‘Trust’ Strauss to Think Like Robert De Niro

“There is a massive trust issue between Kevin and I”

 

So there we have it folks. In an interview with Sky’s Tim Abraham before his press conference, Andrew Strauss spoke in depth about his position on KP. The overriding theme was ‘trust’.

Because the new director cannot ‘trust’ Kevin Pietersen, and ‘trust’ is apparently the most important aspect of international sports teams, the leading run scorer in English cricket history cannot play in this summer’s Ashes.

My initial reaction to the news is one of sadness. I’m not someone who thinks Pietersen should walk back into the England team – and I’ve criticised KP as much as anyone during his career – but it seems that, once again, England have allowed over-analysis and rigid dogma to obscure the obvious point: that selection should be based purely on merit and the ability to win matches.

Most of us knew what we were getting with Andrew Strauss: a very methodical man who sees things in black and white. It’s a mentality better suited to running an accountancy firm that an international sports team.

What Strauss fails to realise it that ‘trust’ is secondary or tertiary, not primary. Winning is the most important thing. And your chances of winning games depends more on the talent of your individuals than how much these individuals like each other.

I’m sure the current England players all trust each other implicitly. I’m sure they trusted Peter Moores too. It didn’t stop them from failing miserably at the World Cup or losing to the West Indies last week.

Did the ACB trust Shane Warne not to say outrageous things and get into trouble? Warne ridiculed the coach, took money from bookmakers for information, send lewd text messages to women … but most importantly of all he won cricket matches. Only in England could this tiny, but crucial, detail be missed.

Andrew Strauss’ interview also revealed that he’s fallen into the same trap as his predecessor: the failure to realise that the England cricket team belongs to the fans not the ECB:

“Over the years the trust between Kevin and the ECB has eroded” and therefore “it is not in the best short-term interests of the team” to recall him.

Strauss is painfully wrong. The ECB is separate to the team. The relationship between administrators and individual players is more or less irrelevant to the team’s chances of winning the Ashes. The England cricket team is not the personal fiefdom of the blazers.

Strauss’s referral to ‘short-term’ interests was also fascinating. He deliberately eschewed the argument that England are building for the long-term. Of course, such an argument would be fatuous in an Ashes year.

Were Australia worrying about the future when they picked Adam Voges (who is one year older than KP) and Chris Rogers (who is three years older) for the upcoming series? Do they care that Brad Haddin will be 38 in five months time? Of course not. If you’re good enough, you should be in the team.

However, because Strauss is clever enough to know this, a different reason had to be given – and this is why the Director pulled a Robert DeNiro: if you’re not in the ‘circle of trust’ you’re nobody and nowhere.

Of course, the trust argument is mere sophistry. One suspects Pietersen is not being picked because, in Strauss’s experience, he became too difficult for him personally to work with. We ‘don’t trust you’ effectively means ‘we don’t like you’.

Strauss does not care that he worked fine with Pietersen for several years, and the relationship only soured towards the end – within the context of the KP Genius affair.

Strauss does not care that Tremlett, Carberry, Panesar, Stokes, Root, Bairstow and (initially) Swann all said KP’s behaviour in Australia was exemplary.

Strauss does not care that Alec Stewart and the Surrey players all ‘love him’ (the words used by former England keeper Steve Davies on Twitter yesterday).

Strauss does not care that Simon Jones, Alex Tudor, Michael Vaughan, Shaun Udal and Andrew Flintoff (to name just a few) all think Pietersen should be recalled. The opinions of the last two are particularly significant as fans have been told many times that Pietersen was unbearable at Hampshire and that Fred hated him.

The truth is that Strauss is only seeing the Pietersen that betrayed his nebulous concept of ‘team’ back in 2012. He is also judging Pietersen on his overly emotional book – clearly ill advised, but clearly not disengaged.

According to Strauss, what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room – unless you’re writing about Peter Moores in your own autobiography, or spilling the beans to fellow commentators when you think you’re off air.

By taking this stance on KP, Strauss has revealed why he was a poor choice as director. He is still very close to the dressing room: to the same captain and former coach who share his peculiar weltanschauung (a worldview many disagree with).

However, although Strauss (and his own prejudices) are central to all this, one cannot overstate the importance of Cook.

It’s as clear as day that Cook doesn’t want Pietersen anywhere near the side. Pietersen, who was dangerously close to some younger players, was kicked out of the side for good when he had the temerity to criticise Cook’s leadership before the Sydney test.

We’ve seen many times over the last year how the skipper responds to criticism:

Cook wanted something done when Shane Warne offered the opinions he’s paid to give.

Cook had an unsightly tantrum when the selectors dropped him from the ODI team and revealed a worrying lack of self-awareness.

And most recently, rumours have circulated that Cook confronted Jonathan Agnew for being too chummy with Pietersen in the commentary box during the World Cup.

