This just in from the ECB – an official statement from its new chairman, Colin Graves, on his first day in the role.
I would like to start my stewardship of the ECB looking forward to next week’s Investec Test series against New Zealand and the Ashes later in the summer.
But first there’s another point I want to address.
Clearly, the question of whether Kevin Pietersen will play for England again has been a debate for media and cricket fans alike.
I understand why people feel it’s important. So I’ll tell you what I said to the First Class County Chairmen, at yesterday’s AGM, and our people across the ECB this morning, on my first full day as Chairman.
In the past few days my integrity has been called into question, something I can’t accept. Throughout my business career and my years at Yorkshire, integrity has been my watchword. It governs everything I do and is an important part of what I bring to the ECB.
So it saddens me that what was a private conversation with Kevin in March has been used to do just that.
Back then, when we talked on the phone, Kevin asked if I thought his England career had ended in the right manner following the last Ashes series in Australia. I agreed that nobody particularly emerged with much credit from the whole episode, particularly given his achievements for England.
Kevin felt he had a lot to offer and was interested in a dialogue with the ECB, sorting things out and working together. He would love to play for England again but he wanted to contribute, whether as a player or not.
I didn’t make any promises. There were no guarantees that if he chose to exit his IPL contract, play County cricket and score runs he would be selected for England. And I said he should make any decision on his future on that basis.
I can see something has been misunderstood around the conversation and in the following debate – and perhaps how that happened.
What I did stress was that when I took over as chairman I would back those people whose job it was to take decisions on team selection. I stand by that.
Ahead of a big, busy summer of cricket, a clear decision needed to be taken. Given the history and the book, the simple fact is that bridges have still not been rebuilt and trust needs to be restored.
That takes time – as Andrew Strauss made clear this week.
Kevin was told on Monday and I completely support the decision that was taken. He may not have liked what he heard but it allowed him to look at his opportunities.
Despite everything, he can work with us to re-build the relationship and make a further contribution to English cricket. It was important he knew where he stood.
Of course, I would like us to move forward and concentrate on the important matter of winning cricket matches. I don’t want to add any more or go deeper into private conversations.
I want to look to the future. I’m excited by the England team that is evolving and I look forward to giving them my full support this week.
Despite his protestations, Graves does not seem to deny telling Pietersen that he would be eligible for selection. He says he gave “no guarantees that if he chose to exit his IPL contract, play County cricket and score runs he would be selected”.
I had two phone conversations with Colin Graves and he was crystal clear in saying I had to get a county, score runs and that there was a clean slate. He said that when he comes in as chairman he wants the best players playing for England. He told me that on the phone in two separate conversations. He also repeated it to national newspapers.
Graves’s attempts to clarify the situation are unlikely to clear anything up. He either offered Pietersen a “clean slate”, or he didn’t. Either Pietersen is fibbing (or mistaken) or Graves is being economical with the truth.
The statement completely ignores the fact the phone conversations between Graves & Pietersen were made possible by his public comments.
Graves, and the ECB have taken us for fools with this statement. I would hope the press chase up the ECB on this, but…
The gift that really does keep on giving..
Oh yes. I love presents; don’t you?! Just off to the ‘hit and giggle’ at the Oval. We’ve got Wahab Riaz playing for us this evening; another unpleasant human being. Why do I bother?
He said this morning that this was coming out at midday. clearly took a little bit more time to fettle. Mr Graves has, in my mind lived up to his name – he joins the graveyard of ECB administrators that don’t actually want to lead with integrity. If he had integrity he would have ruled out Strauss’ statement and not supported it,
Here’s the Telegraph article from 1 March that’s been mentioned a few times this week. I love the last quote.
“It is very simple. What happened in the past is history and there is no point talking about it,” Graves told Telegraph Sport. “I was deputy chairman when the decision was made [to sack Pietersen] and I supported it so there is no point pulling that to bits. But if he wants to play for England then he has to play for a county. That is his decision.
“If he does that and then comes out and scores a lot of runs they can’t ignore him I would have thought but that is up to him. You can’t pick someone when he is not playing.”
“Forget personalities,” said Graves. “Selectors pick the best players in form, taking wickets and scoring runs. That is their job.”
Is it all about “…taking wickets and scoring runs” or inability to move on from hurt feelings over The Book? The former, doing their job. The latter, need a therapist.
Not even KP claimed he had a guarantee:
“I went into the meeting expecting Strauss to say that England’s batting order is good at the moment but if I continued to score runs and if an injury occurred then I would be in contention to play. I would naturally have to earn my recall, but at least I would be eligible. “
Exactly – Graves has pulled the old ‘deny something you’ve never been accused of’ gambit.
“Given the history and the book….” – this is the key bit for me. Some people are still pissed off with KP’s comments in his book and don’t want him to play for England.
The ECB’s handling of this situation has been ridiculous.
It is interesting that Colin Graves did not think that anyone came out well from KP’s first sacking. The whole of the international press agreed that it was shambolic. It took Andrew Strauss only 1 day to make an even bigger mess of the reaffirming of the sacking. This was made even more hilarious by the offer of an advisory role. This to our very best batsman who is desirable everywhere else in the world: Australia (Big Bash); India (IPL) and CPL (West Indies). He played for Sussex for free and gave us a really wonderful batting masterclass. Does Colin Graves really think that we are going to do well against NZ and Australia?
Liar – “I didn’t lie. How dare you accuse me of lying!”
The chairman of the ECB makes a public statement on the day of the launch of the ECB’s premier competition… and doesn’t mention the ECB’s premier competition.
No doubt he will later complain that it hasn’t drawn in the attention and revenue he had hoped for. The guy’s a fucking joke.
A day in the job and already Groves is a dead duck.
My take? A businessman, he reckons wins are better than loses to sell his product, offers KP an olive branch. Fails to allow for Cook (and probably Broads) his fit. Cannot interest Vaughan who would have had Cook out, ends up with Strauss. No way back for KP now, and hence Graves pathetic shit today.
One thing is for sure, however Dizzy will not take the coaches job if KP is cut off to him. Maybe that was simply what Graves – in an amusingly naive way – was trying to facilitate
Perhaps he didn’t want to be asked why England’s players have been made unavailable even though the First Test is still six days away?
I think we know who wrote the “outside cricket” press release
Derek Pringle? Nah he’s too much of an idiot. Could be Clarke? Could be the hidden hand of that man who sprouts lots of roses? Who is it then?
Also bear in mind that Graves has a massive conflict of interest. He (in the form of 2 family trusts) is owed a colossal amount of money by Yorkshire. The last set of accounts I looked at showed that the Graves family was providing day-to-day working capital to the club in addition to some sizeable loans! These trusts rank something like 5th in terms of the creditors of the club, so if it folds he is likely to get nothing. Yorkshire have to survive and thrive, else the Graves family is out of a lot of money. Maybe this is not influencing his decisions….
[…] Colin Graves statement […]
There are so many things in this issue of Pietersen vs ECB but it all boils down to two things – has Pietersen got that talent enough to play for England just once again. And has he got the temper to play for the country?