Paul Downton speaks…KP fights back


A good win for England yesterday. I like Chris Jordan, very much. He has the qualities the side desperately need  – elan, joie de vivre, and personality. So he’ll probably get dropped soon.

Unfortunately, his heroics were destined to be overshadowed the moment Paul Downton came on air during Test Match Special, in what was his first interview since assuming the England managing director role four months ago.

And unable to stand the provocation – and the falsehoods – any longer, Kevin Pietersen has in the last few hours released his first meaningful statement of any kind since being sacked in February.

At first, Downton seemed to be winning the PR battle: his down to earth and thoughtful-appearing conversational style (albeit with cloying repeated references to “Cooky”) persuaded many listeners that they were hearing new information, including genuinely enlightening facts about KP-gate. But as the commentariat began to digest the content and substance of the interview, the facade quickly disintegrated. To my ear – and I’m not alone – Downton was dissembling, deceiving, and plain old fibbing.

In the main, Downton rehashed the points he made at the Moores press conference, often using exactly the same words. He said that Flower flagged up the KP problem after Melbourne; Downton himself then saw Pietersen as “disengaged” at Sydney; Pietersen, he observed, was generally “disinterested and distracted”.

Some confidentiality agreement. At no point did he state what the disengagement actually amounted to, and it’s disappointing that Jonathan Agnew did not ask him directly. I’ve actually discussed this with Agnew today – more of which next week – and he makes the point that in difficult legal circumstances he elicited more information than we’ve heard before. That said, a direct question about specifics would have been perfectly fair.

For example, did Pietersen not turn up to net sessions? Was he failing to prepare properly? Had he flouted team orders? He was certainly sufficiently engaged to provide batting coaching to Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Steve Finn.

Today, KP replied with this:

“The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue. Although I was having injections in my knee, which inhibited my mobility and thus my ability to field close to the wicket, I was fully motivated to play for England and whilst I accept that the series as a whole fell well below my own personal standards, I finished the series as the top scorer”.

The one new motif from Downton was his repeated insistence that sacking Pietersen was the “unanimous” view of the management, coaching teams, and elements of the dressing room. “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”.

So who thought what?

In terms of the management, Andy Flower had held a grudge against Pietersen since January 2009. The other member of team management, by that stage, was – erm – Downton himself.

Exactly how opposed to Pietersen were the coaches? On 15th January, nine days after the Sydney test, the then ODI coach Ashley Giles named Pietersen in the provisional World T20 squad, a decision Flower was party to.

Giles said: “There was no discussion about leaving Kevin out. He’s another million pound asset, at least. He might be worth a bit more than that”.

Meanwhile, on 22nd January, bowling coach David Saker dismissed reports of a rift between Pietersen and the coaching staff:

“He’s a fantastic player and has done some great things but we went through some tough times in the Test series and things come out of that and people want to make up stories and see things that might not be there. When you are losing these things come out quite often.

“The relationship between Kevin Pietersen and Andy Flower hasn’t changed from where I’m sitting and I’m sure what’s being reported and what is out there is nowhere near the truth.”

So perhaps when Downton said “every person on the management team”, he was – how can I put this? – not telling the truth.

And what about “quite a few senior players”? Pietersen responded by saying:

“I did, and continue to have a good relationship with most of the England players, which has been subsequently highlighted by a number of press interviews”.

Who did Downton speak to? And how did he phrase the question? Did he, for instance, ask Graeme Swann, who on 6th February said:

“[Pietersen] made a huge effort to improve his attitude around the dressing room. I saw or heard no issues with him in Australia this winter, his approach was exceptional. That’s why I was baffled when he was sacked as an England player.”

Did Downton seek the views of Chris Tremlett?

I’m pretty good friends with Kevin and I was involved in that tour in Australia and from what I saw he didn’t do anything wrong.”