Perhaps Alastair was so angry because they betrayed his ‘trust’?

One suspects, therefore, that Cook would rather place his manhood in a blender than see the man that called him ‘Ned Flanders’ back in the side. As a result, Strauss’s views and the skipper’s conveniently aligned.

No doubt people will leap to Cook’s defence, and claim this is purely Strauss’s decision, but this argument doesn’t add up.

If someone like Michael Vaughan was captain – somebody who has a decent working relationship with Pietersen – the situation would be entirely different. There would be no (or very few) obstacles standing in KP’s way. The only dissenting voice would be Andy Flower.

My personal feeling, therefore, is that the reason for Pietersen’s continued absence is two fold:

(a) For all the changes at the ECB, men who have a personal dislike of KP are still running the show. These men are letting personal animosity get in the way of cricketing logic.

(b) Given that Cook and Pietersen now seem incompatible, English cricket has once again sided with the younger man (who conveniently fits the image the ECB wishes to project). This is understandable, but it won’t make the team any more watchable. It won’t help against the Australians either – KP has a far better Ashes record than Cook.

The inescapable reality is that KP’s absence continues to bolster Cook – a captain who isn’t strong enough (in Paul Downton’s words) to cope with dissent within the dressing room. This leads me to surmise the following …

Once again, the major decisions in English cricket revolve around Cook. Whether one calls this mollycoddling or not is open to personal interpretation – however, the strength of the squad is certainly being compromised because of individual prejudices.

This is what makes so many fans angry: it’s seems that entertainment, and value for money, are secondary to the personal feelings of men who have polarised fans almost as much as Pietersen himself.

Trust? It has, and always will be, a two way street. Would you trust teammates who created a parody Twitter account mocking you?

And how many people out there ‘trust’ the ECB? When you consider the way they treated Peter Moores, it will be very difficult for any prospective coach to trust them.

The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

James Morgan

@DoctorCopy

107 comments

  • Tom Harrison:
    “This has been a tricky issue. What we’re focussing on now is the future of English cricket. There’s a sense of excitement about where we can take English cricket in the years to come…”

    ECB plumbs new depths of self parody.

  • Massively disappointed we won’t see him play for England again.

    You can’t overlook the impact of the book in all of this, however entertaining and whether it was truth or not, it burnt bridges and bit the hand he was asking to feed him.

    Real shame.

    • It bit the hand that had slapped him around the face, pointed a finger at him and blamed him for the Ashes defeat, and then told him he had no future with England.

      So there’s that.

        • I repeat: they’d told him he had no future with England. You can’t burn a bridge that someone else has already bombed.

          • Indeed. He’s been pummelled too many times. ECB lied to him. Held out hope to him and Strauss has slapped him in the face. Such hypocrisy by the ECB & Strauss. Alright for Strauss to ignore the Twitter Account bullying and not deal with this situation in the first place – by his own admission – and okay for Strauss to be abusive on air. However he’s been treated like a god. Well I will not be watching getting slaughtered this summer. I am so angry that this is final straw.

            What Tom Harrison has said is almost the same thing Clarke & Downton said 18 months ago. How has Cook been able to blame the CEO for his failure and get away with it? Well I do not wish Cook well nor Flower nor any of those who have been part of this disgusting mess. They should all hang their heads in shame.

        • Excellent piece, Annie, this and the General Election have really sent me over the Dam this week!

  • It has to be time to start a boycott of ecb and sky until the team is picked on merit. No more ticket purchases or tours or sky subscriptions for me until the team selection is based on picking the best players to win the match. Talking does not get us anywhere, the only power is money.

    Stop paying to change the ecb’s corruption

    • How I wish the suffering supporters actually vote with their feet. Let people start returning their pre-booked Ashes tickets and cancel their SKY subscriptions. Are the fighters against injustice willing to put their money where their mouth is? The ECB has bet against us I think.

    • I am way ahead of you on this Nick! In spite of having linseed oil in my blood and being father to two cricket crazy sons I have cancelled my sky subscription and have refused to pay the horrendous prices charged for England matches for some time now. I saw a day’s play of the Old Trafford test v India last summer when I won tickets courtesy of All out cricket magazine. The prices being charged for food and drink were beyond acceptable and the cost of the widget thing to listen to the comms was ridiculous. The highlight was when my eldest son had a go on the bowling speed gun and registered the fastest time of the whole test match (including some of the international bowlers on display I might add!)
      I wouldn’t even consider buying merchandise or kit. the problem with boycotting live matches is that it’s not the ECB that you’re hurting. They have already extracted their slice of the pie in charging the counties millions to host the game. The counties are forced to charge the earth for everything just to try and break even, something they may do for three of the five days if they are lucky. It’s little wonder we watch them play on dead wickets that are the same on day five as they were on day one. They can’t afford to produce result wickets under this system, they need at least four days play to make it pay. England became masters of playing on these attritional wickets, learning to bore opponents out. Faced with result wickets in Oz they were totally undone. As fans we are stuffed either way. We either walk away from the game we love or we sell our souls to the ECB. I don’t know how else to put it.

