Sticks and stones


Here’s Vic Marks on Alastair Cook:

“It is not a fresh phenomenon for the nation to debate whether the right man is in charge but this has seldom been accompanied by such vitriol – at least on social media”.

I like Vic, both as a writer and broadcaster, but I wonder if Twitter and Facebook have come along a little too late in his career. He’s fallen, as so many do, into the obvious trap – of regarding social media as an autonomous entity with its own consciousness, rather than simply an expression of what people think (which is generally what it actually is).

When Vic says vitriol on social media, what he actually means is vitriol by many England supporters.

But what counts, or doesn’t, as the authentic view of “real” fans depends on the point you want to make. Vic goes on to remark that:

“At the games there was a discernible groundswell of support for Cook – he received a remarkable standing ovation when reaching 50 at Southampton”.

Cookites love on to harp on about the Ageas Bowl ovation. This moving display of emotion, they try to convince us, demonstrates that true supporters (as opposed to us waspish irritants on blogs) remain obediently in adoration of our Dear Leader.

What they fail to point out is that the ground was barely half full for most of the match. What did all the empty seats say? All summer crowds were poor. What does that tell you about the grass roots’ relationship with the establishment and their captain?

There is another point in play here. Alastair Cook will drop his toast butter-side-up and everyone will show sympathy for his rotten luck. Kevin Pietersen will do the same, and then be accused of deliberately trying to ruin the carpet.

The idea that, of all people, it’s Cook who gets the vitriol on social media is completely ridiculous.

Earlier today, Kevin Pietersen Tweeted:


Test Match Special then posted the Tweet on their Facebook page. Here are some of the responses:






The overall thrust was that (a) Pietersen is a c*** (no reason given) and (b) what a cheek he has in finally telling his story after being sacked without explanation and then coerced into silence. How dare he write an autobiography!

There were a few supportive comments, but they were vastly in the minority. The level of aggression, pure hatred, and ingratitude, are very saddening.

Kevin Pietersen is the highest scoring batsman in the history of English cricket. Just think about that for a moment. He also made twenty three test centuries, and 8,112 runs at 47.28. And yet many England supporters wish – violently – that we’d never had him.

Why? If you boil down his alleged misdemeanours, there is actually nothing on him of any substance. And his critics know this, deep down. They don’t hate him for a few texts or a messy attempt to miss some ODIs. No, they revile him for his alien attitudes. Pietersen was nakedly ambitious. He wanted success and made no apology for his desires or achievements. He lacked self-effacement.

None of those characteristics go down well in England. We prefer modest types who fail to brash braggards who win. Pietersen is hated because he unsettled us, scared us, took us out of our comfort zone. His swagger held up a mirror to our national self-loathing, and we didn’t like what we saw. He was the flash guy at uni with the sports car and hot girlfriend, but you preferred to hang out with the boring loser who made you feel good by comparison.

The Facebook comments above demonstrate why the England cricket team will never again become world number one. We don’t want to win. It’s too scary. We’d rather lose, so we can feel sorry for ourselves. Who would we rather have? An insipid yes-man like Alastair Cook, who polishes his blazer buttons nicely and doesn’t scare the horses? Or someone reckless, exciting, and unique? No contest.

As Pink Floyd said (and, I know, I’ve quoted this before), hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.


  • I am not a sheep. I am reasonably intelligent and have been involved in the world of cricket for 58 years. I make my own mind up. Alastair Cook is not a one day captain. End of. Do something about it.

  • “And yet many England supporters wish – violently – that we’d never had him”

    Whilst I’m nowhere near that camp, I wonder why that is. Perhaps you could explore that in a blog?

  • Have to agree with the point about the TMS commenters, their sheer bile made it impossible for me to keep following TMS on Facebook (not that I’ve ever been a great fan of TMS).

    These self proclaimed cricket purists are just the type of people who hold English cricket back imo. Not progressive in any way.

  • I genuinely have never understood why a sizeable portion of cricket fans seem to hate this man, who most of them have never met. It is utterly bizarre.

    Think he’s overrated? Understandable. Dislike his outward appearing brashness? Understandable. Find his habit of getting out taking risks trying to score rather than getting out taking no risks and not scoring. Each to his own aesthetic preference, so again completely understandable. AS for his much reported misdemenours, the only one that I understand attracting supporters ire are the dodgy BBMs sent against South Africa.

    But quite why a man who achieved so much for England on the field, and yes has used that achievement to cash in off the pitch (but in our greed is good culture, how is that a “bad” thing?) is hated, and hate is the only word, is weird.

    I wonder if there are any universal traits amongst those who seemingly dispise this man? Is it a class thing? Is it an age thing? Is it more prevalent amongst county members and active amateur players? I have absolutely no idea.

    Neil, I agree it would make for an interesting topic to discuss further, at risk of KP overkill in the next week or so. Also as man who writes balanced and measured opinion pieces as well, it would be great to read your take on it too.

    At this stage it would be remiss not to acknowledge my own criticism of Cook in the last few months but for the most part I’ve tried to be fair and limit it to comment on continued under performance with the bat and his continued baffling selection in the ODI team, based on stats and my eyes.

    • Thanks Mike, I will try and put something down.
      It’s a really interesting topic. KP was easily my favourite player 2005-2009, but I found myself getting tired of him. I will have a think and try and put something together :-)

    • Excellent post. As a non KP person I would just like to say that I don’t hate him. I simply have no time for him. For me it was over at textgate.

      He is a bit like Princess Diana. He will not go quietly. He can get in the hair and that consequently can provoke an aggravated response.

      Have to say there has been none other like him, on or off the field.

        • Thanks for taking the time to chronicle all of this. As it all slotted into place memories that were hazy became vivid once more. Throughout his career in county or country there have always been rumblings of discontent in terms of KP’s attitude, irrespective of his outstanding capabilities as a batsman. The captaincy/Moores issue did not bother me much. I did feel very uncomfortable while watching him playing at Headingley in partnership with James Taylor. It was as if Taylor barely existed at the other end. This was compounded when he walked off with the South Africans leaving Taylor to leave the field on his own. I think it was at that point that I had a real sense of unease in terms of his loyalty to the England team and the essential worth of his character. The next test was at Lords when the textgate shit hit the fan. I doubt that we will ever know the full truth of that but sending provocative messages to the opposition in a test match is poor form and something that I cannot find in my heart to excuse or condone. I have had no time for Kevin Pietersen since then. I don’t follow him on Twitter but I sometimes see retweets. I was actually shocked to read him making fun of the judge in the Pistorius case because of her diction and his recent comment about Dominic Cork was crass and unkind. I’m sure there is good in him but he is doing himself no favours in the way that he is currently using Twitter. He shows immaturity and a lack of dignity and grace. This may have nothing to do with his ability as a cricketer but it does serve as an indication as to why he is being perceived in such a negative way.

          • One should not read a mere re tweet before rushing to judgement.

            For example.. Mr Cork, live on Sky TV made ridiculous allegations about KP having a physical confrontation with Cook. Of course this was untrue. He then changed his tune to there was only a confrontation verbal or otherwise. In return, KP makes it clear he does not like Cork. Big deal. Cork proved his a ECB hack. Made no attempt at an apology for his false claims.

            When you don’t want to like someone it’s easy to find any excuse. Thing is, there is very little substance to why people dislike him when you boil it down to actual evidence.