And what about Stuart Broad? Reportedly, Broad wanted Pietersen in the World T20 squad. On the record, he said this about the charge of disengagement at Sydney:

“You often see things differently from the stands. Kev was down at fine-leg for the majority of the time so he would look disconnected down there. But he did take that responsibility on himself. it was the job Trotty used to do: going down to fine-leg and taking the abuse of the crowd. I was not overly aware of a lot of grumblings going on in Australia.”

There seem to have been rather a lot of players Downton didn’t have an opportunity to consult. Talk about “due diligence”. Michael Carberry had this to say about Pietersen’s sacking:

“Some very, very strange decisions have been made. It was a big surprise, because I don’t think anyone saw that coming. Through the tour Kev was very helpful to me. Over the years Kev, as one of the greats of the game, has always been very helpful in talking about the mental side”.

Next up is Monty Panesar, who judging by his remarks in this interview from March 21st, didn’t sound exactly hostile to the presence of Pietersen in the England side.

“He helped me with my self-belief. When I first came into international cricket, I was a kind of a shy person and he used to be huge in confidence, so he used to be, ‘Believe in yourself, back yourself’. We obviously had a very good relationship together.”

“We are still good friends and who knows. I hope he plays four-day cricket for Surrey and scores a lot of runs, and then sometimes these issues can be dissolved and you never know, he could come back and play for England and things could have a different note.”

And who’s this? Ian Bell, speaking to Mihir Bose earlier this week:

“I feel lucky to have played a career with [Pietersen] and really enjoyed it. To be honest nothing really happened [in Australia].  I wasn’t aware of whatever happened behind closed doors – meetings and stuff”.

Blimey – sounds very disengaged. But we’re running out of names now. Surely Ben Stokes was an anti-KP voice? No.

“He was fine. It was the first time I’d met him properly and my first proper tour playing alongside him, and he explained to me what international cricket can be like. He tried to give me a helping hand, so between him and me there were no issues”.

Jonny Bairstow?

It was a great pleasure to play with him. He could change a game on his own, so it’s disappointing that I won’t get to play with him again”.

Joe Root?

I always got on really well with Kevin. I didn’t realise the situation that existed then. All I know is that he has had a fantastic career for England, that he is a fantastic talent.

Even allowing for the fact that some of the players may have opted for diplomacy as a safer bet than candour, this hardly sounds like a dressing room united against Pietersen. So who spoke against Pietersen? Of the players left unaccounted for, Scott Borthwick, Boyd Rankin, Steve Finn, and Gary Ballance seem unlikely candidates. That leaves Tim Bresnan, an anodyne sort, and…Cook, Prior and Anderson. What a surprise.

Apply just the tiniest scrutiny to Downton’s story, and it collapses in an instant. It’s a shame Jonathan Agnew didn’t put any of these quotes to him during the interview. We all suspected Cook and Prior’s views were at the heart of this saga, and by reduction, Downton has now confirmed this. Presumably, he only sought the opinions of the players he knew would give him the answer he wanted to hear.

Perhaps the most egregious claim concerned Pietersen’s alleged demand to sever his contract. Downton said: “We would have been quite happy to let his contract run out but his team pushed to terminate it.  Kevin wanted to be free to play where he wanted”.

Well, if you were sacked, would you still want to be under the control of the people who sacked you? As KP said today:

“It was made very clear to me that I was not being selected for the World T20 squad, and the ECB did not try to give me the remotest confidence that I would be seriously considered for selection for England again. Had I allowed my contract to “wind down”, as the ECB proposed, I would not only have forfeited the performance-related elements that are part of the England player remuneration, but more importantly my availability as a professional cricketer would have remained under the control of the ECB for a further eight months”.

And here’s one very interesting thing we learned from his statement – the gagging clause was by request of Lord’s:

“I have always abided by the confidentiality clauses that the ECB were insistent on imposing in the settlement agreement I entered into with them at the time of the termination of my central contract, I feel it only fair to exercise my right to reply to the comments made by Paul Downton. I will continue to abide by the confidentiality provisions contained in my settlement agreement, which I believe applies to both the ECB and myself”.

