Broad forgets the script

Like nature, sports followers abhor a vacuum. The fewer details officially disclosed, the more gossip, speculation and media scrutiny flood in to close the gaps. Although too many mainstream cricket journalists display a catastrophic lack of curiosity towards the true facts about Kevin Pietersen’s banishment, a brave few continue to probe. And the more the cowardly ECB refuse to provide candour, the more their foot soldiers are exposed to the flak.

Day after day, rank and file England players are forced to explain a ridiculous situation for which they are barely, if at all, accountable.

As you’ve probably already seen today, Stuart Broad is the latest victim of collateral damage. And he did not say what Andrew Strauss would have liked.

Broad was speaking at a press junket for Investec, the sponsor of England’s home tests. He was originally scheduled to do this on Thursday, but his appearance was postponed due to a migraine/hangover/spending all night on the piss with Matt Prior. Broad was coy about what exactly what had happened, but as the engagement was a commercial one (it wasn’t an ECB event, nor was he speaking on their behalf), only Investec, who were paying Broad, have a right to complain.

That said, imagine the reaction if Kevin Pietersen had (allegedly) been too drunk to turn up for the England sponsors. And I’m not just being cynical here. The ECB ‘dossier’ of Pietersen’s misdemeanours during the 2013/14 Ashes, leaked to the press last September, included the following indictment:

Upon arrival in Adelaide for the Second Test, AF gave express instructions to players not to stay out late and not to give the scandal‐voracious press any ammunition, which KP immediately disobeyed by taking out two young players drinking with him until late (an incident which was front page news in the Adelaide press the following day).

The front-page press photo is at the top of this post. Anyone recognise the ‘young player’ on the right of the frame? Yet it’s unlikely a similar entry was made in a dossier detailing Broad’s recidivism.

The photo was instructive in other ways. If Pietersen was so universally loathed throughout the England squad, and especially by the senior players, as some would like us to believe, why were he and Broad relaxing together over a few beers?

The mythology runs like this. Pietersen falls out with every team he plays for. He causes grievous divisions within every dressing room. He cannot be allowed back into the England side for fear of the damage he would cause. His team-mates don’t want him. This is what the ECB want people to think.

As Paul Downton said on TMS last year:

I talked to every person on the management team and quite a few senior players, and I could not find one supporter who wanted Kevin to stay in the side.

If you read between the lines, though, Downton was giving the game away. He was very confident about citing the opposition to Pietersen among management, but had to choose his words more carefully when it came to the players. He only asked the senior players, and of those, just “quite a few” of them. How many? Who?

Alas, the chinks in Downton’s logical armour failed to prevent him getting his desired message across in the media. The Guardian headlined the story about his remarks as ‘Players did not want Kevin Pietersen in England side’.

The problem is that no one has ever stood this up. No evidence has emerged that Pietersen became a dressing room pariah. And this disjuncture between fantasy and reality has only been widened by Broad’s comments at the Investec bash.

I’ve genuinely not spoken to anyone above me or to anyone in the team about KP.

It doesn’t hurt me or anything, but when people try to put big divides between players and Kevin… I mean, we shared a changing room for eight or nine years. He’s helped me from time to time. We’ve never raised voices at each other. It’s almost perceived to be worse than it is between the players.

And when asked whether he would be prepared to play alongside Pietersen again, Broad said:

The biggest point is that players don’t have a choice over who they’re playing with. But anyone in the dressing room who gets given that shirt and cap, you trust, because people above you have the made the decision that they’re the right people to play for England.

Down the line, and I don’t know what people are thinking, but if in five years’ time selectors decide KP is this guy they want back in this England side, if people have decided above me that he’s the right person to do that, then of course [he would be prepared to play alongside him].

In the world of infantilised England players, strangled by ECB corporate double-speak, terrified of putting a foot wrong and ending up with the same fate as Pietersen, this means, simply, “yes”.

Little about Broad’s comments are ambiguous. No member of management canvassed his opinion about Pietersen. Claims of “big divides between players and Kevin” are off the mark. The pair “never raised voices at each other”. Pietersen “helped” him. The problem is “perceived to be worse than it is”. There you have it, from the horse’s mouth. The myths engendered by the ECB – given weight and credence by their reiteration in the press – are just that: myths.

