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?
Kevin Pietersen reacts to sacking
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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