He makes a fair point. The ECB have blabbed and hinted and leaked like a gossipy sieve. Pietersen has kept to his side of the bargain.

Downton also harped on about the “cricketing reasons” for the sacking. The former stockbroker, who made 785 test runs, asserted that:

“I watched Kevin as a fan for the first four Tests but it was frustrating seeing him with his ‘this is the way I play’ type attitude. Clarke played him like a schoolboy almost”.

In response to which, the final word must go to the one thus traduced:

“With regard to the criticisms aimed at my “the way I play type attitude”, I feel it’s only reasonable to remind Mr Downton that this method has brought me over 13,500 runs for England, in addition to being part of four Ashes-winning teams and a World T20-winning side, all of which achievements I am hugely proud of”.


  • I expected the ECB to keep nipping away publicly at KP so it’s no surprise to hear this crap again.

    Why are they bothering? He’s gone so why keep at it? That’s what I don’ t understand.

  • I mean just when this depressing saga was running out of steam, with KP struggling for form, albeit in a not very good team, in the IPL and the start of the international summer and this berk goes and says this…

    At least he broke his silence…but this coupled with the odious Giles Clark “kind of people” comment have just served to illustrate the horribly closed shop and narrow world view those running the game in this country have.

    What a terrible shame that positive performances from some of the new players have been overshadowed by this cretin. Words fail me.

  • Lolly’s right. If my former employer kept saying things like this about me in public, I think I’d know where I’d be meeting them next.

    I simply can’t support the ECB – I will support England players on the pitch but not the muppets a Lord’s (how long before they move to Dubai to be with the ICC and save paying taxes in the UK?).

    What Broad said is quiet right – you look a pillock if you stand at long leg and keep shouting support to the rest of the team (and who’d here in the middle of the MCG). And you can’t keep running into the middle to offer advice – you’d soon be told to stop holding things up and get back down there.

    • I’d just like to know what “disengagement” actually means in practice. If you train assiduously, and try your best in the middle, isn’t that enough?

      • Didn’t Mr Downton first use the term “disinterested” when referring to KP? Clearly showing that he has absolutely no idea what the word means. How do these people get these jobs. Downton is a walking PR disaster.

  • Excellent summary, Maxie.

    Agnew thanked Downton for providing a candid, illuminating summation of the ECB’s thinking as though he was suddenly privy to information he had heard for the very first time. In fact, Downton’s explanation was virtually word-for-word the same as the explanation he gave on the unveiling of Peter Moores as the reintegrated England coach. I guarantee that Downton had been coached like a prime mister before PMQs.

    It would be improper for me to suggest that Downton told lies, but you have clearly highlighted the principal areas where his testimony is directly contradicted by virtually every person he claims to have supported his decision.

    If such a consultation ever took place at all, I wonder how it was undertaken. In the face of an Ashes whitewash, ODI and T20 humiliation, the management staff, whose jobs were on the line, and one or two players, who are likely to have been instrumental in meeting-gate, may have been gathered together in a room and asked a hostile question, “who wants Pietersen in the team?” Any tall poppies in the room. I don’t think so. It may or may not have been quite like this, but it hardly sounds like a legitimate review.

    With the lack of a smoking gun, the four-page dossier containing 50 misdemeanours that were never identified has been neatly replaced by a series of agendas, similar to the earlier misdemeanours only to the extent that they are unidentified.

    When asked whether it was an easy decision, Downton explained he and the leadership group spent three weeks considering the issues. When asked why the early PR was so poorly managed, Downton said he had only been in the job a week!

    Why, said Agnew, could all the “new” revelations not have been made known at the time? Downton explained that the lawyers were involved over a three day period around the time of the initial press conference. So why did the ECB not simply wait till the legal stuff had been concluded before announcing the defenestration of Pietersen?

    I also noted that Downton was far from effusive about Cook’s abilities as a captain, but fulsome about his qualities as a young man. This is obviously an ECB motif now because it exactly mirrors the guff that Giles Clarke came up with about Cook and his family being so “one of them.”