Does this sound like a player who could not function properly in the same team as Pietersen? Does this sound like a situation in which Pietersen injures the fabric and operation of the team? What of the claim which emerged last week in the Mirror, presumably via an ECB source, that:

Behind the scenes Cook represented the feelings of several players when he made it plain he was ready to give up his England shirt if Pietersen was brought back.

Who exactly could these “several” players have been? They can’t include Ian Bell, because on Thursday he said that:

I played ten years with Kevin, and we both went through highs and lows and won a lot of cricket together. I enjoyed my time with him. Obviously there were certain things going on. I didn’t see it, I don’t think the players saw it in the dressing room.

So of possible candidates that only leaves Alastair Cook and James Anderson. But in truth any player beyond Cook is a red herring. The ECB use the notion of Pietersen’s unpopularity as a fraudulent fig-leaf, an invented excuse to disguise their real reasoning: it’s the ECB itself which despises Pietersen.

I make no apologies for going over old ground, and in any event, Broad’s remarks are new. Last week the ECB made a forthright and deliberate decision to maintain their deceit. They continue to peddle untruths, continue to mislead their own supporters, continue to believe the public should accept evasion and concealment.

At the root of the supposed disharmony between Pietersen and Broad is the KP Genius affair. But my reading of Pietersen’s views, in his book and interviews, is that his ire is directed not at Broad himself, but the ECB for their failure to investigate his complaints, in contrast to their sanctimoniously draconian reaction to Textgate.

It was this failure which he rails against in his book – a book which has assumed disproportionate significance in recent rhetoric. Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, referenced it at the Andrew Strauss press conference. And on Friday, in trying to explain the Pietersen ban, Colin Graves said:

Given the history and the book, the simple fact is that bridges have still not been rebuilt and trust needs to be restored.

Shamelessly, and incongruously, the ECB are using the book as an excuse, in the same way they exploit non-existent dressing-room conflict. So tendentious are their appeals for public sympathy on the grounds of Pietersen’s autobiography that I can only reiterate points made before.

The contents of book are not a valid reason to deselect someone from a cricket team; to act otherwise is childish and petty. Even if Pietersen had not written the book, the ECB would still be maintaining the ban – they would just find another excuse. Pietersen had been peremptorily sacked without explanation and many lies had been told about him: he deserved the right to reply.

In his autobiography, Pietersen does not meaningfully criticise any player still in the England team. But he did lacerate the reputations of Andy Flower – still a senior ECB employee, but unconnected with the test side – and the ECB itself. It’s this insolence, this disloyalty to the board as a corporate entity, which they cannot endure – and which, in their eyes, must be punished.

But amidst all this doom and gloom, there is some good news, as reported today on the ECB website. In this time of strife and unhappiness, it’s good to know where their priorities lie.

Toyota has today been announced as a new official partner to the England and Wales Cricket Board. The initial two-year partnership will see England’s cricketers at the wheel of a variety of Toyota models including RAV4 and Land Cruiser.

Toyota will gain extensive live and recorded exposure, with prominent advertising at grounds around the country and headline sponsorship of Channel 5’s international cricket highlights peak-time television coverage. It will also have access to the England’s top players for a range of new marketing and publicity opportunities.

Sanjay Patel, ECB Commercial Director, said: “Ahead of a hugely exciting summer of cricket for the England team, we’re delighted to be entering into a new partnership with Toyota. They are a leading high profile automotive brand that continually strives for enhanced performance; a great fit for England cricket. The deal highlights the continued appeal England cricket brings to a variety of brands.

Talk about a rat joining a sinking ship. Congratulations to everybody involved.


    • I wouldn’t worry. They’re actually planning on rebranding it the Ravi4, taking it to car shows around the country, giving it out for test drives, then pulling it from production at the last minute.

  • Maxie,

    I don’t share your stance on KP and the ECB, but I do try to understand it. But you say: “The contents of book are not a valid reason to deselect someone from a cricket team”. Why not? As an exhibition of a player’s real position I thought that “the book” was both revealing and devastating for anyone who had hoped that its “author” could be re-integrated in to a team of shared objectives and loyalties.

    Just intrigued that that fairly significant piece of evidence should be simply discounted by pro-KP supporters….

    • But, but, but Swann!

      They didn’t deselect Swann for his book did they and he was still a member of the team Pietersen wasn’t.

      And Swann criticised his team mates while he was playing in the same team. Something of a double standard I’m sure you’ll agree.