            Even the texts. You have no real idea what was sent. What the state of the dressing room was at the time. One thing is for sure… Strauss our fine captain did a fine job of supporting KP.

            As captain did he ever go to ECB and say what is with these leaks on KP’s contract? Did he or Flower do anything about KP genius account? Nope. It was all buried quickly.

            It was always, one rule for KP. One for the rest of the team. A mistake my KP was put under the microscope of our national papers. A mistake by any other team member was quickly brushed away.

            • I accept your point about making a judgement on the basis of a single tweet, but having seen it, I then listened to the podcast of the Cork interview for background. I stand by my previous comment.

              I have never looked for reasons to dislike Kevin Pietersen. Liking or not liking him is immaterial to his worth as a member of the England team. For reasons I have previously given I think he should have been hung out to dry after textgate. That is my personal opinion but once he was reinstated he had my support as a member of our team.

              When it came to the Ashes he was the indisputable top scorer. Even so, he came across as being rather strangely out of sync a lot of the time. I was not surprised to hear Paul Downton say that he was ‘disengaged’ because that’s the way it looked to me, even from a distance. I will be the first to agree that this is a subjective matter of opinion.

              Hopefully we will one day know the truth behind this so it can be put to rest. He seems clearly past his best. He lacked form at Surrey this season and also appeared to be carrying a fairly limiting injury. Apart from anything else I cannot see how he warrants selection for England on current form alone.

              It is Kevin Pietersen himself who has wanted a different rule for Kevin Pietersen. Perhaps that is just one of the reasons why it all went wrong. I would like to take this opportunity to say I have no onjection to people not fitting a mould. On the contrary, but with Kevin Pietersen it is different to that and more than that.

              • I think we hold different values when it comes to what is more important.

                Personally, having had your character insulted by Cork (falsely) on Sky News is more damaging then KP calling Cork the equivalent of W**ker or Bell-End.

                Also, these tweets in context are almost ‘banter’. They are not attacks on an individual like Cork’s on Sky.

                Once again, it is unfair to say he should not be in the team on form. It was made clear to him, his England career was over. He was not dropped on performance but simple politics.

                If you read his tweets. He even came out and said it, just give him a hint that performance in County cricket will get him in the team and he would instantly be playing. But it’s not performance that keeps him out. Just the same way, it’s not performance keeping Cook in the England team.

                This is also not about reinstating KP in the side (I am still of the opinion he can offer something) but more about the way ECB has carried itself since January.

                I am looking forward to the book for many reasons, one being to get his story. For all his ego, this man has taken alot of sh*t these last 6 months and really come out of it more of a gentlemen. No hissy fits like that from Cook and ‘something must be done’ about Warne. No I won this, I won that.

                Secondly, I think it will be the first time there will be some probing questions about ECB and it’s conduct . Of course the journos will sweep it under the carpet but it will still be interesting to see some of the points he raises. If it’s like his telegraph coloums, it will ask the right questions.

  • I don’t understand the bile directed towards KP, never have. He’s always seemed ery professional when it came to the cricketing side of his game.

    In regard to anything put on Facebook public pages, the comments are about as worth reading as Youtube comments. They can’t be used as evidence of anything other than a display of just how bored humanity is becoming.

  • I’ve been struck by the similarities between some of the stuff written about Pietersen and many of the ‘Comments’ I read about Nick Faldo during the Ryder Cup.

    Faldo was a poor choice as Ryder Cup captain but as a player he gave much to European golf. The contempt directed at him has been quite astonishing to a relatively casual golf follower like me. Faldo and Pietersen had some things in common – undisguised ambition, somewhat clunky social skills and horizons that reached far beyond the comfy, complacent worlds of the shire golf and cricket clubs. Perhaps there are other parallels I’m not seeing?

    The reaction to Phil Mickelson’s comments at the post-match press conference also acted as a reminder why the vast majority of sportsman (including England cricketers) never talk in anything but the blandest of cliches at these things (I love the scene in ‘Bull Durham’ where Kevin Costner teaches Tim Robbins to not say anything interesting to the press). Mickelson made reasoned, substantial criticisms of a number of US captains and the media turned into “bitter Phil knifes Tom” (some of the better golf writers are starting to acknowledge Mickelson was mostly right).

    • Some good comparisons there, sometimes some sports writers/fans/members of the general public seem to forget the point of professional sport is to win. As long as rules aren’t being broken and people aren’t getting hurt, being nice has sweet FA to do with it.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I have long thought that Faldo is consistently the most under-appreciated British sports person in my 34 years as a sports lover. And you cannot escape the conclusion, or the parallel: he and the media were (understatement) not on the best of terms.
      I was Team Mickelson on Sunday as well. I imagine that, were he watching, a certain Pietermaritzburg-born cricketer would have recalled the infamous players meeting…

    • As far as the Mickelson comments about the captains since Azinger, as far as I recall, Davis Love III did a fantastic job in Medinah with USA entering the singles 10-6 to the good (the same score as Europe had this weekend). The comeback in Medinah was down to the USA players getting their arses kicked by their European counterparts in the singles. The victory this week was down to the USA team losing 7 out of 8 points in foursomes.

      Mickelson had an axe to grind because he got left out on Saturday.

  • At some point, it became OK to hate Kevin Pietersen. I don’t understand why and I think it’s very sad. It demeans the sport.

    I thought his tweet was quite funny, actually.

      • I think it started before that, Arron. August 2012 was the big ‘told you so’ moment for those who already had their minds made up.

        • Fair enough. It may well have started before that. But what I mean is that the hatred was legitimised (“became OK” if you like) by the tone of the media coverage in August 2012. The imperative to inform (as opposed to judge) was completely abandoned. Henderson was on Radio 5 Live talking about “riff-raff” at Lord’s; Selvey was dripping poison every time he submitted an article; the Guardian editorials stood firmly behind the conservative establishment on the subject; substantive issues such as burnout from playing all formats were drowned out by sensationalism; history was revised so only Pietersen had a problem with Moores; the idea that the texts contained tactical advice persists two years later even though the ECB is on record as accepting they didn’t; some fragrantly-expressed anti-South African sentiment went overground in the BTL discussions, etc etc.

          It was such a gleeful, spiteful collective sting operation that there was bound to be a massive backlash from some of the people who just paid to watch him play. And then exactly the same scenario played itself out in February 2014. Which is why the Guardian international blogs never recovered, and why a lot of us ended up here or on HDWLIA.

          Look, for instance, at that comment from ‘Andy Harnwell’ on the TMS page: “I’d like to know if it was the reason for him not scoring any decent runs in the last 3 years”. Staggeringly ill-informed, in a way I don’t think would even have been possible before August 2012.

  • Kevin Pietersen neither unsettled nor scared me. I am as uncomfortable with a boring loser as I am with a brash self centred attention seeker, seemingly motivated mainly by money.

    It’s can be difficult to gauge a level of support or otherwise by taking a look at social media. Prople do tend to gravitate towards those who think in the same way as themselves. No way of knowing the breadth and depth of any pond.

    You make good points on Full Toss and I enjoy the posts very much. It’s always good to see all sides of any question even though I can’t agree with all of your views.

    I have no time for Kevin Pietersen, because of his attitudes as you rightly say, but also because of his disloyalty. It’s my opinion that he should never have been taken back after textgate, win or lose without him.

    Thanks for you time Maxie, it was an interesting read even though we are at odds on this. Keep them coming.