  • It’s amazing.

    Strauss is basically saying that he and Cook are butthurt over some previous, undisclosed slights and therefore KP isn’t allowed to play.

    They really are like two head boys left in charge by the teachers, now using their positions to prosecute their own grievances.

    Can’t someone simply point out to these guys that their ‘feelings’ aren’t the No.1 priority? Their feelings do not trump all other considerations.

    Also, if trust is the issue, maybe Strauss should revisit calling KP a cunt on air. If trust is an issue, maybe reflect on his own role in that?

    Nah. Course not.

      • Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?

        Apparently KP has done something but no one will say what it is.

        How is that acceptable?

        And that ignores the question of whether Strauss’ personal antipathy toward KP should be any factor at all. Why not just pick the strongest side and leave the personal stuff out of it?

      • We don’t know because he didn’t spell it out. I think you’re making assumptions aren’t you.Not for the first time today
        If I was to speculate I would imagine there are reasons on both sides. Your tone by the way is increasingly condescending

      • I criticise the decision because ‘trust issue’ is just code for not liking him. And that’s just another bullshit non-reason.

        Strauss had the opportunity today to say otherwise and actually make the case. He couldn’t and didn’t.

        • “Strauss had the opportunity today to say otherwise and actually make the case. He couldn’t and didn’t.”

          I reckon I know what it was…KP shagged Straussies Mrs.

          You know it makes sense.

        • Absolutely right Tom. He didn’t say it, because he knew he’d look even more pathetic than he does already.

          Matthew Hayden: “what a joke!”

          Kumar Sangakkara
          “I don’t trust @KP24 enough for him to play for England but I trust him enough to advise me on ODI cricket” #strausslogic .

          Shane Warne
          “Read that my old mate Strauss has said KP won’t play for Eng, but offered him an advisory role to help Eng ? What the ? Serious ? #shambles”

          Graeme Smith:
          “I see the head boy is making English cricket the laughing stock again! #StraussLogic”

          Matt le Tissier
          “Wow! Could Andrew Strauss have made himself look any smaller today!!! You’re a grown man get on with it!”

          Gary Liniker
          “I see Mr Strauss has allowed personal grievance to influence his decisions. Seems extraordinarily petty and immature. Doesn’t bode well.”

          Bob Willis
          “I don’t often feel sorry for Kevin Pietersen but having been told by the chairman-elect to go and score runs in the County Championship if he wants to get back in the England side, Kevin’s been sent on a wild goose chase.

          “It’s another case of the ECB shooting themselves in the foot. After the appalling way the Peter Moores sacking was handled, that he was the last to know, I think this is another faux pas by the ECB and they need to get their act together.”

          Andrew Flintoff
          “Wow ! On one hand I respect Strauss for making a ballsy decision on KP24 however got to think he’s made a very bad one , reasons please?” Flintoff Tweeted.
          I like the circus , also it’s great people are talking and having an opinion on cricket !!”

          Former England coach David Lloyd said the reasons for Pietersen’s omission should be revealed.
          “If news re KP is true that he will not play for Eng …the public must know the reasons ….”

          Elizabeth Ammon
          “A Campaign for someone to be sacked before he’s even been unveiled. That’s impressive work. Even by ecb standards.”

          Steve Pye
          “Omnishambles: situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders + miscalculations #ECB”

          I think a lot of press & players have spoken. Clearly the ECB has messed up big time. I am so angry at the lies Graves has told. Not like Bob Willis to say something nice about KP but I agree with him. It is an utter disgrace.

      • England think their little civil war is intense. Their little comedy of manners.

        Australia are coming to end careers and burn your house down while you argue over a text message five years ago.

  • #boycottecb
    #doageoffrey

    Everyone do a geoffrey
    Everyone do a geoffrey
    Everyone do a geoffrey

  • Speak the truth geoffrey

    Let’s all #doageoffrey
    Let’s all #doageoffrey
    Let’s all #doageoffrey

    • And in news just in : the sheer banality of the ECB Strauss presser has sent England cricket fan and TFT reader “Nick Atkinson” into a vicious downward spiral of uncontrolled internet posting.

      On the plus side, he seems likely to recover more quickly than the England cricket team will.

  • My own reaction is incredulity.

    As I posted on a previous thread…

    Serious trust issues didn’t prevent Strauss in the very same meeting (!) offering Pietersen an ‘advisory role’:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/pkelso/status/598071937810767872

    W.T.F. ?

