose to.

        It made no sense to involve a man who was departing on the decision and even less sense not to involve his successor. Indeed, even after Data Moores’ sacking, and with no replacement, Strauss seemed to make it quite clear that such a decision was irreversible and would never be part of a coach’s remit.

        And this seems particular relevant now, because it’s entirely consonant with Cook’s words and your interpretation.

  5. Even KP didn’t blame Cook and whilst what he has said might be true, Cook has quite a lot of form in blaming others when it suits him. In addition I’d add:

    1. the quid pro quo was the ECB’s and the tame cricket press backed him (and still do) unequivocally following the decision (so he got his 30 pieces of silver in return); and
    2. what difference does it make – he was willing to collude with a group on a corrupt decision to save his own bacon.

    Odd too that he feels sufficiently strong enough to publically criticise his employers. We know that’s not acceptable – oh the fucking irony.

    So he’s gone down again in my estimation today but hey-ho that’s just my thoughts.

    • Hi Jomesy. I disagreed passionately with the decision to sack KP. But perhaps Cook was genuinely doing what he thought was best for the team? It’s obvious that the dressing room was split. He said 6-7 (?) players agreed with the decision, which implies 4 or 5 didn’t. Just to play devil’s advocate for a second, how else could Cook have created unity in these circumstances? Maybe he thought (albeit wrongly) that removing Pietersen would help.

      • William,Atherton et al on

        Again. I am not having a dig here James, but I have noticed that you have stated that Cook cannot be rated a truly great batsman, as he didn’t face the greats of the early noughties, nineties etc. I agree by the way, Atherton batted against some true geniuses and some scary geniuses at that. But KP apart from his Ashes winning tour de force at the Oval didn’t either. Don’t get me wrong I thought KP a genius as well, but he never faced the great Windies, Saffer, or Pakistan attacks. Makes the likes of Gooch, Gower efforts all the more laudable

        • William, Pietersen played two series against the great Australian attack and averaged over 40 on both occasions (compared to Cook’s one series and an average of 27).

          Pietersen also played one series against Steyn-Philander and scored that 149 at Headingley. People who accuse Pietersen of sabotaging the team overlook that England would in all probability have been whitewashed in that SA series in 2012 without that Pietersen innings.

          It’s fair to say that Pietersen did play in the era of weak bowling attacks and did have it easier than players of the ’80s and ’90s.

      • Or perhaps he just didn’t have the management skills to pull the team together and deal with the petty infighting? It seems to me he had quite a poor record as captain in cultivating good conduct or (in extremis) of enforcing discipline among the players he was responsible for. Unless someone can (finally) reveal a good and sufficient reason for Pietersen’s sacking – the kind of thing an employer could successfully deploy in an employment tribunal – I won’t be persuaded easily that jettisoning the best middle order batsman was in the team’s interests. I’m afraid I think that when the ECB suits decided to defenestrate KP Cook acquiesced as it was the easiest option at the time.

        • I think that is the real bottom line Oreston. Cook just didn’t have the management skills that both Brearley & Vaughan were blessed with. he couldn’t hack it. He could only be a captain with people who would assist him and support him. That includes members of the ECB & the Press. Maybe it is only now he realises just how used and abused he has been at the hands of the ECB. Sad really.

          • William,Atherton et al on

            I don’t think for a moment he was used and abused. He didn’t want KP in the side and he got his wish

      • James, where did Cook say 6-7 players agreed with the decision? He said that 6-7 people were involved with the decision but he didn’t mean players by that.

        I remember Maxie keeping a tally of what players said about Pietersen on the ’13/14 tour. Only Cook, Prior and possibly Anderson had a problem with him. Everyone else gave a positive or neutral account of Pietersen’s conduct (bearing in mind they could have curried favour with the ECB by being more critical).

        People say that senior players had a problem with Pietersen but Trott, Bell and Broad all had no problem with him. Swann infamously said initially there was no problem but changed his tune later on. All were senior players.

        • Yes you could be right there Simon. I’m struggling to keep up now! By the way it was both Maxie and I who kept up to date with the testimony from those supporting Pietersen. It’s one of the reasons I never trusted the board’s version of events. It never added up.