    • Because the team should be selected on who are the best players. What a crazy idea eh. The reasons put forward that Pietersen would be a ‘toxic’ influence in the dressing room and disrupt team harmony are a load of rubbish, as demonstrated in the past few days by the quotes from Ian Bell and the ones above by Stuart Broad.

      Also notwithstanding the fact that the book would never have been written if the ECB hadn’t sacked KP and then refused to give any real reason why that happened, and tried to torch his character in the press.

    • The book only really criticises Prior and Flower. Two men who were no longer involved with the England team. He more or less kept his feeling to himself about the other players still playing. He was very cautious in his criticism of Cook (merely saying he was too nice) and even Strauss. In fact, he says in many ways he admires Strauss and was envious of him.

      The exception was the bullying accusation. He obviously felt very strongly about this and I don’t blame him considering what’s since happened with Trott. Anyone who has watched England over the last few years was fully aware of the death stares etc our bowlers gave to fielders. It was unsightly. We also know there was an element of truth to it, considering that England actually had an official meeting about their conduct towards each other on the field (whether ‘bullying’ is the right word or not).

      Had Pietersen come out and said “Cook is an absolutely terrible captain and a complete ****head” then I could understand the argument that the book burned bridges. As it happens, it only burned bridges with people no longer in the team – plus, most significantly, the ECB itself. No organisation likes being exposed for the incompetent, bungling, hypocritical body it is.

      I think Maxie is right that the embarrassment KP has caused the ECB over the years is the main reason for his continued exile. In my view, Pietersen was absolutely right to point out their weaknesses. I wish others would too. We’ve all seen how they act. Just look at poor Peter Moores.

      • James,
        It’s not going to matter to Strauss that Flower and Prior are no longer involved with the England team. He’s going to see it as part of an ongoing pattern. When Strauss talks about trust I’m sure part of what he’s saying is “I can’t trust you not to blow up the team again in six months because you don’t like the coach, or you’re pissed off with the captain, or you don’t think so and so can play. After all – you’ve done it before”.
        KP has fallen out with 2 bosses (Moores and Flower – where relationships were poisonous), 2 captains (Strauss – and Cook, relationship also apparently poisonous), one 2 I/c (Prior – also poisonous). Relationships with other players have been strained, to put it politely. He’s then dumped a bucket of s**t on the team that Strauss captained, and everything that they worked for and accomplished.
        You try doing even half of that in any professional working environment and see how long you keep your job. And it wouldn’t matter how “talented” you were – you’d be out the door.

        • But it isn’t an ordinary working environment – cricketers, and all sports-people, are “talent”: creative, highly-strung performers with delicate egos who require a very specific kind of handling. The ECB try to treat their players as if they were bank clerks, which is why so many things go wrong.

          While dwelling on Pietersen’s disputes with authority, it’s worth reflecting on their nature. IPL aside, most of them (but not all) were disagreements about how to get the best results. Pietersen came to blows with the ECB not because he was lazy or didn’t care, but because he thought doing things in a different way would get achieve better performance. In his book, Pietersen did not accuse his team-mates of being poor cricketers, but of bullying cliqueiness. Should he have suppressed that?

          With the IPL, he argued that playing in the IPL benefited England. Whatever his motives, the ECB have accepted he was right.

          • … And have also effectively accepted he was right about Moores, whom they have again sacked.

        • Michael Clarke v Shane Watson
          Shane Warne v John Buchanan & Adam Gilchrist
          Geoffrey Boycott v everybody
          Javed Miandad v everybody
          Inxamam-ul-Haq v his waistline

          Need I go on……

          England have a bad habit of dropping cavaliers/star performers: Jon Snow, David Gower and now Pietersen. Other teams tend to focus on winning games of cricket.

        • Kev. In what way has KP ever ‘blown up the team’? His poor relationship with Moores/Flower goes back to 2007 when KP made a stand over Moores on behalf of the team, not against them. And he was proved right. The senior players didn’t want Moores and he was sacked.

          I understand that textgate was probably bad for morale, but it was not a deliberately provocative act designed to disrupt harmony and create a wedge in the dressing room. It was a private text moaning about a captain who had just walked past KP/Morkel and blanked them (because Strauss didn’t think Pietersen should be talking to the enemy). The fact he is very good friends with Morkel, and it happened at the same time as the KP genius debacle (which made him insecure) is totally ignored by many.