    So, the ability to make an arse of oneself in public is clearly a necessary qualification to be considered for the post of Director of Cricket…

  • Inside, outside
    we shake it all about
    We do the hokey cookie
    and turn it inside out
    that’s what it’s all about

    #doageoffrey

  • And with one press conference we have lost any hope of winning back the ashes this decade.
    I’ve frequently criticised KP on here, I’ve never been a fan of his ‘that’s just how I play’ attitude to his too frequent failings.
    But…
    In looking for a comparable figure in sport in general I can think of only one (the comparisons with Warne don’t wash for me, KP is a great player, Warne is the greatest leg spinner the game will ever see)
    Eric Cantona.
    Here is a guy who most fellow footballers did not like. He felt out with managers, coaches and for a period the entire French football supporting public. Probably the greatest sports manager ever (I know, my opinion) saw through that and saw genius. He was able to see that this arrogant, self centred, difficult, angry man could do things nobody else could. Even when he Kung fu kicked a palace supporter he still tolerated the guy. You only had to see him play to see why. He was worth the effort because he was special.
    As someone who is not special in any way, and as someone who is really quite poor I need to see something special when I pay for tickets to see England play. I expect the team to be made up of the best of the best and I don’t care who they are or what they are as long as they deliver genius on the field. I don’t care if the team like each other, I don’t care if they require brick walls to separate them from each other. I don’t care how they feel about being on the field together or whether they feel threatened by somebodies presence. They are supposed to be professionals who are paid to do a job. They should be able to perform their duties under any circumstances.
    I was saddened to see Strauss appointed as director. For me it was a sign that the regime has not changed in spite of what Colin Graves may have said. I suppose that at least I know where I stand now. I won’t be needing a Sky subscription, I won’t be needing to save money to pay to watch England play. I can depart safe in the knowledge that nothing special will happen any time soon. I wish the team luck in their upcoming series. I wish nothing but good things for them. I hope they find a decent coach, personally I can’t see any good coach wanting the job with your best batsman off limits but what do I know?

    • Mark,
      Great post. Genuinely thoughtful and thought provoking.
      The interesting thing is that I think Ferguson actually proves both sides of the question of how far you indulge the special talent. Of course you’re right about Cantona.
      But you also have McGrath, Beckham and Keane to think about. All 3 were forced out of the club for “non-football reasons” when they would all have been in the best XI at the club. McGrath if anything went on to play the best football of his career at Aston Villa after he left.
      Keane and Beckham are more analogous to the KP situation – wonderful, driven players that came with “baggage” which ultimately, Fergie decided he was no longer prepared to deal with. Dare I suggest that KP shares Keane’s inability to hide his contempt for those he doesn’t agree with?
      Of course we’d all love a team picked on merit but it doesn’t always happen – even the great managers sometimes have to make those calls.

      • Keane I would say was past his best Beckham definitely the baggage. Club sides are a bit different though aren’t they?
        You can go to another club. Beckham continued to play for England. To me the England cricket team is increasingly run as a private club. You have to fit in. I don’t think a national side which is supposed to be representing us all should be run like that.Players can’t just go and play for someone else.
        There were a lot of issues with Boycott in his time. It can’t have been easy to have him back after his self imposed exile in 1977. He can’t have been the most easy personality to accommodate. It was done because of his proven ability and any awkwardness it may have caused didn’t prevent it. Mike Brearley was the captain and was actually short of test class as a batsman. He would have had reason to feel that Boycott’s presence would be a problem. Boycott was always known for making his views felt. One reason for his exile was that he felt he was playing under a captain not worthy of a place in the side and that he himself should be captain. If the current regime was in charge this would never have happened But then there’s no one like Brearley now.
        He even insisted that the players who had just committed to Packer be selected if they warranted it. That schism was a very divisive issue amongst the players at the time. He really knew how to cope with disparate personalities and all without a coach!

        • To continue the football theme.
          Is this similar to Gazza at France 98, can’t remember the exact reasons but Hoddle not being able to trust him (to behave) caused his omission.
          The result he found two young kids in Becks & Scholes.

          • Gazza was in the throes of alcoholism. His personal life was an absolute mess. I still would have taken him because he was a genius and playing for England meant absolutely everything to him. But I can understand why Hoddle didn’t.

          • KP : a player renowned for dedication to training and developing his own game, with few question marks over his ability, but who has been sidelined through personality clashes with an organisation widely considered to be a useless bag of dicks with awful man management skills, and with other players whose own behaviour does not seem entirely beyond reproach.

            Gazza : a player – and in a different sport which is crucially dependent on fitness – who had huge question marks over his fitness and form, and who couldn’t stay out of the boozer for long enough to actually make it down to training half the time.

            Yes, some terrific similarities there.

            To be fair to you though, dropping Gazza did turn out to be a managerial masterstroke, heralding a new golden age of English football where we won everything in sight and … wait a sec … something’s not quite right here …

            • A fading force (like Gazza) with a creaking body (like Gazza) who’s quite disruptive (like Gazza) and gets his message across through his media mates (like Gazza) is shown the door.

