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Kevin Pietersen's sacking is preposterous and we are owed a proper explanation

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There is something terribly wrong with the team and coach if they cannot cope with a great player’s quirks

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Kevin Pietersen reacts to sacking

Controversial South African-born and now former England batsman says he still has plenty to offer to cricket.

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The England and Wales Cricket Board has to provide a proper explanation about why Kevin Pietersen is no longer an international cricketer. What exactly did he do wrong?

If you want a dressing room full of clones then good luck. You will beat average teams. If you want to beat the best you need mavericks. 

Clearly England feel Pietersen has a negative effect behind the scenes but supporters want to know exactly what he has done to be axed. I cannot believe he cannot be managed or brought into line.

Kevin Pietersen trudges off the field after being dismissed in the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.

Kevin Pietersen trudges off the field after being dismissed in the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney. Photo: AFP

In 2012 England had the grounds to get rid of Pietersen after 'textgate'. They could have moved him on and nobody would have batted an eyelid. But they reintegrated him and he repaid with a magnificent hundred in Mumbai that turned a series and a hundred in an Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Now they have got rid of him after a 5-0 Ashes whitewash when everyone was a disgrace and it is sad for the game. Cricket does not sell itself and it is going to be a damn sight more boring without Pietersen.

There are a lot of people who owe Pietersen. If you want a dressing room full of clones then good luck. You will beat average teams. If you want to beat the best you need mavericks. Andrew Flintoff was one. I would not be a columnist, a summariser on Test Match Special or have other opportunities in media and business without Flintoff. I would not have won the biggest series of all without him.

2004. Never a shrinking violet. Pietersen joined English county side Nottinghamshire in 2011, scoring 1275 runs in his first season. Click for more photos

The Kevin Pietersen career

The tempestuous career of South African-born England batsman Kevin Pietersen never lacked controversy or drama. Photo: Getty Images

Look at Andy Flower, Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Giles Clarke. They would not be in such positions of strength or commanding the same level of respect if Pietersen had not come along and won big games of cricket for England. They managed him when it was easy and the side were winning. But you earn your money as managers and administrators in the tough times when you need to give more time and care.

I hope they don't think by clearing Pietersen out that all of a sudden English cricket will be reinvigorated. There are many more issues I would question in that dressing room.

The team environment should be good enough to cope with someone stepping out of line. If you have strong seniors players and a management group then they can cope with all the silly little things one player does to annoy others. They drown out people acting that way. The big worry for me is the England dressing room has obviously not coped with the way he has behaved. You normally have 16 in a group on tour and within that squad two or three need extra care and extra management. But the other 13 absorb them. At the moment we are hearing only one person, Pietersen, has been difficult (although we don't know any specifics). The others should have been able to cope with him.

Only a week ago Graeme Swann said there was no problem with Pietersen. He said that since being reintegrated that Kevin has been fine. So who is saying there has been an issue? Was it Flower? We don't know because he has not done a press conference since resigning. Normally that is what happens. You stand down and say how grateful you were for an opportunity to play or coach England and point things that could change for the better. But not this time with Flower. Silence.

If it was Flower then I don't think he should have a say any more. He was a great coach but it is not his call now. Move on.

The ECB has to understand that it will take more than binning the star player to turn the team around. The team ethic and philosophy has to change. They have to play a different brand of cricket and remember they are in the entertainment business. They have to improve the way they portray the game through the media. But they have to stay in touch with reality.

It is just a game. When you are in the team it feels like the most important thing in the world. I felt that way. But it is important to listen to people out of it. In four or five years some of these players will look back and think that, for example, Pietersen turning up late or wearing the wrong kit did not lose them a game of cricket. They are not fighting in the army. It is not life and death. But I heard them say last winter playing in the Ashes was like a war. They will realise in time, yes, there should be mutual respect in a dressing room but there are ways of dealing with it so you do not fall so far you have to dump someone as good as Pietersen.