    I am especially looking forward to Cook giving his side of the story when the confidentiality agreement expires, as he promised at an ECB-organised press shindig. Except Paul Downton has already explained, there is no story. Pietersen was just disinterested. There was no smoking gun. So what is Cook going to reveal?

    Two inconvenient points: (1) Downton has all but admitted that Cook is a weak leader; (2) Downton is in total denial about how the ECB spent five years after 2009 dismantling Pietersen’s connection with the team. The notion that the ECB were brilliant keeping Pietersen engaged over a ten-year period is possibly the biggest lie of all.

    • Brilliantly incisive. The scary thing is that assembling all the England player quotes above involved nothing more than Google and thirty minutes of searching. Did it not occur to Downton that we wouldn’t take him at face value? That we might have remembered what all the players have said?

      As you say, Downton was keen to remind us that Cook is an “outstanding individual”. Cook may be, on form, an outstanding accumulator of runs, but I’ve never seen anything to suggest he is in any other regard outstanding. Adequate, affable, unthreatening, maybe.

      If Cook ever had a side of the story to tell, he now can’t tell it without contradicting Downton. What Agnew should have asked him is what exactly made Pietersen such an issue at that particular stage in the timeline – after Melbourne? England were 0-4 down, on the brink of ignominy, with Swann and Trott gone, Cook’s captaincy distintegrating, the batting in dire straits, and no third seamer, and Downton thought the urgent problem was Pietersen, who’d just made 87 at Melbourne? In the absence of other explanations, the vacuum will be filled by the theory that the infamous alleged team meeting was the trigger.

      If so, that was hardly a case of disengagement – in fact, the very opposite.

    • Thanks Tregaskis for your post. Great as usual. Thanks for putting me onto Maxie Allen. What a great piece and just read Maxie’s other posts going back to February. All very good. So ta for that. I might be a old gal now but I do love my cricket and I feel genuinely sad by the dismantling of the game I love by the ECB band of Old Farts. I despair.

  • Paul “I’m a pretty straight kinda guy!” Downton – The Tony Blair de nos jours – Every syllable of his speech – I could hear the subtext either being – “It’s time to draw a line under this and move on!” or “move along, nothing to see here!”

  • Im guessing that the senior players asked were Captain Cook and England’s joint world record holder James Anderson.

  • The most illuminating moment of the interview for me came when Agnew asked him what the ECB and England felt needed to be done to “reconnect” with the paying public. Rather too hastily, Mr Downton shot back with “that’s up to them”, before realising the gaffe and attempting to execute a weasel worded effort to divert the listeners attention from a rare moment of candour on his part.

    The facts are that Downton is an establishment insider with useful connections inside cricket and beyond who will play the game the way the odious Giles Clarke expects it to be played. That game is dirty, disrespectful and unimpressive on just about every level and only serves to re-in force a view that I have held for quite some time that cricket is a great game led by third rate people.

        • Maxie, he says it in the 42nd minute of the TMS download of the I/V. He says words to the effect of (sic) “people ask me what we are going to do to reconnect with the Public, well that’s down to the British Public”. He then immediately contradicts himself by saying that it is down to ‘us’, the players etc etc. Agnew appears to completely miss it.

  • Agree with all the comments above. I do think there is a level of over-analysis going on though. For me this whole thing is simple. Cook is an extremely poor captain, and given his pathetic efforts in the ashes, he gave critics (which included teammates) loads of ammunition. Feeling insecure, Cook decided he couldn’t carry on with a straight talking senior player like KP in the side. The ECB, realising their were no alternatives to Cook, and having held a prejudice against KP for several years (for several reasons ) decided to back the captain – who is, after all, just the kind of well spoken jolly old chap they love to have as England captain.

    Everything since – the lies, innuendo, smearing etc – is simply an attempt by the ECB to justify the decision without actually saying the truth. They can’t, for obvious reasons, say Cook is a douche but he’s our douche, so they have to spout a load of bollocks instead … which obviously fuels conspiracy theories.