              Absolutely no similarities whatsoever.

        • Alan,
          You’re right about Brearley’s class as a captain and his deft touch in handling Boycott – but even Brearley had his issues. Phil Edmonds barely played for England under Brearley, allegedly because they couldn’t stand each other.
          Boycott’s an interesting one. I wonder how he would fare in today’s environment of 24 hour coverage of the England team? How many stories of his unpleasantness would come out now that were kept under wraps back in the day? I suspect he would be even more incendiary now – and in as much trouble as KP is.

          • There’s a great stat about Boycott that England never lost a match in which he scored a hundred. But the way KP has been treated makes me think he wouldn’t have lasted long under this board. God if KP is unpopular now, it is nothing compared to how unpopular Geoffrey was back in the day!

          • Yes Kev I’ve heard that about Brearley and Edmonds. He did actually play for Brearley a fair few times though. Not in 77 when Underwood was still available but the second half of the following summer and all 4 tests in 79. He was also on two overseas tours though only played three tests in total. When Brearley was brought back part way through 81 he was already out of the team . He was certainly an awkward character but they played together for years at Middlesex.
            To be fair to Boycott there was a real mix of characters in those teams . He wasn’t the only awkward one by any means. You had Botham, Willis, Randall and Gower for starters. But I take your point. They’d probably all be in trouble these days . Some of them were before! I can’t help feeling though that all this emphasis on environment and culture in the England team is squeezing out the individuality and a lot of the pleasure, both for them and us.

      • I would say that Ferguson was right on each of those occasions. Paul Mcgrath had serious alcohol problems and United a very big drinking culture when Ferguson first joined. It had got to the point where Mcgrath was considering retirement, such were his injuries and personal issues. Mcgrath had to go, for both his and the club’s benefit, and he went on to have good success with Villa and Ireland after leaving Old Trafford.

        Keane was 34 years old and past his best, and then he gave that infamous interview to the club’s TV channel slating half the squad. Never going to end well. Beckham is an interesting example, but I think he was on borrowed time with Ferguson once he started dating a Spice Girl. Ferguson didn’t like that his fame transcended football and he was David Beckham, famous person rather than simply David Beckham, footballer.

        The sale of Jaap Stam is the biggest example of SAF getting it wrong. Still nowhere near comparable to the nonsense the ECB have put us through with Pietersen.

    • Hi Mark

      A well written and thoughtful post.

      I’d like to invite you to the dark side I believe Australia can offer much of that which you seek in a team. And we still have a crap board that we can take the piss out of when there’s nothing happening on the pitch.

  • “Firstly there are not many people who know more about one-day cricket than Kevin Pietersen, he’s got a lot to offer that conversation,” says Strauss. “He’s played in T20 competitions all round the world, he knows a lot about one day cricket, and I want to use as many people, as many different viewpoints as possible to formulate the right strategy.

    “Maybe part of that would’ve been the start of rebuilding trust. Maybe that’s the starting point, to get involved in that capacity and see how we go. At the moment he doesn’t feel that he can take up that position. I understand that. I hope over time he can reconsider.”

    He wants to play cricket, not be a suit. Jesus Christ, Strauss, even a child could’ve seen through that shit.

    • Clearly that offer was part of what they’ve been doing all along – trying to string Pietersen along so that they can shut him up without having to recall him. Good on Pietersen for telling them where to stuff it.

    • This could well be a strategy to try and put him in the wrong. He turns it down as any of them would in that situation and they say it could be part of a bridge building process and he’s rejected it. That is basically what Strauss said
      Then the usual suspects can write their predictable diatribe. Oh I see Pringle’s started already. Over to Newman and Selvey.
      By the way the questioning of Strauss on Sky was hardly rigorous. Too much matiness for my taste I’m afraid that appears to be the norm now in a lot of the media. Paxman they are not

  • Having cancelled my Sky Sports subscription some months ago, and already decided not to buy any tickets for England matches this summer, I’m not sure what more I can now do to protest. Support NZ, I think.

  • I was pleasantly surprised by what Strauss said. He was articulate and made good points. The thing that let him down was the cook question. He lied. He is taking a gamble on cook recovering his form and leading the team to a good performance this summer. He forgets cook is a terrible captain, that won’t change unless he has an earphone in and is being instructed on field by others. The only reason KP is not being considered this summer, is because cook has refused to play with him, he is still calling the shots and his disrespectful attack on Graves and Eoin Morgan’s captaincy. He has serious delusional issues which will have to be addressed at some point in the future.