          • William,Atherton et al on

            When will all this end James. Do we have to wait til all the protagonists are dead or retired before this bloody endless saga finishes. KP is gone, Cook reduced to the ranks and still the shadow of the entire unseemly episode trundles on like a Boycott innings.

            • Except that, unlike a Boycott innings, we no longer have Botham to announce to the team on going out to bat ‘Don’t worry lads, he will be back in 5 minutes’.

              • No we just have Botham boring us on telly now. Am I the only person who thinks Boycott would find misery in a lottery win

      • Fair question and you’ve probably uncovered my real concern. Namely, I don’t think Cook ever was proper captaincy material and so I never thought he was capable of imposing his authority on the dressing room. As you say, he was in a position of considerable weakness at the time of KP’s dismissal. However, let’s not forget the lead up to this point. He showed how weak he was when he blabbed to Flower about KP’s mutinous comments in the private players’ meeting. Sorry, but a strong captain would have not done that. I accept that Flower seemed to hold (maybe still does) an extremely unhealthy level of power of all the players and so Cook felt it necessary, but it remains that it was totally inappropriate. Worse, if I recall reports correctly, Cook didn’t really contribute to that meeting – he let Prior do the talking.

        As to the 6 or 7 others he had to carry, I accept I lack evidence but I simply don’t believe there were that many in the dressing room so strongly against KP. Only time will tell but in the immediate aftermath it was painful to see how hard it was for players to say what they truly thought for fear of the ECB-Stasi. No doubt KP didn’t get on well with Prior and Anderson and, to a lesser extent, Swann but Swann had left and I doubt Prior and Anderson actually wanted his career finished on personal grounds; they were probably just terrified of Flower’s power. If that’s wrong and they did want him out on personal grounds then that’s clearly wrong and Downton should have worked that out and sorted it out. Even if we might accept that KP was so bad that Prior and Anderson felt it appropriate to say KP should be sacked forever, I doubt they could carry the other 4-5 claimed. Re: Cook – I think he just followed the path of least resistance to save his own neck.

        So IMHO Cook was and always has been a false captain. I can’t blame him so much on the grounds that I’d probably accept the job if I was offered it (and there’s no question about my credentials for the job!). What I do feel comfortable saying is none of this makes any difference to my earlier comment and that the whole episode has ruined my love of the game. I hope it will return with Cook’s retirement as captain but it’ll be a slow process.

        Finally FWIW, I’d make YJB captain rather than Root.

        Oh and don’t feel the need to mod william – I’m curious as to what he said to get modded!

          • So are you now “William, Atherton et al” William? Fair enough. Not sure I get how I’m a spade based on my comment but let’s see if James reinstates the post. If not, fine. If he does then I’ll try to address your comment. (But for some reason I suspect you’ll want to have the last word!).

            • William,Atherton et al on

              Oh I am William jomesy, I don’t understand how the atherton got attached. Seriously, I used it in one of my comments and it kind of followed me. Would be obliged if someone more IT aware than I could explain

      • I’m not sure that 6/7 involved in the decision to sack KP were players. It was more likely to be a delegation from the ECB. Cook, as captain, was asked for his opinion and it is my understanding from what he has said, that he gave it and was in agreement.

        I doubt that any of them anticipated the reign of fury that was directed at Cook on a personal level and I don’t see what the ECB could have done to stem the flow. The clumsy attempts they made to support him were used as a rod with which to beat him. They stood by him when many were calling for his head on a professional level.

        I wish this whole thing had not been reignited in the way that Cook has chosen to do it. If he had wanted to set the record straight it would have been better to have presented the whole story in a precise, calm and measured way.

        I accept that this must have been a reflective and emotional moment for him but he would have been better placed to hold his fire.

        • I think he has though (precise / calm / measured way). Certainly that’s the way his comments come across to me.

          I doubt we can see a transcript but no doubt he has been asked about this specifically and it seems reasonable for him to open up more now that he is no longer captain.

        • Wasn’t that an argument put forward by the likes of Agnew Pringle and Selvey and of course The Analyst? They “knew” and wouldn’t tell all of us as we were all “Outside Cricket!” They all had the ear of the players unlike those “Outside Cricket!”