    Of course, the ECB could have simply told everyone Cook wanted KP out (and they decided to back the captain), but this would’ve put the ailing skipper under even more pressure – pressure the ECB probably thought he can’t handle; he did, after all, admit he thought about resigning during the ODIs after the Ashes.

    As I’ve said all along, England find themselves in this mess because of the lack of credible alternatives to Cook. We’re stuck with a terrible captain, and in order to bolster his faltering authority they’ve been forced to sack the best batsman (an opportunity they probably relished considering their long held animosity for KP).

    The decision to appoint a failed coach like Moores also stems from all this. No coach worth his salt wants to work with a board who imposes the captain, and dictates who they can or cannot pick, so we had to choose from a limited pool of yes men.

    Everything basically comes down to Cook and the lack of alternatives to him. England could have started this new era with a coach like Gary Kirsten and Pietersen in the team. Instead we have the Steve McLaren of cricket as coach, a poor captain, and an inexperienced middle-order.

    In the immortal words of Theo the Greek taxi driver from the 12th Man CDs, “it’s all bullshit mate”.

    • what do you mean by this?

      “Everything since – the lies, innuendo, smearing etc – is simply an attempt by the ECB to justify the decision without actually saying the truth. They can’t, for obvious reasons, say Cook is a douche but he’s our douche, so they have to spout a load of bollocks instead … which obviously fuels conspiracy theories.”

      the are many viewpoints being explained across the media based on fact and hearsay alike – but to lump all analysis together as ‘conspiracy theories’ is problematic because it suggests that any form of dissent is unacceptable or plain wrong!

      • In a sense, what Downton said was an admission that it was a conspiracy. He sought the views of “some” and “quite a few” of the players. I contend that he asked the ones who would tell him what he wanted to hear. If not, why not ask all the players?

      • In my humble opinion, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Just my view.

  • I mostly agree – earlier in the week I posited that the three most likely, and combined reasons for sacking KP were: their long-held grudge; Downton’s ego; and to bolster Cook. The third one may have been the trigger; the second influenced the rapidity and decisiveness of the decision.

    But why isn’t Broad an alternative as captain?

    • They’d be worried that Broad isn’t enough of a ‘yes’ man perhaps? Also, he’s got enough to do, he’s going to be leading the attack from now on when he’s fit. If he’s fit.

    • Broad in charge of DRS is a scary thought! A couple of months ago I thought Broad could be an option but he wasn’t very impressive when captaining the ODIs and T20s in the Caribbean.

      I’ve heard Bell mooted as an alternative too, but Vaughan (who knows Bell well) said on Sky yesterday that Bell simply isn’t captaincy material. Apparently he’s far too quiet in the dressing room and it’s much better for him just to concentrate on batting. Apparently leadership doesn’t come naturally to him at all.

      • I’m not sure why ‘but what about DRS?’ is the knee-jerk response of everyone to the idea of Broad as captain.

        Cook is excellent at using DRS, Michael Clarke is terrible at it. Which is the better captain?

        • Broad is much more restrained with DRS now anyway. Worth bearing in mind that as he bats at nine, he’s often the last batsman with a chance of getting a score, and if there’s one review left, he may as well use it.

      • Is that why he always captains Warwickshire when Troughton is injured?

        Vaughan contradicts himself then. He said at one time that Bell gave a lot of energy to the dressing room and was full of ideas. During Vaughan’s captaincy, Moores described Bell as having a good cricket brain and fancied Bell as a future England captain, maybe that explains it.

        I wouldn’t want Bell anywhere near the poisoned chalice now.

  • I think the most interesting part of the conversation, which I’m “paraphrasing/transposing” on my blog, is at 40 minutes dead on the podcast. It has Downton saying “the nearer you are to the dressing room, the easier this decision is to understand”.

    Now I’ve encountered some issues by giving an initial reaction to this, so I’ve given this, and the interview as a whole, a lot of thought. I can’t help but draw the conclusion that this is Downton telling us all that we are outside cricket, that familiar phrase, and that leave it to the big boys to make the decisions.