I can see there is a time to move forward and plan for the future but not right now. The Twenty20 World Cup starts in two months' time, the Ashes is 18 months away and the World Cup early next year. That is a lot of important cricket in a short space of time. What happens if the new director of cricket comes in and says they want Pietersen in the side. At the moment it seems they will be told Pietersen is out and Alastair Cook will be captain. You would want to make those calls yourself.

The Telegraph, London

64 comments

  • Kevin Pietersen is a great batsman, but he was a disruptive influence. He had too much swagger for his runs tally this last test. KP needed back to back double centuries to match his swagger and mouth, and he did not deliver.
    In the end, the record heat of this summer, the fear and brilliance of Michelle Johnson and the other bowlers, and Australia's new coach was the difference. England were unprepared for none of these.
    Cricket is a team sport, and KP for mine was never a team man, he was a me man.
    England seems on the right track. Get a new coach, maybe outside of cricket. A football coach has been suggested.
    IMO England fell apart this summer because the coach was living on past glories and not facing up to reality, players were selected that were not pressure tested, not heat tested, and not glued together as a team. That is all down to the coach and selectors imo. Also, allowing KP to do his thing is a symptom of the problems of leadership of England.
    Peter Cook dropped simple catches, and lost games because of poor field placing decisions. That is poor focus, and lack basic technical and decision making skills and understanding his role.
    He needs to learn how to build a team spirit, build team confidence, lead and encourage his team when they are down, and make good decisions under pressure. Again, learnable skills. So for me its back to school for the England Cricket team.

    Commenter
    Rocket Surgeon
    Location
    Gold Coast
    Date and time
    February 05, 2014, 3:10PM
    • All good advice after the event, but they did start the tour as unbackable favourites did they not?

      Commenter
      Rocket Scientist
      Location
      Betting Ring
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 3:20PM
    • He was Peter Siddles bunny. Any player that gets out to Peter Siddle is no longer up to test level

      Commenter
      vitas
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 3:35PM
    • ' Michelle' Johnston? Dare you to call him that in person.

      Look, team sports have always had these narcissistic obstreperous mavericks. Australia might not have one now (except perhaps Dave Warner) but not too long ago, there were Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds. Warne unquestionably deserved his spot despite his antics, Symonds not so much. Pietersen still seemed to deserve his, too, even with recent below par performances. There don't seem to be ready made replacements who can win a game with big tons and double tons. There wouldn't have been whingeing about Petersons team fit when he did that, and it was recent enough to think he still could. Anyway, England's loss.

      Commenter
      rudy
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 3:36PM
    • And 'Peter' Cook? Oh, dear. Well, he never was as good after splitting with Dudley Moore.

      Commenter
      rudy
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 3:39PM
    • True Rudy however Symmons and Warne were fiercly loyal team players and team mates, they bucked the establishment but loved their team mates. The only person Kevin thinks about more than himself is the man who looks back him in the mirror while he's shaving!

      Commenter
      TheGimp
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 5:23PM
    • Rocket Surgeon. Funny how he was not disruptive etc while England won 3 straight Ashes series. In fact for a short time he was Captain. I bet he would be treated different if he wasn't South African

      Commenter
      Armchair Selector
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 6:00PM
    • What a load of rubbish, you are saying he too much swagger for his runs this last series. Pieterson was England's top scorer. England also won a series in Australia (2010-11), in Australian conditions, with Pieterson etc. Get a coach outside cricket, so you advocate people taking positions outside their knowledge, great lets have Anthony Griffin coach our divers or perhaps Justin Leppitsch coaching our netball team. Let England worry about their team let us worry about our team. If Pieterson was so bad how about Shane Watson with an average of 36 after 51 tests. And finally who is Peter Cook?

      Commenter
      Taffy
      Location
      Ingleburn
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 6:25PM
    • Then half the Test bats are no good Vitas. What a silly comment. Check out Siddles test average amount of wickets and the quality bats he has got out including a Test hat trick what's your claim to fame

      Commenter
      Armchair selector
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 9:09PM
    • Vitas I suggest you look up Siddles stats. It's amazing how many wickets he has got and often top order bats. You don't have to like the guy but at least look up his Test average and wickets so you can speak factually

      Commenter
      Armchair Selector
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 10:36PM

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