“I was naive … but I’m not a villain” says Pietersen
“The book’s a work of fiction” says Graeme Swann
“I nodded at and agreed with certain things” says Nasser Hussain
“Pietersen is no victim” says Dominic Cork
Oh heavens, this is going to run and run, then run some more. The Aussies must be laughing themselves silly watching our cricket team doing its dirty laundry in public.
However, when the ECB imposed this stupid bloody confidentiality clause, this storm was always going to happen.
Perhaps the wisest thing said on the subject thus far came from Mike Atherton, who basically said the truth lies somewhere in between. He also calls Pietersen and ‘unreliable witness’, which I suppose is true: KP is giving his testimony, and yeah sure he’s biased. He’s setting the record straight and trying to win people over.
As for what I’ve personally made of today’s events, I think Paul Downton comes out of it worst. In my opinion he’s portrayed as a weakling – and I tend to agree. He turned up in Sydney, having missed the Melbourne test because he was flying at the time, asked Flower for an update, acted on all of Flower’s recommendations, then gave him a promotion. And remind me what he did about the ineffectual skipper again?
After seeing Dowton’s interview on Sky earlier in the summer, I’m convinced he was like a kid at Christmas after taking up his role at the ECB. He seemed star struck by Flower and Cook, and in my opinion did exactly what they wanted because he didn’t have the strength (being new to the role and outside cricket for several years) to sack the captain and coach as his first act in a new job. Instead a different scapegoat was found.
However, perhaps this is a digression. Today all seems to be about Pietersen the man. Is he a victim or is he paranoid? Was he really bullied, or does he simply lack a sense of humour? There’s banter in all dressing rooms. Maybe KP simply couldn’t take it?
On the other hand, it has been reported many times that the England dressing room has cliques; that new players often find it difficult to adjust and feel accepted (ask Nick Compton and Michael Carberry). Is it really so far fetched that Pietersen felt alienated and persecuted, especially after the KP Genius Twitter affair?
What’s more, what cannot be denied is that Pietersen was a consummate professional in terms of his work ethic and preparation. He was also a great mentor for the younger players … those outside the clique. Basically therefore, he can’t be all bad.
The key question for me is whether Andy Flower really is (or rather was) a bully. Well how on earth are we supposed to know from where we’re sitting?
I believe Pietersen completely when he describes Flower as a ‘mood hoover’. His post match interviews were about as interesting as watching a cat lick its backside. But a bully? Really?
Some would say Sir Alex Ferguson was a bully. He’s regarded by many to be the finest football manager of all time.
I wonder what he would have made of David Beckham, or Roy Keane for that matter, saying “you don’t scare me boss” (which is what Pietersen admits he said to Flower).
I’ll have to read the book myself, and digest more reaction, before I can come to any firm conclusions. What about you guys? It could be a long week …