Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We need to stop talking about Kevin.

Firstly let me say that I simply cannot comprehend how England have got to the point where a place for one of greatest talents they have ever had cannot be found, even at the age of 33.

It may be that Pietersen is just such a disruptive influence that it outweighs the runs but to me it just seems beyond reason. I like everyone will have to take their decision under advice.

There will however be many that will agree with the decision, especially those in and around the ECB. It also sounds like it was a fairly unanimous decision which does lend weight to it maybe being the right call - even if I don't understand it.

The Ashes debacle has clearly called for a scapegoat and KP in that respect was the obvious choice. The batting was clearly the issue, but let's not forget he made the most runs down under.

People will point to the ways that he got out, but in that respect surely Ian Bell (who plays less extravagant shots and should be less prone to senseless dismissals and scored less runs) should have been told to go also.

Bell however does not rock the boat. So I guess he can stay then.

The body language between Cook and KP has been telling all the while and with the ECB rightly or wrongly backing Cook as captain, his has made KP's place in the team untenable it would appear.

Where however England have got things horribly wrong - at least outwardly - is that they seem to have made little attempt to integrate Pietersen.

Yes he is an egotistical character but many geniuses are.

Team sport has been full of maverick characters and if they feel cherished and wanted they can flourish.

Take football for instance. Argentina built a whole team around Diego Maradona and won the 1986 World Cup. Real Madrid have embraced Cristiano Ronaldo's talent and ego and the numbers speak for themselves.

Even within cricket, Brian Lara has been a prime example of a player who not just indulged himself but demanded that his teammates and country indulged him to the point where personal records were more important than the result of a test match. 400 and a drawn test case in point.

Whilst he may have not asked for it necessarily, much of Indian cricket has revolved around Sachin Tendulkar  - I'm not suggesting he is anything other than a very humble guy however.

I don't think England needed to indulge Pietersen to any remote degree like this but simply involve him. The sight of him continually fielding (he's too good a fielder to be out there) on the boundary spoke volumes.

Whatever the rights and wrongs and who is to blame, English cricket has lost a wonderful player and all those who have paid up handsomely for the home test series this Summer will already be feeling shortchanged.

It can of course be that a player does stop being worth it. Andrew Symonds was an example of a great talent that simply couldn't tow the line and at some point you have to say enough.

KP's issues however have not been off the pitch and whilst his professionalism has not been called into question, the debacle regarding the text messages to the South African dressing room was unprofessional in the extreme in a very different sense.

There was however a certain SK Warne who needed a bit of a prod from time to time also. Persevering with him seemed to be the right answer for Australia.

England have decided to move on and that being the case it will be time to stop talking about Kevin.

That is probably the reason they have decided to go this route rather than simply dropping him, to avoid all the constant talk of recalls that would inevitably come every time England posted a low score.

They also clearly wish to bring several new players in to the fold so having a character they deem divisive in the dressing room is not how they want to kick off and I can understand that to a degree.

I honestly think that KP will be sad that he is no longer involved in England cricket. He will probably become far richer as a T20 hired gun but I genuinely believe he enjoyed the challenge of test cricket and will miss it.

And I will miss him - No Nonsense.