    • Vanessa,
      This is James’ argument too but it just doesn’t stack up to me.
      Firstly, I’m 100% convinced that Strauss himself doesn’t want KP back in the team, regardless of what Cook thinks. His off-mic comment certainly suggests that. He was also pretty conclusive on the Lords podcast that he didn’t support KP coming back.
      Secondly, Strauss must know (despite the usual public denials) that a bad Ashes defeat (never mind a possible loss to NZ) would spell the end for Cook’s captaincy. Add in likely defeats in UAE and SA, and even his staunchest allies wouldn’t put much money on Cook still being captain in 2016. So it doesn’t make much sense for Strauss to make this decision to protect Cook – although clearly Cook will agree 100% with it.
      This is 100% Strauss’s call IMO. He’s the one who will have to own it, for a period possibly long after Cook’s captaincy is over.

      • Kev, I know there is an element of his personal feelings have come into this decision but, I still think it’s about protecting cook. Strauss and cook are friends and therefore he cannot be 100% impartial. The fact that cook felt he could have a go at Graves without any sanction is a clear indication of how important he thinks he is. He has been led to believe this in the past and obviously not been told that changes are on the way.
        Strauss spoke well and the content was perfectly valid up until the cook question. They have protected cook for the last 15 months though he has performed abysmally and I feel they are still doing it. I honestly believe cook is the reason KP won’t be playing for England this summer unless he is sacked before the Ashes.

        • They backed the wrong horse in 2014 and resent it to this day. Silly thing is, they could and should have backed both and appointed a new skipper.

          • That I agree with. They should have sacked Flower post-Ashes, replaced Cook as skipper and quietly told KP they were moving on with younger players. Exactly right.

            • That wasn’t my point. They should have sacked Flower, replaced Cook as skipper and built the team around Cook and Pietersen. We’re seeing the consequences of mollycoddling Cook now, he’s turned into Pitt the Younger.

      • Kev, you’re still avoiding the major point here. Do you really think the situation would be exactly the same if the skipper was clamouring for KP’s inclusion? Of course not. Cook is absolutely central to this. The trust issue is between (a) KP and the administrators, and (b) KP and the team. For ‘team’ substitute the word ‘Cook’. Do you think it would really be possible for Strauss to make such an apparently nonsensical and unpopular decision based purely on his own personal feelings? Cook has made his feelings very clear on this matter. To claim Cook has no say whatsoever, or that the impact of KP’s return on the skipper has been ignored entirely in this decision, is not realistic.

        • Admin (James?),
          You ask a fair question.
          Would it be the same if the captain was clamouring for his inclusion? We’ve already had that situation. It’s a reasonable bet that Eoin Morgan wanted KP in the World Cup side. The ECB held their line – so yes, on the evidence we’ve seen, it would be exactly the same.

          • Eoin Morgan is not really a fair comparison. Morgan’s position is considerably weaker than Cook’s, and he’s not best mates with the Director. Morgan had only just been appointed skipper and was totally out of form.

            • OK.
              Let’s ask the question in reverse. Can you see any situation, regardless of captain, where Strauss would make a different decision? Given everything he’s said on the record (and off it!) about KP since Textgate? His words were the same in 2012 as they were yesterday. He was unequivocal on the Lords podcast about not wanting KP back.
              His remit is long term. Why would he make a decision on behalf of someone that he knows might not even be captain in a years’ time? Especially when he doesn’t need to. Cook didn’t need to spit the dummy to get what he wanted – he was going to get it anyway. This is the decision Strauss wanted to make. The fact that Cook agrees is just a happy coincidence for both men.

              • Well, I suppose we will never know. However, Strauss’s autobiography makes it very clear he likes to work ‘with’ people. He’s often about compromise and finding middle ground. Had the captain wanted KP in the side, I severely doubt he would have caused a rift with the captain straight off the bat. If you’re right, then it actually paints Strauss in an abysmal light: he’d be putting personal prejudices, and Pietersen’s reputation amongst an irrelevant bunch of faceless blazers, ahead of the needs of the side. I really don’t think Strauss would have done that. He wants to build bridges between the team and the ECB, not cause divides. The truth is, however, that ‘team’ means the ultra-sesnsitve Cook in this case (and perhaps Broad too). All the other people KP criticised in his book have moved on. What’s left are young players that like him.

              • I think one of the differences here is that I wouldn’t describe Strauss’ opinions as “personal prejudices” or based on Pietersen’s “reputation” – with the implications of those words being that his opinions are somehow uninformed or easily dismissed.
                In truth he is the man with more knowledge of what KP is “really” like in a dressing room than anyone else – having played more cricket with him than anyone else. That’s not based on reputation – that’s first hand knowledge. And his considered opinion, with that knowledge, is that he doesn’t want KP back in the side.
                Like it or not, there is a very strong case that Strauss’ opinion is sincerely held, based on first hand knowledge acquired over many years.

              • “Let’s ask the question in reverse. Can you see any situation, regardless of captain, where Strauss would make a different decision?”