          Well maybe not. Agnew’s attack on Morgan re PM’s assertion that Cook was involved in the decision to sack KP was rubbish. Lo and behold Cook admitted it himself. Now what does that tell us about what was said to the “in crowd?”

          We certainly know that there were a lot of players who didn’t have a problem with KP: Root, Broad, (KP helped them in the nets), Bairstow, Ian Bell, Michael Carberry, Steve Finn, Monty Panesar, Chris Tremlett, Jonathan Trott & Eoin Morgan. All on record. So who is left? Jimmy, Cook, Matt Prior, Gary Ballance, Graham Swann? Tim Bresnan who denies being involved.

          Stuart Broad, I remember talking about a call he got from Flower. Broad couldn’t pick up the phone because he was so scared “almost sh…ing myself!” Now how was that conducive to helping a player give his all on the pitch?

          I don’t think we know the real picture. Lot of innuendo and he said, she said. But we have never been given any real bona fide evidence. Remember the story that KP handed back all his trophies to the ECB. Etheridge broke the story and KP sent him a picture with all his trophies at his house. The usual suspects were full of it. All a lot of eggs on a lot of faces. Sun had to make a formal apology to KP for John’s Article. Clearly a leak from inside ECB. Love to know who passed on that stuff to JE.

          What happened was nasty, vindictive, orchestrated with sheer venom from people who really didn’t have any idea that many of the stories fed to them by ECB and their luvvies were just lies. I asked Aggers the other day to comment on his “deluded” tweet to PM (and I’m no fan of PM) given that Cook agreed with PM. Nothing has been forthcoming. Not surprised.

      • A couple of months ago, i went to a lunch where the speaker was Matthew Hoggard. He was asked about KP, and the gist of his answer was: great batsman, but fell out with SA, so moved to Notts. Fell out with Notts so moved to Hants, fell out with Peter Moores, fell out with Hants (etc). “There’s a pattern there”. Whilst there’s little doubt that KP made several enemies within the ECB hierarchy (Strauss and Flower were probably two), he probably contributed to it by being pretty high maintenance. If you had a captain who was a good man manager and senior to him (eg Vaughan), you could keep that in check, but perhaps Cook didn’t have that.

        On individual performance grounds, there was little justification for sacking KP, but cricket is a team game, and you want to avoid toxic influences in the dressing room, and maybe some believed he was one.

        Of course the ECB handled it poorly. They’re contractually obliged to do so. I didn’t (and don’t) agree with the decision, but it’s not going to get reversed (certainly not with Strauss in charge).

        • people tend to forget James, that Vaughan only captained KP from 2005 to 2008. He didn’t have to put up with his prima donnishness like Strauss and Cook for years after.

          • William, I think there has always been an element of very large and very fragile ego with KP. When he got into the team, though, it was full of “big characters” (Flintoff, Harmison) and Vaughan (by his leadership skills) managed to keep them all in line. Undoubtedly KP became “bigger”, but also his captains lost a degree of authority over him because of their relative lack of seniority.

        • There seems to be somewhat difference of opinion as to the different places where KP played. I think the chant of “fell out with them all” thrust is a little bit disingenuous. KP certainly was happy at Surrey and the team loved having him around. Alec Stewart is on record saying: KP is good lad and we love having here. Given that there was so much nastiness at the time, hardly surprising that KP was accused of “falling out with everyone!” Listen to Darren Gough talking about playing with KP and there is totally different kind of picture. One either makes KP a hate figure or a love figure and clashes of opinion ensue. Or one sees KP with warts and all and damn fine batsman and for me one of the most exciting batsman I’ve ever seen with an England shirt on standing alongside my favourite of all time Viv Richards. What I hate more than anything is that the arguments for and against are personality-driven. Where do we see other players being attacked for their personality? Stokes for being a vandal, Jimmy for being a bully? As Vaughan himself said, cricket players are here to play their best, they are all different and need to be managed. Since when did cricket become so obsessed with personality traits? IMO it shows a real weakness of leadership within the ECB. You either fit the mould the ECB makes for you or you are mercilessly bullied and vilified in private and in public. If anyone involved with this sordid history had a real personality flaw it was Flower. You won’t find people dissecting his personality tho. Well maybe someone will spill the beans on him one day.