          If KP was as disruptive as you claim, then he would have told Strauss he was a **** to his face, stormed out of team meetings and created a mutiny. He’s never done anything like that. All he’s done is tell those in charge where he thinks they’re going wrong. And when he did this in the famous MCG meeting that everyone cites, he was actually asked for his opinion before giving it.

          The important thing, however, is this: if he’s as bad as the ECB (that notoriously untrustworthy organisation) says. then why don’t the players, both current and ex-players, actually come out and say so? Instead we’ve had Vaughan, Flintoff, Simon Jones, Root, Bairstow, Tremlett, Carberry, Monty, Stokes, Swann (initially), Bell and now Broad all saying the problems either didn’t exist or were exaggerated. Why is this?

        • Kev. Suggest you read the following below. Extract by none other the KP hater Mike Selvey back in 2009 after the Moores fall out.

          “Pietersen, as far as anyone can tell, and certainly by his own admission – and why should we not believe him as readily as anyone else? – did not push his grievance into the public domain but tried to do it in private, first with the ECB chairman, Giles Clarke, and then with the managing director of England cricket, Hugh Morris. Only when it became a public issue did he go public in his column in the News of The World and that was scarcely inflammatory.

          Personally, I think he has been stitched up twice, firstly by the person who leaked some details of his thoughts to a newspaper (a former colleague apparently), and then by members of the England team, whose opinions he would have sought not just last week but over the course of Moores’ time in charge, for this has been simmering for ages. There are some serious turncoats if the same comments made to me in the past year by various members of the team were those relayed to Pietersen but not to Morris when he asked them. Wise monkeys are everywhere. Until he became captain, Pietersen had no way of instigating the change he believed was fundamental to the progress of a side that had stagnated. Would it not have been his duty to raise concerns such as this?

          Much has been made of Pietersen’s personality, mostly by people who have never met him. My dealings with him show an articulate, ambitious character, driven in his desire to excel, and intolerant of mediocrity. No cricketer is better prepared. He is less brash than when first he appeared and seems to have a settled personal life at odds with the perception of someone who likes the celebrity party circuit. His are not the only tattoos in the cricket world.

          If he is not universally liked then so what? Were that a criterion Geoffrey Boycott would never have got a game. Arrogant and egotistical? Matthew Hayden hasn’t suffered too much. Dressing rooms consist of people often with little in common other than the game itself.”

          Interesting. Very interesting. Cheers to Paule for posting the link further down.

    • Hi Xan,

      My argument would be this. What wins a cricket match? Runs, wickets, and catches. Who do you select for an international cricket team? The players who are most likely to score the runs, take the wickets, and take the catches. How does the writing of a book feed into that?

      If Pietersen were picked, would his team-mates perform less well because he’d written the book, and because he was now in the side? Would his presence in the team, allied to the book, cause them to bat, bowl and catch less effectively?

      There *are* valid reasons to drop someone for non-performance reasons, but they invariably relate to misconduct which impairs performance indirectly – such as abusing drink or drugs, or failure to train, or keep fit, and so forth. And few would argue against suspending players who cheat or match fix, or commit serious criminal offences.

      Writing a book does not impair your performance, nor does it make you a poor role model, nor is it a betrayal of the ethics of the game.

      What was in Pietersen’s book? Hoary, sordid tales of sex, drugs, and rock and roll? Did he regale his readers with private information which unnecessarily embarrassed his team-mates in such a way that you’d feel sympathy for them? Or did he instead portray the ECB as a paranoid, vindictive and nepotistic organisation which tolerated a culture of bullying and exercised extraordinary double-standards in its man-management.

      Who came out of the book worse?

    • The book was an excuse. As the ECB conveniently forgets that whilst it ordered a gagging order, they didn’t keep it themselves. Downton was talking about KP in a derogatory fashion during that period. The ECB leaked the dodgy dossier, whilst ECB acolytes in the press were writing all sorts of nasty stuff about KP. So KP gave his side of the story in the book. A lot of players have done the same. Why is KP singled out for this sordid treatment. If these players bullied others – and Trott has confirmed that this is so – why wasn’t this handled by the management. I remember Harmison saying that he believed it as it happened when he was playing.