    • Jenny, can I ask you to explain what you mean by his “disloyalty” Also why you would not have let him back in 2012. I am on a learning curve at the moment.

      • Only Kevin Pietersen and the South African recipriants know the exact content of those texts. He has admitted however that the texts were ‘provocative’. That is not what we need of an England player in a test match. To me it is disloyalty. It also prematurely cost us our Captain.

        • So Jenny, by the same standards, would Swan, Broad and few others that helped aid a parody account of KP whilst he was in England duty mean that they too be no longer in the team? Surely that too is disloyal? Or one rule for KP another for the rest?

          Also, to think he cost Strauss his job, he was being carried by the team. He was a walking wicket, think Cook only much worse. Look at his stats, please do not legitimise ECB PR.

          • My views are my own. It’s what I thought at the time and nothing has changed my mind. Nowt to do with the ECB.

            Have Broad and Swanny admitted responsibility for the parody account? Even so, it’s not quite the same thing. It is disloyalty to a team mate but hardly cosying up to the opposition in a test match.

          • Reply to Timmy’s “Look at his stats”:

            Strauss averaged just 32.8 in his last 33 Tests (after the 2009 Ashes). That average is inflated by averages over 60 against West Indies and Bangladesh whereas he averaged under 30 against SA, Pakistan and SL.He scored only three centuries.


            There is no way Strauss went “prematurely” – if anything, he stayed on too long.

            • This reminds me of one of my all-time favourite bits of ATL stat-mining/special pleading.
              In August 2012, Mike Selvey pointed out that Strauss had scored most runs for England that summer. It was true, but it broke down like this:
              Tests 6 Runs 433 Average 39.36
              v WI Tests 3 Runs 326 Average 65.20
              v SA Tests 3 Runs 107 Average 17.83
              Whereas Player X’s record broke down like this:
              Tests 5 Runs 422 Average 52.75
              v WI Tests 3 Runs 203 Average 50.75
              v SA Tests 2 Runs 219 Average 54.75
              Player X was top of the series batting (and bowling!) averages when he was, of course, dropped for the Third Test and deprived of the opportunity to score those all-important 12 runs.

        • Thanks for that Jenny. I was sure I had read somewhere that nobody had access to the texts, so I was mystified why anyone could judge him on that but as you say texting a friend who happens to be in the SA team with a provocative comment is a sackable offence. Wasn’t Strauss the pundit who called KP a “c@@t” on tv which was heard by viewers that same captain?. I wonder what he is doing now since Sky sacked him. Oh! Wait a minute he wasn’t sacked was he!! Never mind good to know a nice man like that didn’t lose his job. As for Cook being good looking, I prefer Jos Buttler. He has a bit of excitement about him. The first time I saw a pic of Cook, I thought he played for an Indian team with his black hair and eyes. Just shows how perceptions get muddied. As I say I’m on a learning curve, imagine if we never changed our views we would be never grow as human beings. Thanks once again.

          • Thanks for your reply Vanessa.

            Unfortunately the English cricketing community has been split into two over this entire Kevin Pietersen furore. The only good thing being that we can still talk to each other.

            Let me reassure you that I am rarely set in my ways. When I find new evidence I am always pleased to be able to change my mind. Discovering that I am wrong can be a very liberating experience.

            Strauss forgot to switch off his mic and seemed to be genuinely distressed by his faux pas. To sack or not to sack must lie with the employers I think.

            Good luck with Jos Buttler. He is indeed a lovely lad.

  • It is all due to propaganda and a lot of people are easily led through propaganda. The ECB and its media poodles have generated hate for Kevin Pietersen just as they are now generating love and affection for Alastair Cook.

    • Speaking as a woman I can tell you that there was a lot of love and affection for Alistair Cook before the media climbed on the bandwagon! :)

      • You are entitled to your woman’s view Jenny and yes women are supposed to find Cook attractive. However, my comment wasn’t a response to you. I was commenting on Maxie’s article but the comment appeared as a response to you.

        • I did realise that your comment was a general one and not in reply to mine. It amused me. Women who have little interest in cricket ask me when ‘the good looking one’ will be on! It always makes me laugh.

  • I’m curious to hear about the “rebel” meeting in Aus and wonder how many of those that were there are running for cover.

  • Many thanks for all your comments.

    What’s particularly saddening about the Facebook thread is that most of the commenters aren’t hardcore ‘activists’ but just casual cricket fans scrolling through their Facebook news feed.

    In the end they got what they wanted, and I hope they’re happy now England are back to being XI self-effacing dullards. I suspect that if England lose next year’s Ashes, many of the people would be much happier losing without Pietersen, than winning with him.

    Several times on that thread I’ve asked – what did he do wrong, exactly? And no one’s replied.

    On the ‘when it started’ front, textgate was the symptom, not the cause. People already hated him then, so when that news broke they were overjoyed.

    Why? As much as anything, Pietersen is perceived to be arrogant. What he actually *does* which is arrogant is another matter – Cook has boasted far more, in press conferences, than KP ever did.

    But the perception is there, and in England arrogance is a dreadful crime – a much greater one than abandoning your team to earn apartheid rand on rebel tours.

    We like humility, we like people who know their place, and we like people who play the game by the traditional rules.

    Piers Morgan attracts such opprobrium himself for very similar reasons. He wants success, and appears zealously ambitious – how many other UK TV presenters have the balls to land a major gig in the USA?

    It wouldn’t occur to most British TV stars to even try. Likewise, it would never occur to Alastair Cook to attempt a switch-hit. If the idea did occur – in either case – they’d reject it for being too ambitious, or for looking a show-off.

    Neither KP nor PM care much about offending British tastes by failing to conceal their hunger for personal success. And neither operate within the convention British framework – PM’s powerbase was built on America’s Got Talent; KP’s is global, and particularly Indian, not just English. He shuns the English cricket press.

    A similar case in point is Bono – people happily buy his records, but because he’s very rich, and he goes about his charity work in a rather pompous way, and shows so humility or down to earthness, an awful lot of people think he’s a very rude word.

    • With all due respect, there is a huge difference between Pietersen and Morgan.
      One of the two is an outstanding talent in his chosen profession…

    • Maxie I can’t speak for anyone else but until textgate I saw KP as a brilliant player and valued him as a member of our team.

      I am a maverick myself and appreciate individuality, independent thought, and strength of purpose in others. I’m sure there is a lot of good in Kevin Pietersen but for me that does not outweigh the downside.

      I could go into specifics if anyone is interested, but I think it might be a bit of a bore, so I will leave it there.

        • Oh dear. I was hoping I would not be asked for this. I need a bit of time to give it brevity and coherency. Otherwise it could well end up to be a boring ramble.
          It might do anyway, because these things are always in the view of the beholder. Its a very subjective thing.

    • Not sure the above comment is going to help you with the Shirleys of this world, Maxie…

      In fact, I don’t feel at all comfortable with Pietersen and Morgan being linked in this way. I am here because I’m a sports fan, and in that context the latter has given me absolutely no pleasure whatsoever. I can excuse Pietersen’s alleged and actual excesses because I loved to watch him bat. Morgan has no such mitigation.

      People don’t hate him for the same reason they hate Pietersen. For me, he can have all the naked ambition he likes and it won’t change a thing. People actually remember things like this:

      Personally, I found the most recent of these hardest to stomach. Alastair Cook is worth at least 8,423 of anyone aligning themselves with Brooks and Coulson.