    • Yes it is isn’t it. I must confess I am surprised Cook is having a go at the ECB. Was very shocked when I first heard it. Actually is shows Cook does have the grit to have a go at his lords and masters. Not before time. Just wish he had spoken up right at the beginning. He is making the usual media suspects looking right mugs.

      • William,Atherton et al on

        Has it ever crossed your mind that the journos are closer to the facts than you or I are. I am always amazed how fans comment on issues as a fact, without being party to any of incidents

        • In my opinion journos are certainly closer to the facts but in some cases their need to stay close to the authorities (for access, and the possibility of later scoops) it’s difficult for them to write precisely what they really want.

          • I think that’s been the cause of a lot of the frustration.
            In the good old days you had cricket reporters and journalists. One reported on the cricket and didn’t get their hands dirty reporting the play and giving anecdotes , building nice / cosy relationships and not ruffling any feathers.
            Whilst the journalists found stuff out and reported it, they had luxury and were given license by their editors. (Remember Gatting & Beefy getting caught out)

            Now with cutbacks and general streamlining of the press they do both. They are virtually part of the backroom staff. People want them to reveal what they know (if they do) but why would they risk losing their job for tomorrow’s fish and chip paper?

          • William,Atherton et al on

            But if they can’t or won’t write the truth why do people continue to rock up with speculation and myth. Much of it ingendered by a particular view or bias

            • Your last post doesn’t make sense William. It’s because the journalists don’t write the truth and follow the ECB line, that we end up speculating etc. If they did a decent job, we wouldn’t all be arguing on this blog.

              • So at last someone who admits that all of this is just speculation , rumour and myth. Cheers Bob

        • well actually Aggers told Piers Morgan he was “deluded” to insist on saying Cook was involved in decision to sack Cook and just hours later Cook told the world and his wife that he was involved in the sacking of KP.

          John Etheridge wrote an article insisting that KP returned all his trophies to the ECB office in a fit of pique. Then had to apologise to KP when showed this was a lie. The Sun had to put an apology to KP for the disastrous lie.

          It has occurred to me because the usual suspects told me it was so, but upon looking at the evidence, it seems to me that the journos were not exactly “close” to the players. None of them knew that Cook was involved in the decision to sack KP and they all said they knew he wasn’t because they were close to the players? Well that was clearly a lie.

          Next.

          • Piers Morgan is the scum of the earth. A man who put British troops lives at risk, by publishing fake photos. Sacked and thrown out of the building the same day. An egregious man. I would think having him in one’s corner plus having him as a friend, as KP, does, doesn’t show old KP up in a good light does it. If Piers Morgan told me it was raining soup, I would be out with a fork

            • It makes no difference who he is or who he is not. The fact remains that Agnew said he knew the facts and clearly he did not. Made himself look a prat. And that is the point.

              • you mean it doesn’t matter that he is a lying, hacking scumbag who published fake photos that he knew could get troops killed. That’s ok as long as he supports KP.

  6. Good article and in my opinion a fair summary. I’ve always been bemused my those who saw these events in black and white (either way).

    As an aside I think James does stellar job of allowing for a diversity of opinion on this blog (much better than most in my opinion). This is to his credit and and makes it richer for it. Let’s ensure we respect this in the way we disagree with each other!

    • Thanks Jamie. I’m very happy for people to debate (and disagree with me too!) and I welcome diversity of opinion. It’s what sport is all about. I’m also keen to make sure everyone feels welcome here so I’ll delete comments that I think are a little too personal or don’t add to the debate. Hope everyone is happy with that policy.

      • It’s fascinating how much bad blood the KP thing still generates – even years later. I never blamed Cook necessarily but was a fierce supporter of KP and still believe it’s patently obvious the ECB were in well over their head. I hated them at the time and echoed everything Maxie wrote back then. Awful old boys’ club board with nothing but self interests at heart.

        Oh, and Andrew Strauss still has a fairly minor role to play in English cricket in case we’d forgotten! I think he might just have had strong opinions of KP too, so the main protagonists in this story have definitely NOT all left!