    The whole interview is a mess from Downton’s perspective. It clearly is a Cook v KP thing – we can assign motives to other parties – because it came down, in Downton’s eyes, to a straight choice, but then there’s his form, his fitness, his trust issues, his attitude, his agenda, his decision to cut ties. I’m glad there’s no smoking gun.

    My final thought for now is that is some Confidentiality Agreement. I really wonder what you have to do to breach it.

    Great post Maxie.

    • It was a patronising way to put it, the imputation being that we must defer to their insight and wisdom without demur, or scrutiny. Also, exactly how close was to the dressing room? He wasn’t even MD at the time of the Sydney test. Either he was on the sidelines, or he was interfering.

      We only now know the confidentiality agreement was the ECB’s idea. Why did they ask for it? Shame that didn’t come up in the interview.

      And thanks.

  • Simply wonderful piece for which I thank you sincerely. Just to add that I am not surprised that Agnew did not ask those questions that needed to be asked, given that Agnew continues to say that KP disrupted every dressing room. Agnew is hardly the person who will want to upset his friends in the ECB. Jonathan Agnew (BBC cricket correspondent): ‘You have to draw a line when you’ve been utterly dismantled, hammered this winter. Look at the history of KP — there have been issues everywhere he has been. It is very sad — I loved watching him bat but there has always been this baggage. There is this other side to him and I’m sure that’s part of the reason England have felt it is time to move on.’

    Of course plenty of others who do not hold the same opinion as Mr Downton. These make interesting reading as well.

    Michael Vaughan (captained Pietersen for England): ‘Sad way to end a maverick’s England career. Would love to know what he does that is unmanageable!!?? I think the ECB have to explain to everyone what KP has done so we can all have clarity and reasoning. Would have thought new coach would want full set of players to pick from.’

    Chris Gayle (West Indies batsman): ‘No KP for the Caribbean tour later this month? That’s really sad for English/ international cricket. Don’t let the fans suffer. Was really looking forward to the hype, would be big ticket sales for us.’

    Alex Stewart (former England and Surrey captain): ‘When we were winning we didn’t hear anything. When we lose everyone is pointing fingers at KP — and I find that unfair and unjust.’

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Personally I should have thought that Vaughan had a much better understanding of KP than Mr Downton or anyone else. Also Alex Stewart’s view is interesting given that KP plays for Surrey under Stewart.

    Thanks again for fantastic analysis Maxie (hope it’s alright to call you by your first name!) which I and others have ensured that commenters on the Daily Telegraph and anywhere else I can thing of to get a brilliant piece from the other side of the fence.

    You might be interested to know that England Cricket Facebook page ran the interview and received a mixed reception although a great many were very angry. It was taken down some time either last night or this morning!!!

    • Annie (I think first name terms is more than appropriate) – thank you very much indeed for your very kind words. I’m really glad that you thought the post provided food for thought. I just reasoned that it would be rather revealing to bring together all the evidence which contradicted Downton’s account.

      And thanks for adding to that with the quotes you also provided. Vaughan, of course, had long since left the team, and the difference between the dynamic between him and Pietersen, and between Cook and Pietersen, tells us many things about the whole saga. Crucially, Vaughan’s departure led to Pietersen’s appointment as skipper. The collapse of KP’s captaincy, as Andrew Strauss himself revealed, changed forever the mutual attitudes between him and the England management. My theory is that this led directly to what happened in February, as I outlined here:

      Very interesting, too, to hear about the Facebook page. Thanks again.