      • Maxie here…I don’t think I was singing his praises, particularly. PM was on my mind because so many of the Facebook commenters braced him and Pietersen together – they have become conjoined into one organism, at least in some people’s imagination, and a unified object of derision. The hatred for one of them bleeds into the other, and back again. Which is why I thought it was relevant. I suspect that some people dislike Pietersen simply because Piers is friends him, and for no other reason.

        Overall, though, I agree with your point, I think, in that Piers M is completely *irrelevant* to the real issues at stake – a red herring. Whatever one thinks of him, or doesn’t, has no bearing on what matters, which is the ECB’s conduct.

        • I don’t dispute that at all; I’m sure there are plenty of people like that. I was trying to speak for the many people I’ve seen on the Guardian, Telegraph, Twitter and HDWLIA who share our views but constantly express their regret that those views are now so closely associated with Piers Morgan. He really is *such* an easy target that it speaks volumes that Pietersen “won the PR war” in spite of his presence. Just to add a little more nuance to my previous post, I watched his programmes with Botham and Flintoff and enjoyed them as light entertainment. I thought he showed some guts in taking on the US gun lobby. I certainly don’t despise him in the way I do Kelvin MacKenzie.

          I was afraid that you might be leaving this excellent blog open to the sort of criticism you received from ‘Shirley’ a few weeks ago, but on a larger scale. Perhaps I was being paranoid after what happened with Tregaskis. But yes, it really is a shame that anyone should feel they have to distance themselves from a public figure in order to somehow validate their own independent, passionately-held views.

          • Thanks, Arron.

            Looking back now, I suppose my original comment might come across as sticking up for Piers Morgan for no apparent reason. What I was actually getting at was the phenomenon of Pietersen-Morgan duo-hatred, because I do think that they are disliked by their critics for quite similar reasons, and that tells us something about Pietersenphobia itself, the original subject.

            I agree that PM’s gravitational field doesn’t always help everyone on our side of the fence, but references to him are such a lazy cop-out in any argument. In the same way, I think Brian Moore – fierce and vocal KP critic – can be irritating, pompous and self-righteous. But I don’t mention him in discussions about Pietersen because (a) he’s not a cricket correspondent and (b) it had nothing to do with him.

            I see what you mean about leaving oneself open to criticism, but I’m very wary of tempering anything just to negate the risk of carping. If you do that, the eventual result is that Shirlies effectively edit the blog!

  • Maxie wrote a piece a few weeks ago reminding us to ask where pieces of information have come from.

    Can anybody remind me where the allegation that Pietersen called Strauss a “doos” in the 2012 text originates?

  • I think books and confidentiality clauses are irrelevant if comments on this page and the TMS Facebook feed is anything to go by. Minds have been made up and counter arguments were readied long ago, rendering this discussion pretty futile. This is the saddest thing of all.

    Are the ECB in the wrong? Probably. Was KP in the wrong? Probably. Will they both have some merit in their differing accounts? Definitely.

    Therefore unless you completely discredit one sides version of events (and I don’t think you can) there will be no unassailable gospel truth to conclude.

  • I repeat….all we want from the ECB, is honesty and transparency, not too much to ask is it? For me, this is the crux of the whole issue!
    KP is just a symptom and not the cause. Ask yourself why this organisation is so anal, secretive and unprincipled. What is it about that organisation that requires it’s members and players to be so rigidly tight lipped and controlled? Every interview with players/coach sees them offering up the exact same soundbites and management speak year after year. Look what happens to you when you don’t toe the line..KP, Tremlett, Carberry et al.
    What is it about this organisation that requires an embedded Press Corps of perceived sycophants and lickspittles, totally unworthy of being described as “Cricket Journalists” Ask yourself why George Dobell, Jarrod Kimber, and David Hopps are voted best journalists by a country mile.
    Ask yourself why the odious Clarke and yet another of his unsavoury partners has stitched up World cricket.
    Ask yourself why millions of cricket lovers, or wannabe cricket lovers and their children are denied the opportunity to watch good cricket.
    Ask yourself why many Counties are squillions in debt.
    Ask yourself why a captain has been appointed who wouldn’t even be picked for any half decent one day side, and who openly admits has no chance of winning the World Cup…(yes, “World” think about it)
    Ask yourself why the cricket doesn’t matter to them anymore!!
    Blood hell, I’m off…I need me cornflakes!!

    • Very good questions, Dave. Perhaps there is some massive scandal lurking… or perhaps it’s just mediocrity frantically trying to conceal incompetence.

  • Pietersen is a product of the IPL era and has carried the weight of the English cricket establishment’s hatred and fear of that competition and their perceptions of what it means for the game.

    It seems to me that KP has always seen himself as a world cricketer – though I believe his attachment to England is genuine and not just a flag of convenience – and he relates to the other top players whom he meets at the IPL and the other T20 competitions and thinks of them as his friends and equals. I suspect he never thought of the texts as disloyal, he was just contacting a fellow world cricketer who happened to be playing for the other side at the time.

    And in some ways Pietersen’s very bad at marketing himself – he played himself into fame and controversy, but he lacked Flintoff’s flair for building the image of a likeable ordinary lad made good. KP never found a narrative for himself that the TMS axis of conservative, mostly provincial, nostalgia-prone, county-supporting English cricket supporters could latch onto. In India, he can be loved simply for trying to push the boundaries of batting, for being adventurous and having panache, but somehow that was seen in large parts of England as foreign and suspect and rather trashy, a view which has been encouraged by the media representations of him and the cricket establishment’s attitude towards him.

    • I think that is right and it perhaps suggests KP has been poorly advised during his career to have ended up so unpopular.

      He is one of my all time greats and I am dismayed at the publics reaction to him. I was at Finals day and as a Hampshire man when he was booed I made sure I cheered him as loud as I could.

      • KP is one of those people who gives the impression that they are only interested in themselves. He says and does things that are interpreted by many as being arrogant and selfish. He also, in my opinion, lacks the basic good grace and manners that are expected by boring old farts like me. He has a long and consistent track record of problems, disputes and disharmony in every dressing room where he has been involved … “friendless among the senior players in the England team” is Michael Atherton’s opinion, and that is his downfall. It is a matter of judgement. Is his inclusion good for the team as a whole, or not? I would say that I would not risk having him in my team no matter how good he is as an individual and I am not even convinced about that. His performance in the IPL this season was poor and in the England team last season likewise.

        • Is it more important to be immense in the dressing room, or, immense on the field of play? Ideally both, but, personally speaking, I wouldn’t care if they scratched each others eyes out in the dressing room, as long as they played and stuck up for each other on the field, like true professionals, and trashed the opposition at every turn! The fact still remains one of the greatest talents that blessed our game (and I feel privileged to have watched him) has been shabbily and disgracefully treated by the Establishment, and their acolytes. It is that shabbiness and disgaceful conduct that many of the paying punters (outside cricket of course) want some serious answers to. Who is going to be the next highly gifted maverick to rankle the ire of the toffs and upset Paul Downton at his breakfast? Joe Root? (a cheeky little bugger as ever was) Alex Hales? (it’s the way I play…I remember him saying that!) Jos (I’m not ready for Test cricket cos Cooky told me so) Buttler? Or will all these huge talents be destroyed as they are moulded by the ECB as very nice, and utterly conformist and compliant in the dressing room…..I wonder?

          • Reply to The Other Dave’s “who is going to be the next”?