      As for loyalty, well that works both ways. No loyalty was shown to KP after all he had given to England Cricket. In fact the opposite – as above – happened. Now we have a new lot of ECB charlatans who are acting in the same way as the last lot. Duplicitous, childish, unprofessional muppets. Unlike KP who admits he made mistakes, the ECB denies everything and anything, despite the evidence of players themselves. Utterly appalling way for the management of England Cricket to behave. New Head of Cricket is exacting his revenge on KP for texts, whilst he doesn’t apologise for not dealing with the Twitter account and for being abusive on-line. Strauss trusts KP to advise him but not to play in the team? What kind of rubbish is that? Two-faced jobs-worth. Strauss will ruin England Cricket as he is same as past incumbents. Everything changes and everything stays the same. The ECB never learns.

  • When someone starts talking about a “catastrophic lack of curiosity towards the true facts”, you know that the author has slipped away from the real world to the realm of conspiracy theorists…

    • No, you don’t. What you do, is engage with the author’s argument. If you disagree and can support your argument with evidence then fair play. If you pull our random statements and engage in post hoc ergo propter hoc arguments then you add nothing to the debate.

    • Hi Giles – what is it about that notion which suggests an indulgence in conspiracy theories? I honestly don’t believe that enough people in mainstream media have been sufficiently curious about exactly what happened – and asked questions about the gaps and evasions in the ECB’s arguments. Do you think otherwise?

      In terms of conspiracy theories, an awful lot of what ECB critics suggested in the wake of Pietersen has turned out to not be terribly far off the mark.

  • Andrew Strauss, having manoeuvred for the captaincy in 2009:

    “There is some bridge-building to be done and I’m not going to lie about that,” Strauss said on that day at Lord’s. “KP has been very supportive, I have a pretty good relationship with KP and I think he is going to be fine. He is going to come back and score a lot of runs for England and be a very impor-tant part of the dressing room.”

    Andrew Strauss in 2015:

    I think if you were to bring Kevin Pietersen back it would be a short-term measure to help you win the Ashes, but I can’t see that happening personally because there are too many bridges to build in too short a period of time.

    Familiar? The message is clear, is it not? Pietersen’s a bigger man than Strauss.

  • What about cook though? I don’t think he is secure enough to cope with kp.

    #boycottecb #doageoffrey

    • What about Cook? In years to come people will look back at this last 18 months in much the same way as do the captains and former captains of Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and India: all this chaos and controversy to protect a crap captain. It’s truly astonishing and has made English cricket a laughing stock.

    • Well then someone getting the big salary needs to figure out what he needs to feel secure that doesn’t involve banning our best batsman. If Cook is needed it is as a batsman anyway so he could focus on that instead of KP. Maybe they need separate dressing rooms. Maybe with anti anxiety meds he could handle KP being on first reserve. I don’t care about anything except the best players allowed to play and I don’t understand why that isn’t ECB’s first priority…what do we pay them for?

      • Joe Root is our best batsman, followed by Gary Ballance and then Iain Bell.

        KP was England’s best test batsman between 2005 and 2009

  • The presentation of Broad’s quotes in the Telegraph bears little relation to how he meant his words to be interpreted.

    Even Mike Walters in the Mirror, an unashamed fan of KP, had this observation on Broad’s comments…

    “That did not sound much like a ringing endorsement for the Bring Back KP bandwagon, did it?”

    Link –

    KP is a columnist with the Telegraph and it is understandable they will support their man. But the paper’s frequent distortion of any to do with KP is sad, really. Twice last week they had the door “still open” for KP when, of course, it has never been more firmly shut.

    • John. Nobody is claiming that KP should be back in the side. Nobody here is expecting Broad to say “bring him back” or claiming he said so. We are reading between the lines.

      Why would it be so difficult, if Broad really dislikes Pietersen, for him to say “I support the board’s stance 100%, we cannot trust KP and to bring him back would disrupt the dressing room”. Surely this is what his employers want him to say, so why won’t he say it?

      It’s obvious things aren’t as clear cut as the ECB is making out. Otherwise, why would Bell have said there are no trust issues last week? Bell also said he has a degree of sympathy for Pietersen. Again, why would it have been so hard for Bell to say ‘we don’t trust him’ if indeed this is the case.

      When it comes to The Telegraph, I see what you’re getting at but it works both ways. The Guardian didn’t mention the bit about Broad also saying KP ‘helped me from time to time” and the ill feeling is exaggerated, until the very last paragraph! Why is that?

    • The point is that when players in the team given numerous opportunities to go on the record with statements about how KP had gotten impossible to work with – statements that if true would certainly /not/ get them in trouble with the ECB – players currently in the team seem to consistently decline to make statements in support of that narrative.