      • Totally agree with you James.
        For what it’s worth, Cook seems to have passed the buck here. Whatever happened, he was part of the decision to remove KP rightly or wrongly. To say nothing all this time, then complain that he feels that he is carrying the can is a bit rich. At any time he could have said something when all we wanted was the truth. In fact we are still waiting for the truth to come out.
        To say perhaps he felt that he was in a corner at the time of the KP incident and was not in a position to say anything, stinks of self preservation at the expense of someone else’s career. That does not say a lot about Cooks character.

        • William,Atherton et al on

          I am not a fan of Cook the skipper, as far Asia am concerned he got the job cos the cupboard was bare. But, sorry, to say he lacks character is just not right. As for his helping get rd of KP. Well I think he had no alternative. KP was a loose cannon, who had been indulged enough. So end of. I say this as one who was a huge fan of KP before he decided, or more likely was told by his coterie of hangers on and sycophants, that he was indeed the son ofGod and the greatest human being to ever bestride the globe. All of which he believed

          • In your opinion William, or is this fact ? Do you know this “coterie of hangers on and sycophants” ? All of these people ? Or are you speculating that is what they said. Smoke and mirrors old chum, you will never beat the ECB at that game.

            • Turn on your telly to ITV in the morning and you will see KP’s biggest fan and bum licker Piers Morgan. He never misses an opportunity to tell all and sundry that KP is the greatest player of all time, that he splits the atom during lunch, cures cancer before bedtime, and with a touch of his hand has made the lame walk. But hey Michael, are you now telling me that he has no little gang telling him how wonderful he is. If that’s the case, then he is the one bigging himself all the time. Sad or what eh.

  7. I agree with much of what you say James and understand your thinking, but I do think you are being over generous to Cook (and I say this as someone who believes KP put himself and Cook and the team in a horrible position). Cook was in the same position as any senior manager in the wider world; sometimes you have to be the public face who takes the flak and, as the face best known to the public in this saga it was inevitable that Cook would be seen as the bad guy by KP enthusiasts. If you regard the decision as so unacceptable then you resign. And Cook was more able to do that than many in such positions given his fame and wealth, and knowledge that he would still be a shoo in as opener.

    And reading the comments from Cook he does not seem to have an issue with the decision – just that he was the fall guy. Sometimes that is the price for the rewards of leadership.

    • Spot on Andy. Having been a senior manager and having a deliberately disruptive contracted employee removed, I had no difficulty being open to everyone about it. Always believed as the boss, the buck stopped with me.

      • I agree with those accusing Cook of being weak. I think that’s a fair cop. But being weak, when he was in a weak position, is understandable imho.

        • I honestly believe we are very close in our thinking on this but I cannot see Cook as in a weak position. A weak position is being in a leadership position when you are broke, have a family to support, will be out of work if you stand up and lack any support from your staff (or team in this case). I actually think Cook was in a strong position compared with many who find themselves faced with such situations in the wider world.

  8. KP should not have been sacked. You have 3 world class batsman, Cook, Root & KP. You play your best players, end of. If they don’t get on, that’s not a problem with strong management. As long as they’re winners on the pitch. Mutch better than a bunch of nice good lads, all Friendley, but weak on the pitch. Duncan Fletcher, with a Brearley or Vaughan as captain, and we wouldn’t be having this thread. It’s all the fault of the ECB, Flower/Srauss. All completely clueless.

      • While you’re here Anny I wonder if you’d clarify something for me? I’m told you were talking on Twitter about me commenting here and said ‘She’s been banned from most places’ – I’m not aware of ever being banned from anywhere. Please list these ‘places’ for me.
        Many thanks.

  9. Madaboutcricket on

    What is most interesting is the fact that despite the best endeavours of the ecb and people who follow the ecb everywhere have utterly failed to being cricket back to the public despite being richer than ever. Add to that, these last few sections on capt cook and kp have more comments than months worth of articles… showing yet again, the ecb have managed to divide what few cricket followers they did have into two irreconcilable sides.

    Until all those involved are publicly fired and not allowed to slip away highly paid people will simply not trust them or care for them.

    Cricket is the loser while the rich, who couldn’t care less about the game keep rolling in the money.

    Very sad to see.

  10. I am in full agreement with those who say that Cook should have resigned as captain and then gone public with the reason. The ECB merits no loyalty or respect whatsoever.

    PS Surely comparing anyone with Giles Clarke is the ultimate insult – that post should be removed immediately and replaced with profuse apologies!

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