                Yes, I can envisage an – entirely theoretical – situation in which Strauss wasn’t a useless prick who put personal vendettas ahead of the interests of the national team and his own integrity.

  • As I’ve said elsewhere, what seems most odd is the hamstringing of the new coach before he is even chosen. I’m a Yorkshire fan, so if JG took the England job and decided not to pick KP, I’d trust that he had some good cricketing reasons. But you wonder if any independently minded coach would take the job knowing that if certain people don’t like a player, they can’t be picked.

    You also wonder who else is barred because the captain or his mate, the DoC, doesn’t like them?
    Compton? Carberry? Taylor? Monty? Rashid?

  • Of course it’s Cook.

    And Strauss carelessly showed his hand by offering him the advisory role for the ODI side.

    Strauss has made exactly the same mistake as Downton by going all in on the wrong horse at appalling odds.

    The only outcome that pays off is: good batting form from Cook this summer, not losing against New Zealand and being competitive against Australia. I’ll price that up at about 10-1.

    England would have to do WORSE than this with KP, with the added bonus for Strauss that if KP failed that would be end of discussion.

    And I suspect his Telegraph column and his tweeting was just as much of a thorn in cook’s side as his comments in the book, particularly during last summer.

  • The feelings of frustration I currently have towards Strauss are more akin to a hurt lover or a disappointed parent. Personally speaking, I’m just not as excited as I used to be about our cricket, I feel jaded, tired and cynical instead. Such a shame. Still wish them all the best and want them to win, but it’s not the same. It’s ironic that the whole sordid, sorry mess has left me (and others I’m sure) feeling disengaged and disconnected from the team.

    I agree with every word of this article. And that makes me very sad indeed.

  • We will lose 2-0 to NZ, dither for a while, and then Cook will be sacked a week before the Ashes start. The press will know a good 12 hours before he hears it himself.

    We will then appoint Joe Root captain, ask him to open the batting, and generally mess with the team selection and undermine him at every opportunity. We will lose the Ashes 5-0. Anderson will break down injured and end his career, Broad will break through the 70mph barrier in the wrong direction but still be deemed undroppable. The other bowlers will be a series of one-test wonders.

    Gary Ballance will top the averages, and be summarily told that he will never play for England again. We will change our mind on this at least three more times.

    After a disastrous winter in which we lose every game, both Root and Strauss will then be sacked. Mike Selvey will break the news to them via an article in the guardian. Ian Bell will be made interim captain and Alistair Cook made Director of Cricket. His first act will be to ask KP to be manager of the one day side. KP will then be sacked half way through his first game in charge for being caught whistling on the dugout microphone.

  • So it doesn’t matter want the paying fans want? Maybe it’s time to hurt the ECB where they feel it most – in thir pockets.

    I noticed that Jason Gillespie has thrown his hat into the ring. He won’t get the job while Strauss & Co are in charge because he will want to play the best players – not the best forelock tuggers!

    Joe Root has been given the vice captaincy so he can learn the “right stock” rules before he takes over the top job.

    0-7 this summer I predict!

    • I reckon there’ll be a couple of washouts so probably more like 5-0. Although I like your scoreline better and would be happy to be wrong.

  • Paying fans have no say whatsoever when it comes to team selection or anything else. You have the ability to express your opinion but nothing more. if you don’t like the product, don’t buy it.

    • So that’s how you see it.That’s what our great national game is now. Not something for us all to enjoy but a product like coca cola or something. Take it or leave it
      Arlott and Swanton turn in your graves
      And from you a “cricket lover” of 60 years standing!!!

    • Christ, Peter, whatever your involvement is with cricket administration I hope it’s extremely minor. You seem to be of one mind with Giles Clarke in viewing the game as a product and the paying public as beneath contempt.

      • Perhaps Peter does due diligence on prospective signings for his club. Ensuring they come from the right sort of families and can demonstrate a sound grasp of the second declension and so forth.

  • From the department of unintended irony:
    “I personally think he’s got some limitations around strategy and tactics” – Andrew Strauss
    (on Peter Moores, rather than a self-assessment).

  • The man scored 355 not out. Yesterday he went from 25 to 326 in ONE DAY. Anybody else would have got an immediate call up. The Aussies must be pissing themselves laughing with the way “those of the right stock” ru(i)n English cricket. Imagine if Lehmann had dealt with Johnson, Watson and Warner in the same pathetic way.

  • I do not give a fuck whether the ECB or Andrew Strauss trust Kevin Pietersen. I do not give one single solitary syphlicated fuck whether he has hurt their feelings, or been nasty to them, or is difficult to manage. Assuming he works hard and isn’t a total scumbag, I only care about his ability to help England win cricket matches. No-one denies he works hard, and if there is evidence that he’s a total scumbag then it would have leaked from the ECB years ago along with every other piece of confidential information that appalling organisation has ever been privy to.