      A ringing endorsement is not claimed, or necessary.

    • I’m not sure anyone’s reading it as a ringing endorsement for Pietersen, nor is it a ringing endorsement for the new regime. He just sounds fed up with it all, and who can blame him? He’s a competitive and uncomplicated soul and presumably, given previous statements he’s made about confident players, just wants to be given the best opportunity to win test matches and that means, the best players.

    • It doesn’t matter what anyone’s opinion of Pietersen is inside or outside the dressing room. The fact is that he was singled out for sacking from a poorly performing team which had just been given one of the biggest ashes hammerings of all time. At the same time as he was sacked the captain of this failed team was ‘invested’ in by the ECB. No proper reason was given for these decisions and no inquiry undertaken into the failure in Australia.This is scapegoating to me.
      This year Pietersen was at best misled and at worst lied to and as a result gave up the IPL in order to play for Surrey. There were ample opportunities to correct any misapprehension he might have been under and so prevent him taking this course. They were not taken. This smacks of malice. Graves statement proves him a dissembler of the highest order. I don’t believe the decision to exclude Pietersen even from consideration was only taken when Strauss was appointed, should anyone suggest that was why he was not informed earlier, I’m not that naive.
      My opinion about the unfairness of this treatment would be the same whichever member of that Ashes team it applied to. It doesn’t matter to me at all who it was, it still stinks. I don’t think the mainstream media have addressed this as they should have.
      Incidentally I’m no fan of the Telegraph but to single them out as frequent distorters of anything to do with KP in the face of competition from some of your colleagues elsewhere in the media John fair takes my breath away!

    • “The presentation of Broad’s quotes in the Telegraph bears little relation to how he meant his words to be interpreted”

      Rather supports the many complaints over the years, from sportsmen, politicians, celebrities and others, that they have been misquoted by the press. One of the reasons I gave up reading them and never regretted doing so.

    • John – thank you for coming below the line to share your insights. However, you should remember to keep your promises down here otherwise you appear to be selective about when you duck in.

      I am (we BTLers are) still awaiting your explanation regarding KP’s 100th cap which you exclusively reported he returned to the ECB. You exclusive turned out to be wholly wrong but promised to tell us about that…. and then reneged on that promise. So, I’m sorry, but until you keep your promises, as a sentient person, I must dismiss your comment as being agenda driven. That said, I much look forward to your reply. Yours, as ever, Jomesy.

      • I haven’t forgotten that promise either. It’s all about Trust John, which is now, it seems, the ECB byword. It used to be let’s all be happy chappies in the dressing room, now it is all about Trust. Sadly the trust only goes one way.

        As Oliver Hardy once remarked: “That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into!” The ECB is in one hell of mess. It won’t end well.

    • Im sure Nick Hoult is not the first journalist to use a quote out of context to suit the angle in his column is he John?
      When you attend the captains press conference prior to this weeks Test will you try to question Cook at length on the allegation that he threatened to quit if Pietersen was selected for England again? where do you stand on this ? surely it cannot be right that the captain and other “senior” players try to dictate who is selected for the team is it? Cook in my view deserves to be mauled by the media if this is true, but i get the feeling that it wont happen, The press have a very one eyed view of the sainted captain Cook for some reason and in this instance it could well set a very bad precedent if the reported threat is true and is not vigorously challenged.

    • bears little relation to how he meant his words to be interpreted.

      Has he told you that, or are you inferring his intention ?
      Otherwise, what James said.

    • John! For a very long time Derek Pringle was writing for the Telegraph and he had a field day spinning anything and everything and making derogatory remarks based on not one single piece of evidence.

      As for Broad’s statements. I think he sees the writing on the wall for England. Better to have KP in the side and have more chance of winning than not. Or better to have KP in the team so we can all blame him AGAIN for any failure. The really interesting piece in Broad’s quotes was the one where he said he had not been consulted about KP at all. That flies in the face of what the ECB has said. Very interesting indeed.

      I have nil sympathy for Mr Graves. He drove himself and the ECB up a cul de sac of his own making. He should have kept his mouth shut. His own words condemn him and of course the delay in saying what he really meant. I doesn’t wash one little bit. He never gave a promise but at no time did he say anything about the lack of trust. Integrity? Integrity has to be earned and Mr Graves has not integrity on this score.

      To me the “Hand of Clarke” looms large in all this. And why was it reported that Clarke & Graves had the meeting to decide on all these things. Why was that? Now members of the board are up in arms because such important decisions were not made with the full board.

