Thursday, 9 October 2014

The English Civil War

Kevin Pietersen's book has only been released this morning. So much has happened in the last few days that I am sure many of us can't keep up with what's what, who's who, where's where, who lied, who didn't, who has written what, which journalist has then back tracked and the whole thing is a huge mess. How messy? Think letting your kids play with paint, the architecture of Dresden after the Second World War, that upskirt photo of Britney Spears or the economics of Greece; that is what has been created. The whole thing is an ugly indictment on English cricket.

Pitched battle
It is like watching your parents get divorced. On one side something that you have followed, invested in both fiscally and emotionally, and something that you support. On the other is someone you admire for their skills and who you believe doesn't deserve to be kicked out of the matrimonial home. However you look at it, it is sad. KP won't play for England again now. There haven't been this many bridges burnt in London, since a baker forgot how long his cakes had been in the oven in Pudding Lane in 1666.

The sadness lies on both sides of the battle, whoever you support. On one side Team England is being ripped to pieces, whilst on the other the English public have been deprived of viewing their most flamboyant, and in many minds, best player of recent years. No one has won.

However, for me the crux of the matter here has been whether KP has deserved the boot? Has a large, powerful organisation such as the ECB used the considerable, and I do mean considerable weight, to smear him. Under law, he must have been under performing or guilty of gross misconduct. Well he was the highest run scorer on tour so no, and the gross misconduct that they couldn't pin on him despite their best efforts, smacks of double standards. A dossier that was not a dossier, but a legal document to help build a case then gets leaked, and the whole thing is a shambles. Has it been an assassination? By P45 instead of Colt 45?

KP...smear campaign?

You cannot get rid of an employee because you don't like them.

Every small thing that KP did was reported, yet when England's most capped player finds out that three members of the team had a password to a parody Kevin Pietersen Twitter account, taking the piss, and in the views of Alec Stewart, that it was going over and beyond the realms of dressing room banter, nothing was done. The ECB asked the three players involved, and they all denied it. So on one hand you have a man who has a legal dossier compiled against his every move, and on the other no further action is taken to something that is detrimental to team spirit?

Either Alec Stewart or the other three are lying, and Stewie has nothing to gain from his revelations apart from wanting the best for the England dressing room. No one is half telling the truth, just as no one can be a little bit pregnant; they either had the password or they didn't. I am sure it wouldn't be Graeme Swann, as anyone who cares so much for the welfare of his cats when they are trapped under the floorboard, so much that he goes out to find a DIY shop that sells screw drivers when slightly inebriated, wouldn't tell a porky, surely?

There will be casualties on both sides. Already Flower's copybook and man management techniques have been blotted, although we must remember that he has been the most successful England coach of recent years, if not ever. One female cricket journalist, has admitted on Twitter that she has even been threatened as cyber threats are traded back and forth, during times when feelings have run high and the fever pitched mentality has kicked in. Yes, it really has come to this.

Aggers...fell at the first hurdle

Other soldiers have left the arena. Jonathan Agnew, having been rude to Kevin Pietersen's wife has now left the Battle of Twitter, in a fit of pique. Agnew, has promoted a pro ECB stance for quite a while and has fallen on his sword, or flounced off in a huff dependent on your view. Again, being an employee of the BBC, surely Aggers job is to report in an impartial and fair manner to the licence payers that are his paymasters? Many people believe he has not. The politicking of this whole situation has torn English cricket apart, and as someone who is in effect a workmate of Graeme Swann, a wiser man than Aggers would have kept out of this whole bitter affair.

Aggers backing of his friends, over whether they had been using the password for the parody account yesterday showed how out of touch he had become. Whilst loyalty is an admirable trait, many of the cricketing public could see that he was, during his online battle with Jessica Pietersen, what we call in layman's terms, pissing in the wind.

Stewie...had England's best interests at heart

All of this has created an English Civil War where the likes of  Chris Tremlett, Michael Carberry, Alec Stewart, Piers Morgan and many others have fought for the House of Kev. On the other side, the House of Nottingham with Broad, Swann, Hales, Bails the Badger with help from Baron Bresnan and finally, Prior Tuck. Or as he is known in France, Le Grande Fromage. Where is the leadership from the ECB in all of this? The silence is deafening. Where is their statement?

Surely it is time that Peter "Culloden" Moores or Giles Clarke sorted this out? English cricket is a laughing stock and I have heard the cacophony of cackles echoing around the globe from Melbourne and Sydney for a few days now, even though the book has only been out for a few hours. It is time for strong leadership, to get this all sorted out and to step in and put some pride back into English cricket. Whilst I am on my soap box about this soap opera, the way the ECB have handled the communications and media of the last few days has been astoundingly and shockingly shite. The whole thing needs clearing and cleaning up. Anyone got a mood hoover? Or is it time for a new broom?

Giles Clarke...the silence is deafening

The ECB clowns haven't yet arrived at the circus, yet the whole world is laughing.

Or do they not care? Is their view that Lord's will be full again come next summer, with mug punters like you and I forking out ninety quid a pop? Paying £4.90 a pint, incidentally the most expensive at any sporting venue in the UK? If that is the case, then they should go and let's get people in charge who do care about the game.

Today, like the last few days will have its casualties. Someone, somewhere will get upset and that is a sad thing for the game, and for England.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends...


  1. Let's be honest. This English mess is brilliant.

  2. You lot are loving this aren't you? A 'cacophony of cackles' I think it was referred to.

  3. Dan, as an Aussie, loving the look of this, bring on the Ashes. Why don't you get these boys down to the Adelaide, get a load of Red Stripes into them and lock them into the dressing room until they sort it out one way or the other. Best way forward.

  4. Well, we've now had the ECB version, via Cook, Strauss and Collier, and we don't seem much further forward. What seems clear, though, is that there has been an abject failure to accommodate a talented but difficult individual since Vaughan retired. It smacks of getting rid of KP because Flower (with some reason) didn't like him. That's fair enough, but it's no reason not to speak to a senior player for a week on tour.

    And, if the allegations over the Adelaide clear the air meeting are true, the whole point of a meeting without coaches and support staff is to allow players to air their views freely, and without fear of what the coaches might say. That doesn't work if what was said gets back to the coach.

    I'm sure Cook is a thoroughly decent individual, but he's not an England captain, even in tests (he shouldn't be playing ODI's).

  5. Thanks chaps for the comments. Firstly Roger, that was how it was always done, have a rumble and get it over and buy each other a pint afterwards. James, always good feedback from you and thank you for your comments. God knows what will happen...time will only tell.