            Joe Root? Would he really be the annointed FEC if there was any danger of that? They love Root’s ‘cheekiness’ – it is a crucial part of the ‘in yer face’ style that started under Fletcher.

            Alex Hales? Possibly. For me though the one to watch is Ben Stokes.
            England seem to have established a method of dropping players for personality-based rather than playing-based reasons assisted by briefings to a complicit press:
            Compton? “Difficult”.
            Pietersen? “Disinterested”.
            Robson? “Anonymous”.
            Stokes? Watch this space.

            This was why the Pietersen saga should concern those who aren’t particular fans of Pietersen. Anyone’s favourite player could be on the receiving end.

          • The ECB has taken the option not to risk further dissent and disharmony in the England dressing room by removing what they see as the main cause, Kevin Pietersen. This is not the first dressing room that he has been excluded from. He is a serial offender. Cricket is a team game. You say that you don’t care if they scratch each other’s eyes out in the dressing room. Just look what happened to team performance at Yorkshire when Geoffrey Boycott was made captain. The two things are inextricably linked.

            • ” This is not the first dressing room that he has been excluded from.” It is, actually. Other dressing rooms have sulked when he has decided to move on for private reasons, but he’s never been expelled or dropped from any team.

              Oh dear, those inconvenient facts, eh!

              • You’re just indulging in mythology now. The truth is inconvenient to your argument so just make something up, eh?

                He wasn’t excluded from the ‘South African dressing room’. The only story of the sort with even a hint of truth is the Notts one – that the captain – Jason Gallian – threw KP’s kit off the balcony. When examined, though, this is revealed to be another bit of mythology. KP wanted to play international cricket and knew he would have to leave the culture of failure at Notts to progress. He told Gallian he was leaving to go to Hampshire and JG had a tantrum and threw KP’s kit off the balcony. JG was subsequently sacked, KP went on to be England highest run scorer.

              • Current multi-ethnic SA World Cup Squad: AB de Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn.

        • According to coach Moores, Cook was amazing in the second test vs SL in the dressing room.

          So much for the end result…

          • No, it’s not “So much for the end result…” you have no idea what the end result would have been in the second test vs SL with Kevin Pietersen in the side. It could, quite easily, have been a lot worse. It might not have been, but you don’t know, and nor do I.

            • This much I am certain of, England would have certainly won the Headingley test under any captain but Cook, who, in Geoffrey Boycott’s words, gave a master class in how to turn a winning position into a lost one.

        • Since when are we picking test teams on the basis of IPL performance? Last season, he made a test century, unlike his captain (who has still not made one).

          • One swallow does not make a Summer Maxie. KP’s track record in his last season of test matches is far from good. For instance, he gets out caught because of silly shots far too often.

            Cook’s performance is a separate issue. Constantly conflating Pietersen’s behavioural issues with Cook’s performance is a distraction and a separate issue. Pietersen and Cook do not compete with each other for a place. It is not a case of if Cook was dropped, Pietersen would be picked. Pietersen has had problems with colleagues and other captains throughout his career. Whether you like it or not it is a matter of record that he can be a pain in the arse and people get fed up with him. ECB’s judgement was simple … more trouble than he is worth.

            • so I suppose if you had been on the Australian Board of Control in the mid-30s when people like Bill o’Reilly and Fingleton would not even speak to their captain, Bradman, you would have sacked Bradman?

              • As usual Peter you display your inability to construct an argument. Your tactics are either to resort to telling lies, which you did not do here thankfully, or to construct your own strawman. I did not make a comparison between Pietersen and Bradman. That is your strawman and is irrelevant to my argument. I am pointing to an analogous situation – a team split down the middle by a divisive personality clash. The Australian Board of Control could have acted like the ECB and banned Bradman but they did not. Despite the lack of harmony in the dressing-room, Australia continued to win Test Matches. You would presumably have sacked Bradman but you would prefer not to say that as it shows the ECB in a bad light and would obviously have been an absurd thing to do.

        • I’m starting to suspect there’s a fundamental divide in terms of evaluating KP’s worth, and this is one between those for whom the number of runs on the board is the most important thing, and those for whom the most important thing is the way the runs were scored.

          They are two very different games.

  • Spot on Dave. Money and power is the driving force behind the ECB. It appears that they have no problem with sacrificing the team so they can hold onto that. That doesn’t shock me but the fact that cricket “Journalists” and cook in particular are enabling them to do it so they can hang on to their own power and money . I find this particularly sickening.

  • Maxie,

    I read this one over breakfast this morning – and to be honest, I nearly spat out my cornflakes.

    “The level of aggression, pure hatred and ingratitude are very saddening”. I know this is aimed at those criticisms of KP but really – have you read your own comments section?? The level of aggression, pure hatred and ingratitude in there is just as bad – but of course it’s aimed at someone else. To be more accurate, it’s aimed at a few people. But we don’t like them – so that makes it OK, right?

    This is why this whole debate is pointless – because both sides are so laughably extreme in their views and their portrayals of the other side. Witless ECB stooges on one side or bomb-throwing ignoramuses on the other. Both sides clinging on to their champion, regardless of his faults and heedless of the damage being done.
    And somewhere in the middle lies a silent chunk of English cricket fans who loved watching KP bat – but can see a case on both cricketing and non-cricketing grounds to move on. A chunk of fans who support Cook as Test captain but don’t think he should be within miles of the One Day side. A chunk of fans who think the hysteria on both sides is demeaning, insulting to their intelligence and grossly hypocritical. Sadly, turning the volume up to 10 seems to be the way debates are done nowadays and to the extent that social media reflects that, I agree with Vic Marks 100%.

    A plague on both your houses, I say. English cricket deserves better than the mud-slinging peurility we’ve had to put up with since January. I don’t know what it will take for this whole playground farce to move on, but the sooner it does, the better.

    • “I know this is aimed at those criticisms of KP but really – have you read your own comments section?? The level of aggression, pure hatred and ingratitude in there is just as bad – but of course it’s aimed at someone else.”

      I have to say I’m yet to see any posts on TFT or HDWLIA where Cook, Downton, Moores, Flower or even Giles Clarke are referred to as a “knob jockey”, “dick”, “wanker” or “c*nt”. I’m more accustomed to seeing articulate but utterly exasperated people use epithets like “petulant dauphin”, “ex-banker”, “purveyor of management-speak bollocks”, “martinet” or “egregious Teflon-coated snob”, respectively.

      I don’t see any equivalence whatsoever between that TMS Facebook wall and the blogs I contribute to. We live in a world where the epithets I quoted are routinely described as “vitriol” by the press, yet the same people leap instantly to Strauss’s defence when he calls Pietersen an “absolute c*nt”. Vic Marks’s colleague called us “fringe idiots and know-nothings”; Andrew Strauss’s colleague described us as “lunatics and numpties”; and the voice of TMS himself told a humble blogger to retract a four-month old opinion piece.

      it’s not just about language, but power. Spot the difference between, on the one side, Pietersen and the bloggers who support him; and on the other, the five people I mentioned and the journalists and broadcasters who support them.

    • Kev – I appreciate where you’re coming from, but I don’t think it applies in this context. Take a look through that Facebook thread. As Arron says, we’ve never on TFT (either in posts or comments), called anyone language like that.

      I’ve certainly used the word c***. Andrew Strauss and James Anderson can take care of that!

      Exactly where serious criticism becomes abuse is perhaps a subjective judgement, but I think the great majority of what’s on here stays the right side of the line.