    If Andrew Strauss thinks that it’s necessary to trust your colleagues in order to work with them, then he should already have resigned following his new colleagues’ leaking of his decision to sack Moores before he could tell Moores about it. He’s either a moron, a liar, or just another one of the sanctimonious, privileged, self-deluded tossers who populate the upper echelons of English cricket in vast numbers.

    He’s destroyed his reputation before he’s even started the job. Quite some achievement, really, even by the recent standards of English cricket administrators. Who would have guessed that Paul Downton’s replacement could have an even worse start to the job than Downton?

    • By jove I think you’ve got it. He’s a prig. And we all know there’s nothing worse than a prig. The IDS of cricket.

  • Oh and I’m assuming he’ the vile ignoramus responsible for the firing of Peter Moores. Who else could Simon Hughes have been referring to?

  • Wouldn’t be surprised if we see Colin Graves overruling Strauss as soon as he becomes Chairman tomorrow.

    • I’d be amazed if he’s prepared to openly pick a fight with the rest of the ECB decision makers, which is what he’d have to do at this stage given that Strauss has announced the policy already.

      He didn’t seem shy about ruffling feathers with some of his previous comments, but he’s seemed supportive of Strauss in what he’s said since his appointment, and Strauss has said that Graves is on board with yesterday’s announcement.

      Which would mean both that Graves’ advice to KP, assuming it’s been reported correctly, was extremely poorly judged, and that one can’t really expect him to have the courage of his convictions on such matters moving forward.

  • I was one of the lucky 2000+ people at the Kia Oval yesterday and watched KP’s excellent batting masterclass. He looked totally comfortable and continued to bat calmly and safely while wickets fell around him. Strauss said that no-one doubted that KP is a talented batsman and can win guys for England but that there are trust issues. What trust issues can possibly mean that the most talented English cricketer cannot walk out to the crease and knock those NZ and Australian bowlers around the park? we can all trust him to do that!
    Trust from another view
    1. KP presumably trusted what Strauss’s new boss said to him – if you want to play for England you need to go and score county championship runs. This does not turn out to be the case.
    2. Cook called a meeting of the players after the last Ashes defeat and encouraged the team to give their thoughts openly. He then went to Andy Flower and told him of KP’s negative comments. As Cook has proved untrustworthy to his team mates, how can he still be in the England team?
    3. KP genius twitter account. Richard Bailey was the author and a good friend of Stuart Broad. Does anyone believe that Stuart Broad knew nothing about it? Trust – I don’t think so.

    KP was the highest run scorer in the Ashes debacle but he was the one sacked. The team was then rebuilt around Cook which is a complete mystery. He will almost certainly be remembered as the worst English cricket captain ever. England are now 5th in the test rankings. Where do you think we will be after the NZ games and the Ashes?

  • if they could remake The Thick Of It as a Cricket Organisation. Strauss as Malcolm F^&^%$g Tucker. What’s the Story In F^%$£%g Balamory today, wouldn’t we like to know!!!

  • “Now is the time for us to be really open about the Kevin Pietersen situation…” (A. Strauss, today)

    Strauss, who was recorded calling Pietersen ‘an absolute c—‘ last year, repeatedly referred to a lack of “trust” between Pietersen and the ECB as a barrier to the batsman being selected for England, although Strauss would not say who in particular at the ECB did not trust Pietersen nor on what basis…

    I too have a serious issue of trust with Strauss.

  • Pretty incredible stuff. I mean seriously they could grow up and get over it.

    Clarke described Watson as a “Cancer” in the the team apparently but they managed to get through it and seem to work pretty well together now. Personally I think Cook told them its him or me and Strauss backed him up.

    In the last Ashes in Australia the only time after the first test I really feared that England may take the games back was when Pietersen was at the crease. Torn between being pleased he’s not there (as an Aus fan) and disappointed as he’s fun to watch and makes for some tension and excitement.

  • It is entirely possible that the root cause of much of our disappointment, confusion and in some cases incandescent rage is Graves or if we go further the people who appointed Graves. Drawing some parallel between his behaviour and being a Yorkshireman is unhelpful. He was just doing what he is used to doing.

    The ECB is a political quagmire scrutinised by a loyal paying public and polemic media and is not a multi transactional,short cycle, stack and sell em business. Graves’ customer base and accountability in his new role has changed and he hadn’t adjusted to this.

    He will have learned a difficult lesson at significant cost to himself, his customers, Pietersen and Strauss.

    Slow down old boy and think before you act. The hand that feeds you is turning into a fist.

  • cook obviously thinks he is off the hook with Strauss taking the flak for this decision. He is self delusional if he thinks the public can’t see through him. In my opinion KP was very lenient about him in the book. ( the tooth fairy comment was priceless imho). I am in no doubt whatsoever that he was the prime mover in this decision and I will take every opportunity available to lay into him when ever I can.

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