      Strauss acting out his vengeance AGAIN! The ECB is turning into a corporate, indulgent child. They have been seen as totally unprofessional in their dealings with KP and not forgetting the way the ECB treated Mr Moores. The sooner England Cricket is taken over by real professionals who act for the sake of the team, instead of working in order to exact their petty, vindictive revenge the better.

    • And how is this a ringing endorsement of Andrew Strauss?

      Only time can tell if that was the right decision. If we lose the Ashes, there will be a lot of pressure. We can only wait and see.

      If I were part of the ECB establishment, which thank God I am not, I would find that remark distinctly unhelpful.

  • Broad said ‘we have to accept the decision” not ‘we agree with it’ according to the quotes in that article. It didn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for the exclude KP forever bandwagon either.

    • Please tell me if I have got this wrong, but I seem to recall Broad, ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’, saying something along the lines that if the the ECB brought KP back into the side, in say 5 years down the line, he would accept that. He is giving himself a fair bit of clear water there! Not that it matters, because as Maxie said, it is the ECB who will not have him back.

      • Jenny, that was my thoughts exactly.about broad. I wondered why he used the term(5years). It could be interpreted in many ways.

  • It’s pretty obvious that Pietersen has been telling the truth the whole time and the ECB have been lying the whole time.

    Is there anyone who honestly doubts what KP says in his book?

    • It seems to me that if you ignore the misdirection, no-one’s really denied anything contained in the book. ‘It’s not how I saw it’ is about the best anyone’s come up with. Matt Prior has all but admitted that the dressing room was a bad place to be after 2011.

    • If he can move on from KPGenius they can move on from TheBook. If Pietersen is hard to manage make sure there are some excellent managers around. Get a counselor for everyone’s hurt feelings and fears! Whatever it takes.

      But we need our best players. It’s that simple.

  • So Broad has ‘genuinely never spoken to anybody above me or in the team about about KP.’

    Of all the untruths that have been told during this whole sorry saga, that is just about the smelliest pile of horse manure of all. It is utterly unfeasible that in the last 15 months, the players that played with KP have not had discussions about him, especially those that were discussed in the book. Broad and Anderson were on record as rejecting the bullying claims during interviews in October/November, yet he’s never spoken to any of his team-mates about it during the 9 test matches and god knows how many ODIs they’ve played in the last 15 months? Pull the other one.

    The public utterances from players like Broad and Bell make it clear that they just don’t want to get involved, and the innocuous platitudes are partly to make it go away, and partly to try and make a lie of the accusations that they were all a bunch of bullies, particularly in Broad’s case. Can you imagine the bile that would come Broad’s way if he said anything other than the above, and made one remotely negative comment about KP?

    • The first part of your argument rings true, the second less so. They do all want it to go away, they also want to win test matches. Its as uncomplicated as that. This isn’t really a dispute between players but between a couple of protagonists, namely Cook, Strauss, Flower and Pietersen. Strauss in particular should take a good long look at his own behaviour in 2009:

    • They could have said ‘no comment’ or ‘I don’t know how I’d feel about sharing a dressing room with him again’ or in Bell’s case ‘I can see why there’s a lack of trust’. But the point is that they didn’t. If they don’t want to get involved on any level, why get involved at all by making comments that go somewhat against the ECB line?

    • I’d definitely agree with the first part of your post.

      The players, clearly just want to a) keep on playing for England and b) win. I’m guessing the majority of them, as Broad intimates really don’t care who plays, as long as they proven themselves to be good enough.

      The longer this goes on the more it looks and feels like that this is an issue between KP and his employers, and resulting fallouts with team mates are incidental and innocuous.

      Cook, I feel, is the next one who’s about to be dropped in it, if as we expect we have a rough summer.

      So, in the space of 3 months, the ECB management would have horrifically bungled the sacking of Peter Moores, re-opened the KP debate (tinfoil hat moment: has this been an exercise in obfuscation to distract from the real machinations?) and could be about to dump Cook as Captain, having built him and kept him in a role he thus far, proven to be unsuited too, just as he starts to learn? So our top 2 run scorers, potentially trashed

      This has never been about just KP, its about an organisation that seems to have forgotten its role and is stopping us from picking players on form, fitness and merit and letting personal animus from non-playing staff overule standard selection criteria. That we then all have to pay through the nose to watch any of this only makes matters worse.