      As for ingratitude, is it ungrateful to argue that Cook should relinquish the captaincy?

      The people who cop the most cop on here, maybe, are Mike Selvey and Paul Newman, and I don’t know if that pair particularly deserve our gratitude for their contribution to English cricket.

  • Maxie, you may have seen the comment I posted below Vic Marks’s article –

    I doubt that the problem is Vic Marks not understanding social media. I think it’s that he does not use social media. I am pretty sure that Marks does not have a Twitter account, and I have never seen him venture below the line, so I am intrigued as to the source for his ‘vitriol on social media’ comment. I can only presume he has acquired this view second hand from others, and several candidates spring to mind.

    I do not want to be too quick to condemn Marks over this because I genuinely enjoy reading his stuff, and think of him as one of the good commentators. But I would be very disappointed if he has simply passed on as fact someone else’s jaundiced view disseminated, say, from the back of the TMS studio.

    The role and responsibility of the press is an issue that continues to reverberate on these boards. I suspect that the likely response of the wider press to Pietersen’s book will do nothing to diminish the concerns many of us have about the proximity of journalists to the ECB.

    Most here will be familiar with Jonathan Agnew’s brain flip when Piers Morgan picked up on the ‘Inside the Turtle Tank’ piece, cutely described by you, Maxie, as Turtle-gate. Agnew objected with a small section of the piece that suggested that Andy Flower came across as unforgiving. The BBC man’s relationship with Flower is evidently so close that the rest of us were bombarded with rattles and touchy-feely [sic] toys as Agnew went through an out-of-pram experience, demanding on Flower’s behalf, as he did, not a right of reply, but total retraction and genuflection.

    Agnew is the BBC’s chief cricket correspondent. What on earth was he doing heading up Flower’s instant rebuttal unit? If Agnew cannot separate his personal views from his responsibility as a dispassionate journalist and broadcaster, how can we accept with any confidence his reporting at all? His final word to me on all matters was that it is not his job to call the ECB to account. Well, if not him and his fellow journalists, then who?

    Part of the problem is the nexus between former players who became journalists and former players who became administrators, which is just too damn close and cosy. Quite apart from friendships forged, or losses shared, or bread broken, the press seem wholly dependent on the ECB and their people for information, access and favour. The press and the ECB have developed a symbiotic relationship, and, until this changes, cricket journalists, good, bad or indifferent, risk the charge of being corrupt or corruptible.

    • “His final word to me on all matters was that it is not his job to call the ECB to account”.


      • I saw the “holding to account” exchange on Twitter and thought it deserved far more attention than it received. I’ve mentioned it several times since, because it’s a very neat and concise summing up of various gripes. The same issue came up with the same person back in May, thanks to the Waitrose “in-house” video.

    • Marks does make the very occasional remark below the line on the Guardian/Observer (as vmarks).

      • Thanks Clive. I did not know that and have not seen it. But very happy to take it on board.

        • There was also a mild bit of hullabaloo a few years ago when he appeared to steal a below-the-line commenter’s joke for one of his own pieces without attribution, suggesting he does browse comments from time to time.

  • Apparently Pietersen’s said on Twitter today he’s not serialising the book in the papers, and won’t say anything on Twitter – at least until publication.

    • Hmm……… I wonder Maxie if that is because no newspaper will buy the serialisation rights. Of course it may be KPs publishers choice not to have the book serialised but I find that very suspicious.

      Considering the out right vitriol that almost all the cricket writers have heaped on KP I would not be at all surprised if there is an un official policy of news black out. ( and wouldn’t the ECB just love that?)Can anyone really believe that someone like Newman would advise his editor to buy the serialisation rights to KPs book?

      Of course this might be perfectly innocent and it’s KPs choice. Perhaps he is so sick of all these laughably called ‘independent cricket writers” that he decided to say sod em!

      • I had a bit of a theory that KP is signed to the Telegraph and David Walsh to the Sunday Times, and maybe some contractual stuff comes into play?

        I’m sure it isn’t a unique situation, but if Hayward were writing it (and didn’t I see something that he was first choice, but said he couldn’t commit due to the World Cup in Brazil) I’m sure the Telegraph would be running it.

        • Dmitri, I’m sure you are right, it is probably contractual. Yes I read that Haywood turned it down because of the World Cup.

          Can’t help thinking this book needs to be serialised in a mass circulation newspaper though. Because the reaction on TMS shows that most people wont buy the book.

          And the cricket writers have shown time and time again their not to be trusted with facts, stats, and independence.

  • Excellent, Maxie. I hope you don’t mind that I have quoted three paragraphs (with a link to this page) on the Guardian.

    • Many thanks, Clive – glad you thought so.

      You’re getting a bit of rough and tumble on that Guardian board!

  • This is really interesting and I wonder where Lalit Modi’s accusations against Giles Clarke will fit into this story
    Modi has consistently accused Clarke of being involved in match fixing – which seems odd.

    The handling of the KP was – as most one here agree farcical – The approach of the media is consistently sickening – with Agnew, Selvey and others admitting they have more information but have promised not to share anything.

    I just think they are tied into the ECB – their jobs depend on their contacts so as a result they won’t ask the difficult questions.

    On the other hand – I just don’t understand why KP was saying he wanted to come back, but wasn’t playing (begs the question of whether his knees are up to it).

    Depressingly I genuinely don’t believe the KP’s book will help and I have no solution other than to hope that an independent news source is able to blow the whistle on this balderdash.

    As an England fan (and a lover of cricket) – watching KP bat was something I enjoy boring my kids about. He was astonishing. Like Sehwag we might occasionally see it again, but probably not.

    At least we have Billings, Buttler and Hales who may one day play in the same team together…

  • I do not understand why people keep saying that Kevin Pietersen’s book will not help. Help what? Let him say exactly what he wants to say. It is his right to express himself as he sees fit.

    • Dave,
      Thanks for the link. A great read as you say – insightful and fair. Great work from Simon Wilde.

    • Good read. Amazing to see a balanced view of KP rather than the derogatory rants that appear in the so called “popular”press.

  • Thanks for your comments everyone. This has turned into quite a debate! Keep them coming …

  • If KP had a treacly thick upper class British accent rather than a surprisingly feminine south african whine, we’d all think he was the greatest legend ever to play sport in this country, multiple sports personality of the year winner, and he’d be Sir KP by now with a captains spot already reserved for him on Question of Sport.

    Think about every interview, but now substitute Pierce Brosnan’s voice over the top. Are you seriously telling me the British public wouldn’t have gone for that? He’d be the greatest thing since Biggles.

    • He is not unpopular because of his accent. That is ridiculous. Tony Greig was loved and is still loved by the British public. He is just not a very pleasant man.

      • No he wasn’t. Not until long long after his playing days. As I suspect will happen to Pietersen.

        • Not true. If Tony had not been popular with the general cricketing public he would not have got away with his support for Kerry Packer against the wishes of the MCC/ECB.

          • How did he get away with it? He was sacked as England captain, was booed throughout his last series before WSC, and the TCCB tried to have him banned from playing first class cricket.

      • The mere fact that every time his name is bought up in any paper it is preceded by ‘South African born’ says everything. There is an inherent dislike for KP simply because he from SA. Otherwise, what purpose does bringing up ‘South African born’ in every article have?

        Does this happen to every player? The answer is a simple no.

