Thorpster looks at the whole KP issue and in a thought provoking piece, argues that Kevin Pietersen and Cristiano Ronaldo aren't the baddies they are made out to be, they are just poorly advised. The real villains are the likes of Salman Butt, Hansie Cronje and co who have done far more damage to the game of cricket, than the likes of Pietersen.
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece entitled “it’s all about me KP”, which received a flurry of comments, mostly anti the batting/blasting/bashing/boshing Bok. So as a follow up, guess who recently said the following:
“I am sad and the people at the club know about it,” and “It is about professional issues. I can’t say any more.” No not KP but another man who prefers to be known by his initials, Cristiano Ronaldo or CR7 to his mates. These comments like those given by KP in the now infamous interview at the end of the Headingley test when he bashed a belligerent 149, were met with howls of derision by sports fans across the globe. But before going on the attack Joe Public sports fan may opt for a little more analysis. After all it is of course possible to be rich, attractive and successful yet suffer an inner turmoil that renders everything hollow.
The first thing to notice is the timing of these bizarre pronouncements by KP and CR. KP as we know is a man to fire off before considering the potential fallout and backlash. An example is the misjudged texts he apparently fired off to the South African team regarding the now departed Andrew Strauss. In addition shortly after being appointed England skipper in all forms of the game he demanded the sacking of a man he had relentlessly referred to as “Moorsey”, asking for his mate Warnie to be stuck in as England coach. However if you look at it form another angle you could say that his outbursts had been timed precisely to coincide with his currency (Rupees) being at its highest. When he was skipper (yeah that second) England were in disarray. Michael Vaughan had said his tearful goodbyes and exited stage left for his hair transplant and during the interview process KP was given the nickname of Mr S Hoein as he was the only player at that stage certain of his place in all formats. Equally when bashing the 2nd most famous ever 149 at Headingley, England were getting rolled over by his homeland, yet he had smashed em to all parts, whilst others struggled. So were these outbursts spontaneous or carefully planned, to capitalise at a time when KP thought he was bomb proof? Did he hold a grudge against Strauss for being so quick to step in and replace him as skipper when it all went Pete Tong?
|Gooch and Boycott on the rebel tour of South Africa in 1982 having turned their back on England|
Equally CR7 says his protestations are nothing to do with the many hundreds of thousands of Euros that he receives each month. Many speculate that it is in fact to do with his unhappiness at the increase in the Spanish rate of tax, reducing a king’s ransom to that of a queen. Other reasons put forward are that Real Madrid did not lobby hard enough for him to win the much sought after Ballon D’or ahead of his rival Lionel Messi. But nonetheless the public reaction has been one of derision and disdain. A bit like when a young Ashley Cole on 30k a week with 18 months of a contract, was offered a new one on 55k a week and started spouting out how he was being treated like a slave.
Do these guys genuinely believe what they say to the press and in public or are they simply trying to cash in and capitalise when at the height of their powers? In any case particularly in the case of KP for cricket fans, we find it hard to comprehend and understand statements such as “its hard to be me in that England dressing room”. Our reaction which is perfectly understandable is to the cast them as pantomime villains and targets for derision. But in reality are they anything more or less than anything that we were already fully aware of?
Yes they are preening primadonas, who want everything to be about them and for their own personal stars to rise above all others in the galaxy. Too many sportsmen to mention have played this role. Maybe the ultimate sporting hero/villain that totally polarised opinion was Eric Cantona. When handed a suspended prison sentence and been banned for 9 months for in laymans term “kicking the s***t out a fan” he responded with his infamous press conference line “when the seagulls follow the trawler, it because they know the sardines will be thrown into the sea,” albeit in a Gallic accent.
These guys attract publicity like a scouse sauna attracts Wayne Rooney or a basement torture chamber attracts Max Moseley but given more thoughtful analysis are they really the villainous figures that they are cast as? Surely the real sporting villains are others whose acts are truly deplorable, such as previously mentioned on these pages, Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif, Allen Stanford, Mervyn Westfield, Danesh Kaneiria?
|Nico...talks about Hansie Cronje in his excellent book, "Keeping Quiet"|
What about the man synonymous in cricket banter terms with being a wrongun, Hansie Cronje? As confirmed in Paul Nixon’s excellent recent autobiography “Keeping Quiet”, Hansie who Nico spoke about in such glowing terms, described himself as having an unfortunate love of money. What I found hard to stomach is that he promulgated a holier than though attitude, whilst trying to corrupt younger impressionable colleagues including Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams, for the sake of a few thousand rand and a leather jacket. I know that in the early 90’s Dan, the co-editor of the Middle Stump, loved a leather to go with his white polo neck, but was such a garment really worth risking a number of international careers over? Incidentally, with Nico’s apparent love of a séance, I’m surprised he hasn’t got a few ex team mates together to speak to the spirit of the "wrong'un", to ask him in his unmistakable Cumbrian accent “why did you do it bud?”.
But maybe the ultimate sporting villain has now finally been revealed after Lance Armstrong decided to take all the doping accusations on the helmet after years of avoiding em by swaying, bobbing and ducking out of their way. KP has generated an amazing amount of media coverage over the last few months. During the recent radio 5 live interview “we need to talk about Kevin” mimicking the blockbuster film starring Tilda Swinton, Alec Stewart, the self styled Gaffer asked the question “would you rather be know as a world class test match cricketer or an IPL player who made a lot of money?”, well we know what Hansies answer would probably have been! The question was also asked about who was advising KP. The names mentioned were Adam Wheatley cast in the Jerry McGuire role, showing him the money and more bizarrely another notorious self publicist and love him or hate him figure, Piers Morgan showing him the fame. Another mentioned was Angus Porter of the PCA who was described as the “honest broker” between Pietersen and the ECB.
|Real villains of cricket|
Whoever KP is taking his lead from I think it is a crying shame that when England’s performances are slowly falling from the summit of Everest to a height more akin to the top of the mound stand, that we are without one of our greatest ever batsman. Like when I watched agog as one Eldrick Woods purged his sole in a strange alien like fashion at an American Golf club, admitting to having a achieved more holes in one that having previously been given credit for, my overriding thought is “he aint exactly Jack the Ripper”. Although during that particular sack cloth and ashes confession by Tiger I thought that was what he was about to confess to.
So let’s remember that while being egotists that divide and polarise public opinion, the likes of KP and CR are by no means deserving of the despised caricatured status that they have acquired. That tag should be reserved for the likes of Stanford, Cronje and Butt who have destroyed lives and shaken the very fabric of cricket through their loathsome deeds.