      Apologies if that got a bit ranty at the end, wasn’t intended

  • From the post:
    “….his ire is directed not at Broad himself, but the ECB for their failure to investigate his complaints, in contrast to their sanctimoniously draconian reaction to Textgate.”

    Yes — that’s a point that the press nearly always misses entirely when they mention KP’s book — it wasn’t just him grizzling about what happened to him — he was demonstrating the double standards that the ECB management routinely applies to anything involving him. Why do they miss it? I don’t mean they should accept it (in case your esteemed guest reads this) but it needs rebutting if they don’t agree. Just like KP’s accusations about leaks and pressure put on journalists and editors by the ECB. Not a word about that when they declare the book as “damaging” etc.

  • “how he meant his words to be interpreted”

    And who knows how that should be?

  • It would be refreshing if the likes of Selvey and Newman would write pieces like this instead of their usual ECB compliant dross

  • I think the ECB should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. Perhaps if we had a decent Culture, Media and Sport minister she would do exactly that. Give them a taste of their own medicine!

    P.S She is also responsible for Equalities. ECB could do with a large dose of equality me thinks.

    • Well, the new Equalities minister Caroline Dinenage voted against gay marriage, but wiithin hours of her appointment she was tweeting that she’d supported it all along, but her constituents had been “100-1” against it (if true, this would make Gosport the most homophobic place in Europe outside Vatican City by a factor of around 50). So she has her own “trust” issues already.

  • ‘The question that Andrew Strauss had to answer was whether Pietersen had crossed that line in the sand. He also needed to consider whether the time away from England had caused more fires to rage within Pietersen and whether those could be used to cut through the opposition.

    I am not good at deal-making but I suspect Pietersen was a deal waiting to be made. He wanted desperately to play for England again and in such a state, people are willing to give a lot to get what they crave for. I know I am saying this from a distance but I think Strauss has just let a great bargain go on his first day at work.’

    came across this in an article by harsha bhogle

    • we all know what happened last time when a hungry player was brought back to the fold in ashes, he turned the whole series over and was the difference between the sides

  • And another excellent article (older)from Harsha Bhogle:

    “In his article, Kuper goes to football to explain the need for conflict within a side. Johann Cruyff and Rinus Michels, his manager, often had quarrels, they thought quarrel drove creativity. Cruyff also believed that if teammates dislike you, you try harder to prove your quality. ….If there is one line that can explain the conflict between Pietersen and England it comes from Kuper’s article. “British sports teams have traditionally modelled themselves on the army, with its core virtues of camaraderie and obedience”

  • Given our trenchant criticism of Moores, it’s only fair to acknowledge Root’s fulsome praise of him in yesterday’s interview:

    Not that this goes against the (now agreed by the ECB) view that he’s a good technical coach for young players – but poor at managing experienced ones, and strategically inept.

    • Moores may have been great for Root, but he wasn’t great for England, was he?

      I say sack Flower from the being-in-charge-of-developing-players job and give it to Moores. Two birds; one stone.

      • It is something the ECB should have considered before they dismissed Moores. Now why on earth should he want to work for the ECB given that they royally shafted him, regardless of whether you think he was up to the task of managing the performance of England’s elite players. He wasn’t first time around and got sacked but amazingly was seen as a

        You could say that he has a massive issue of trust………………………..

    • Did you see Brenkley’s article in the Independent about Root praising Moores? He finished up by saying ‘I notice that Root didn’t praise KP by the way’ (or similar words). It’s laughable. As if there is any connection whatsoever.

  • Chappelli’s article on the subject is a good read. Must be said he’s not in agreement with the average English journo or the ECB. But what does he know, eh?

    “In most cases the argumentative players fight hardest and longest for their team on the field. A captain can learn from being told by a team-mate: “You’re a d***head. Why don’t you try doing it this way?”

    The final straw with Pietersen and his England team-mates was apparently a similar conversation during the Ashes debacle in 2013-14. Pietersen’s concerns had some validity because England’s performance in Australia wasn’t acceptable and amounted to early surrender.

    If Pietersen was found guilty of disagreeing with Cook’s captaincy then they’ve hung the wrong man. England should have dismissed those players who agreed with Cook’s captaincy.

    England have obsessed over who should be the new director of cricket and whether they needed a different coach, while avoiding the most important question: can England win the Ashes with Cook as captain?

    No, they can’t”


copywriter copywriting