      • I seem to recall a lot of people were very annoyed at the time. I certainly was.People thought it was going to ruin test cricket. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that it’s seen quite differently now by nearly everyone including me. I admired Tony Greig but was not pleased with him then. By the way he also got the ‘Not really English line’ from the press . Notably John Woodcock

  • There is no point reasoning with those who hate Kevin Pietersen. Hatred blinds people to reason. The more you reason with hate-filled people, the harder their hearts become.

  • Irrational and selective. Here? Examples please. I don’t hate Kevin Pietersen. I don’t know him. One thing I do know is that he is disliked by far too many of his playing colleagues, coaches and managers for it to be all their fault. Nobody can deny or suggest that opinions are selective or irrational when the evidence is there for all to see.

    • How about:

      ” This is not the first dressing room that he has been excluded from. He is a serial offender.”

      which is blatantly untrue, but doesn’t stop you from saying it.

      • Repeat a lie enough times and it becomes true.

        Can you give clear examples of when KP has been excluded from any other dressing room?

        Even from my GCSE days I was tought always question a source, how reliable can it be? Surely one must be blind to miss how the media has been in a frenzy with ‘the South African born’ KP. There is alot of bias against KP and it’s easy to see through this yet… It appers you belive every word you read.

        Not everything one reads in the papers is true. Upon a simple closer read, it’s easy to see that any news KP gets blown out of proportion.

        Just because I am a KP fan I do not expect others to be fans. I understand difference of opinion. However I am deeply against questioning a man’s character and making judgements that have been made about KP without any proof.

        He deserves the respect of being one of English Cricket’s greats. He bought all fans alot of joy and was a key element in England reaching number one in tests. Give the guy credit he deserves.

        • I acknowledge that Kevin Pietersen is a very good batsman although I don’t thin that he is as good now as before his 2011 injuries. He is certainly no Don Bradman.

          The reason that he gave for leaving South African cricket was that he had being excluded from selection for the Natal Provincial side due to his race. I published the names of the South African World Cup squad earlier which clearly shows that even at the age of 19 he was being impatient, arrogant, provocative and wrong. This is a theme that has repeated itself since then.

          He is divisive, witness this topic where people seem to be compelled to direct their comments “at” people rather than simply engage in reasoned debate.

          The suggestion once again that his problems are racially motivated are also quite ludicrous. This is England where, for many many years, a large number of our players, even captains, have been born and brought up elsewhere, including South Africa.

          Earlier in the year I stated on another thread here that KP had the opportunity to silence his critics by proving himself as a top performer in the IPL and becoming an outstanding performer for Surrey. I am still waiting and that remains my view. If he wants to prove a point, his cricket performances rather than megaphone diplomacy is his best option.

          • I thought he’d said almost nothing prior to the release of his book. Are you counting Piers Morgan as his megaphone diplomat?

            • I thought that megaphone diplomacy was the sole prerogative of Paul Rupert Downton for his crass breaking of the confidentially agreement, foisted on KP by the ECB, lest we forget. KP has kept his side of the bargain honourably and professionally

          • “He is divisive, witness this topic where people seem to be compelled to direct their comments “at” people rather than simply engage in reasoned debate.”

            Reasoned debate? Such as holding KP accountable for the tone of comments on a blog he’s never seen?

            Utterly bizarre.

            • This is what happens when people get emotionally involved rather than dealing with the issues. My point, clearly made I hope, was that KP is a devisive character who causes emotions to run high because of the way he does business. I cited this blog as an example of how people let their emotions cloud their judgement.

              • I need to get this off my chest Kevin Pietersen caused my “emotions to run high” because in all my days of watching English cricket, only Ian Botham, who wasn’t in his league as a batsman, played the sort of innings that Pietersen did – attack, take a chance, not fearing failure.

                I got to see that brilliance in the flesh.I was in Adelaide to see his 158. I saw his 100 at The Oval in his first test as captain. I saw, in the flesh, a brilliant 175 at The Oval against India. I saw this man, who only “batted for himself”, compile two triple century partnerships, playing the perfect role with Colly and Bell, who both made double tons.

                On the television, I watched his innings transfixed at what he could do, at Headingley, at Colombo, at Mumbai, and other more forgotten, but vital tons, like Napier, like the one at Trent Bridge against New Zealand, both of which played crucial roles in winning series and getting us out of mighty holes. There was a great ton as captain at Mohali. There were magnificent knocks and I’ve not even mentioned the Ashes saving one.

                I watched him play a key role in winning our only ever ICC event.

                My emotions run high that despite the inconvenient fact, because that is what it is, he was the top run scorer for England in Australia and was not dropped on merit. I see something intrinsically unfair in that, whether his powers were waning or not.

                Emotions run high because not only was he sacked for non-performing issues, then the ECB went off the reservation with their “outside cricket”, “move on” and “right kind of family” wibble.

                Emotions run high because I get to sick to death of “South African-born” when that label is not applied to Strauss, Prior or Trott to name but three. When his batting form is twisted to suit some half-arsed attempt to justify that he should be dropped “on form”. That events in the past only reported to us by the same people that now tell us Cook is great are now taken as gospel truth, never to be questioned.

                You are right, KP is not Bradman. But he’s the best in this era, and we fired him. Then when people asked why, we were told to button it, pay up your ticket money, and be fed a load of nonsense about Cook all summer.

                KP is yesterday’s man now. We know that. I don’t want him back. My fear is for the next KP. The next unique talent with an edge. The next star performer who doesn’t play the ECB’s game. But that’s ok.

                My judgement is sound. I deeply distrust authority that asks me to take them on trust when they’ve not earned it. When that authority then insults me, I have even less need to believe them.

                Yeah. Emotions run high all right. Because, like you, I care.

              • I fully understand your feelings and I have said all along that he has been a very good attacking batsmen in the past, as you say. Latterly he was not scoring and was getting out far too easily. Thank you for dealing woth the fact that he now seems to be well past his best and probably not good enough for the England team based upon performance alone.

                As to the way he was treated by the ECB selectors, you have not dealt with the behavioural issues, which are important for team moral, and which have an effect upon team performance.

                The term “South African born” is a complete distraction introduced by a contributor to this topic earlier. As a matter of fact it has been applied in the past to Strauss, Trott, Prior, Basil D’Oliveira, Tony Greig, Allan Lamb, and Robin Smith. The suggestion that the ECB is prejudiced against KP because he is South African born is just not credible.

                The decision to drop him was based upon lack of form and what they considered to be disruptive and divisive behaviour that lowered team moral to such an extent that it was affecting team performance.

                If you remember, Yorkshire born Geoffrey Boycott was dropped as team captain for similar reasons.

              • England were crap almost from the first day in Brisbane so perhaps KP misbehaved on the plane on the way to Australia. (I bet he put his seat in the recline position for the whole flight!)
                To suggest that low team morale and poor team performance was due to KP seems to ignore the stella performances of Johnson, Haddin, Warner et al., To put that another way, it seems like total bullshit to me so I would be very grateful if you could provide a reference to one of his team mates saying any such thing.

              • You see, being anti-ECB at all costs seems to preclude you from admitting that KP is an abrasive divisive factor in the England dressing room.

                If you faced up to that fact (he has a track record) and then went on to argue that the ECB did not manage it very well, or should not have placed so much emphasis on it, then I would listen to your argument, but to simply bury your head in the sand on this issue means that it is difficult to get to the real issues.

