|KP...new tattoo needed?|
This England cricket team has probably been the most successful of my forty two years on this planet. No West Indies or Australia stand in their way, such as over the previous period, but they are probably the least popular team I have known. Is there a perception of arrogance about them? Yes, but that is not always a bad thing. Is it because they are South African at heart? Possibly.
The English public have taken certain players to their hearts in this side. The likes of Swann, Anderson, Cook, Strauss and Finn are loved, but the press have had the knives out for Matt Prior with his keeping form a few years ago, and no doubt will for Trott or KP. No adoration such as even that we felt for Allan Lamb or Robin Smith, for these guys.
Is this a unified dressing room? Who knows? The South Africans said a few years ago that Pietersen had no loyalty to Mother England, and was using it as a vehicle of convenience to further his own agenda. However, that is probably equivalent to your ex girlfriend telling the world you are rubbish in bed! Hell hath no fury like a Saffa scorned.
Certainly this summer, he has been at odds with his paymasters at the ECB. A paymaster who has paid him possibly more than any other in their history. The spending more time with the family stuff is now being trotted out, although chasing the IPL rupee at the same time weakens the Pietersen argument. I don't think there is a cricketer who has split public opinion as much as KP. The brilliance of his innings in the Headingley test took the breath away at times, as did one of his early knocks when he saved the Oval test versus the 2005 Australians. On the other hand throwing his wicket away with certain choices of shots, or his love of the dollar has polarised him at times. He should be loved, a national treasure and yet he is far from that.
Andy Flower now needs to show the resolve and patience he did whilst he batted, and show the steel he did when he took on Mugabe, and weed the bad apples out of the changing room.
Pietersen says it will all come out in the wash in the near future. I hope for the sake of English cricket that there is nothing more sinister at the heart of it all? After all, the team is bigger than Kevin Pietersen, isn't it?