      • Oh Cheers Maxie. Didn’t expect that. You can call me what yer like as long as it’s polite! LOL! How on earth have I missed out on your pieces aye? Just seen another one from February so had a read of that. Another brill piece. Thanks. It’s good to get incisive, clear and and such well written pieces. Of course love your turn of phrase.
        Just read the other piece you have written. Boy it is good and really sums up the tragedy. As I understand it Vaughan never liked or got on with Moores. I still wonder if this is the reason Vaughan threw in the job. I know he was coming to the end of career but he still had a bit of life in the engine but perhaps thought working with Moores was a bridge too far?
        ‘Michael Vaughan has revealed his exasperation as he tried in vain to forge a successful working relationship between himself as England captain and Peter Moores as coach.
        Vaughan writes: “The team is starting to get irritated by the new management regime – being told what to do and treated like schoolkids. Peter (Moores) loves talking and having the last word.”
        Vaughan explains: “I still think that the England captain should have ultimate control, but Peter wanted to be in charge from the sidelines.”

        One might say that this is not a shining endorsement of Mr Moores in 2008. No wonder then that Vaughan decided to call it a day. Then they put KP in the firing line and he couldn’t cope with Moores. I read somewhere that quite a few of the players said they didn’t like Moores attitude either – treating them all like kids. I guess that is why Cook fits the bill. He is like a kid really who needs to be potty trained. And of course Moores is great mates with Flower. All nicely tied up in a pretty bow.

        Downton and that other imbecile Clarke would have us all believe that everything about KP is bad. I just do not believe that. A Maverick? Yes indeed. A Prima Donna? Probably. But this quote is interesting: Following the 2009 Ashes victory, Pietersen revealed he relinquished the captaincy. “You know what – I have never said this before – I lost the captaincy,” he said. “I got rid of the captaincy for the good of English cricket, and we would not be here today if I had not done what I did then.” One can’t help but feel getting rid of him is not for the good of English cricket.

        Not the best of mates but Flintoff didn’t hesitate to speak his mind: ‘Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff believes that Kevin Pietersen has been made a scapegoat for England’s Ashes whitewash after having his international career brought to an end.’

        ‘This outburst from the ECB has been seen as archaic and childish by much of the sporting world.’ Tom Seymour (Hit for Six)

        What really upset me most about the ECB was its flagrant disregard to the fans who go to see cricket being played by the best which includes KP. And this bit by David Tickner really does spell it out. The ECB are basically a bunch of old farts who need to go.
        The ECB decided to put out the fire altogether by pouring petrol on it in the form of another witless pronouncement that revealed far more about the ECB than it did about the crimes or otherwise of England’s finest batsman. The latest statement is a pathetic farce from start to finish. Throughout, the statement is high-handed and superior in attitude. The phrase “outside cricket” is especially revealing. This, in the ECB’s own words, is what they think of you. You are not part of cricket. You are merely a consumer. Sit back and pipe down. David Tickner (Hit for Six). The disgusting way Clarke has spoken about the fans and their appalling attacks on Downton on Social Networks. Tickner is right the ECB expect us to shut up and bugger off the planet.

        When the top man Clarke comes out with this tosh you begin to wonder whether we are talking about a centre page on the latest luvvies or, the greatest game in the world. We need the best and need to manage the best.
        Giles Clarke: “He (Cook) played well up in Scotland, he is a very determined guy, a very good role model and he and his family are very much the sort of people we want the England captain and his family to be.” Excuse my language but WTF is that. Cook couldn’t lead a bank robber to a safe let alone lead England to victory in anything. Both Downton and Clarke seem to talking about a Mills and Boone story! It is outrageous. I personally hold the ECB responsible for all this mess and management failure and they are contemptible for the way they have talked about the fans and leaked venomous stuff about KP.

        Cheers. I will be following your pieces on a regular basis.

  • I don’t understand why Agnew could not put those specific questions you mentioned to Downton. TMS can’t get sued for asking awkward questions!

  • […] What have the ECB deigned to say? Dark Lord Downton has spoken twice about Pietersen, firstly at the Moores press conference, when he thanked the professional journalists for attending but forgot to address the punters who actually pay all their wages. The best he could come up with was the ‘disinterested and disengaged’ twaddle which he then largely repeated on TMS a month later, an appearance so successful he ended up apologising to Pietersen, and mendaciously claimed that Pietersen had no supporters in the dressing room. […]


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