                This is my position. KP was a talented batsman with a little more time left to play for England. BUT … he can be a pain in the ass sometimes and needs to be slapped down now and again.

                Like you, I don’t know everything that went on, unlike the ECB which does know what went on. It’s a question of whether you, unlike the ECB, consider that his behaviour is tolerable and manageable in exchange for his batting performances.

                You disagree with the ECB whilst not being in possession of the full story, and they disagree with you whilst being in possession of the full story.

                I can only make my judgement on what I know and I must tell you that I would not have played him at test level for a number of reasons, but I would have played him in the one dayers under a new captain, because I do not believe that Cookie is a one day captain. In return I would have insisted upon a full commitment to the entire one day season and a guarantee that he would stop using Piers Morgan, or anyone else as a conduit to the press.

              • “The decision to drop him was based upon lack of form ”

                Liar liar pants on fire. The people who actually fired him said it was non-performance related.

                “Thank you for dealing woth the fact that he now seems to be well past his best and probably not good enough for the England team based upon performance alone.”

                Actually he said:

                “When his batting form is twisted to suit some half-arsed attempt to justify that he should be dropped “on form”.

                “As to the way he was treated by the ECB selectors, you have not dealt with the behavioural issues, which are important for team moral, and which have an effect upon team performance.”

                What behavioural issue? Do tell is?

                You are a shameful liar who, it seems, will stoop to anything. You have been shown repeatedly to be an overt liar. Your opinion is that of a liar. You tell lies. We get it.

              • I can’t seem to reply to Peter Clatworthy’s post so I’ll stick it here

                I get that you’re just doing a bit of a trolling but I’ll play along.

                I am not “anti-ECB” at all costs although I will admit to despising Giles Clarke. I do, however, have zero tolerance for bullshit and recently the ECB has been drowning in it. The whole KP affair has been handled incredibly badly (I also think their handling of Trott coming home early from the Ashes tour was also badly handled so there is a recurring theme here)

                I’ve never met KP but I have no problem accepting that he is, at the very least, high maintenance and may indeed be, as you put it, a “pain in the ass”. However, this was not a problem when England were winning. Didn’t the ECB say something along the lines of his behaviour wasn’t a problem when England had a strong captain? I bet that went down a treat in the Cook household.

                “You disagree with the ECB whilst not being in possession of the full story, and they disagree with you whilst being in possession of the full story”
                This is the money shot. I am disappointed that I will never see KP in a test match again. However, I have no idea whether or not his sacking was appropriate because the ECB won’t tell me the full story. If you’re going to drop a high profile player like KP then the fans deserve to know why – otherwise people just make shit up. We are the share-holders in English cricket and as such deserve far better treatment. (What I would really like to know is what was said at the players only meeting during the last Ashes tour and who went running to the team management.)

                Finally, I’ve lived in Australia a very long time so the only thing I know about Piers Morgan is that he can’t play a Brett Lee short ball (though to be fair, Lee ran through the crease and may just have bent his arm a little)

                I’m picturing KP as a high maintenance girl-friend – may be quite a good analogy

              • THA. Thank you for demonstrating so clearly the type of person who supports Kevin Pietersen’s attitude and behaviour. I am sure that he is delighted to have you on board … not.

          • He was 19, he was not the player that he is now. Getting into the team was an issue as he was a bit of a batsman that could bowl spin. He saw a better opportunity and committed himself to it.

            Your comments of him being ‘impatient, arrogant, provocative and wrong’ seem like you want that to be the case. I give credit to the young man for seeing his future lies elsewhere and doing something about it.

            • I agree that he was not ready for the level of cricket that he alone decided he was ready for. That is arrogance, impatience, provocative and as you just admitted yourself … wrong. When he played for England in his first match against South Africa he was roundly booed by the crowd and resented by the South African team because he had insulted his country of birth and suggested that some members of the SA team were only selected because they were black and not on merit He didn’t leave quietly, he had to open his big gob. He did not say, “I see my future elsewhere and I am going to do travel overseas to ply my trade”, he said “I am being deliberately overlooked because I am a white man”. That is typical of his attitude. It’s all a vicious plot. Everyone is wrong except Kevin Pietersen Surely you can see this pattern of behaviour or do you think he is a misunderstood shrinking violet?

              • Out of interest, exactly how many lies are you going to tell today? You’re spouting so much nonsense it’s hard to keep count.

                His comments about racial quotas came long after he made his debut, so how exactly was he booed because of them?

                “suggested that some members of the SA team were only selected because they were black and not on merit ”

                Nonsense. He complained specifically that he was excluded from the Natal team for Goolam Bedl.

                “He didn’t leave quietly, he had to open his big gob.”

                Again, fantasy. There are no recorded comments from this time and no one was interested in the opinions of a teenaged club cricketer. You are simply making this up.

                “he said “I am being deliberately overlooked because I am a white man”.

                No he didn’t. He said:

                “To me, every single person in this world needs to be treated exactly the same and that should have included me, as a promising 20-year-old cricketer. If you do well you should play on merit. That goes for any person of any colour. ”

                “Surely you can see this pattern of behaviour or do you think he is a misunderstood shrinking violet?”

                The pattern of behaviour I can see is that you keep making things up to make your case against KP.

                By the way, you were going to give us that list of dressing rooms which had excluded KP…?

              • You state that you don’t hate Kevin Pietersen but then go on to describe him as divisive, impatient, arrogant, provocative, opening his big gob and using megaphone diplomacy. I’d hate to see what you’d write about some-one you do admit to hating.

  • I know one thing – I loved watching KP bat for 10 years, but the longer this playground claptrap goes on, the less I miss him.

    • “THA. Thank you for demonstrating so clearly the type of person who supports Kevin Pietersen’s attitude and behaviour. I am sure that he is delighted to have you on board … not.”

      If you think that lame response in any way distracts from the countless lies you’ve told on this page over the last few days then you’re heading for disappointment.

      You sully debate by doing so based on smears and falsehoods. You can make whatever point you like about whichever player you like, but if you choose to do so by spewing out transparent lies then I’ll have no hesitation in calling you out on it, regardless of whether I like the player in question or or not.

      If that’s typical of a KP supporter, so be it.

  • I wonder why it is that some sports fans feel that they are entitled to know the minutia of everything that goes on in the board rooms of the teams that they support, and what goes on in confidence between the players (employees) and their employers? Buying a ticket to watch a cricket match does not entitle a supporter to have access to information, as of right.

    The ECB is a registered company limited by guarantee. It’s committees do not work for the fans, they work for the representative bodies, and the Board of Directors are responsible to them, as shareholders. The board of Directors comprises the chairman, deputy chairman, chairman of cricket elected by all 40 members of ECB, two independent directors, three directors from the first-class game, two directors from the recreational game, two ECB executives, a women’s game representative and an MCC representative. The sub’committees report to them, not the fans.

    You may see it as arrogant but in fact English cricket is a business like any other business. It is governed by company law and employment law. Directors of companies cannot, by law, provide any Tom Dick or Harry with information that might adversely affect the performance of the company, or any of its employees. We should bear that in mind when we make demands that cannot be fulfilled.

    That being said, we are perfectly entitled to express our opinions, but that is all it is, opinions that are NOT based upon knowledge of ALL of the facts.

    • A company is nothing without it’s customers. We as customers are unhappy.

      Btw.. Peter.. still waiting on the list of clubs that have kicked out KP :)


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