PlanetCricket

This is now an angry blog

Article written by on October 12th, 2014
England1

Ever since England’s best batsman was fired for no apparent reason, English cricket fans have been trying to get someone to tell us why. Various of the cricket hacks on twitter suggested that there were very good reasons which, despite being journalists, they weren’t at liberty to share with us. We would just have to take it “on trust” that it was the “right decision”. The confidentiality agreement has now expired and In the midst of all the mud-slinging over how called who what, and whether Matt Prior was a Dairy Lea or a Brie, we’re still waiting to be told.

All the smug and satisfied administrators that had been using the confidentiality agreement as a cop-out, “oh you know I’m not allowed to tell you that”, have failed to come forward. The only evidence put out has been the “dossier” which even the ECB were forced to distance themselves from due to its total lack of content. Neither of the two men put forward to speak for the ECB, Alastair Cook and David Collier, have even been asked about the reasons KP was sacked. Instead they have assured us that they weren’t aware of any bullying and that KP Genius was investigated thoroughly. Neither of these things shed any light on why they sacked the best player.

The contempt and arrogance of those “inside cricket” was summed up today by Stephen Brenkley who described supporters of Pietersen as “odious” today for having the temerity to wonder aloud what was going on. Here’s a tip Stephen. We wouldn’t have to if you did your job properly. It is disgraceful the best journalism on this is being done by bloggers “outside cricket” and only the Telegraph and Cricinfo of those “inside” have attempted to hold the ECB to account in any way.

Please, please, please answer the questions you knew best on 9 months ago. Tell us what it was that made Pietersen so unmanageable. Most of all tell us why you think you are competent enough to take this England team forward and continue to run the game we love. Trust me we’re all dying to know.

If They’d Just Dropped Him, We’d Have Been Spared All This Mess

Article written by on October 11th, 2014
England1

Article by blockerdave

It’s perfectly right that Kevin Pietersen is no longer playing for England, but it was the ECB’s need to settle old scores that created the whole mess English Cricket finds itself in.

There was a case, a genuine case of “cricketing reasons” for no longer selecting Kevin Pietersen for England.

Pietersen was 34, and by his own admission his knee was not up to 4 day county matches, let alone Test cricket in what was a highly intensive summer programme. His career was on a definite downward curve. You can split KP’s England career into 18 “seasons” of English summers and Winter Tours: in the first 9 seasons he averaged over 50 6 times, with a lowest average of 33.66; for the final 9 he averaged over 50 just 3 times, and twice averaged under 30 – 29.00 in his injury-plagued 2009 English Summer, and 29.4 in the final blighted Ashes of 2013/14.

When England asked for and needed their batsmen to play plenty of First Class cricket to overcome the Australian trauma, Pietersen could not do so. Moreover, the emergence of Joe Root, Gary Balance and Ben Stokes, plus the identification of Moeen Ali and Sam Robson as players for the summer gave England the chance to present the 5-0 as a watershed, a true changing of the guard.

A competent regime would simply not select him, and point with justification to his knee and the undeniable fact that England cannot pick for Test Matches someone unfit to play 4 day cricket, whatever their record. Since the knee prevented him from fielding at Gully, and needed a rest, it would equally have precluded him from selection for the World T20.

The knee, the decline, the changing of the guard – three genuine, inarguable reasons to simply not select him, and move on.


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What blew down the ECB House of Cards? KP – the autobiography reviewed

Article written by on October 10th, 2014
kpcover

So what blew down the ECB House of Cards in the end? Was it Mitchell Johnson running in with the Fremantle Doctor behind him? Or was it KP, ace or knave, the man who never quite fitted into any suit? I called a spade a spade he writes but I was never part of the club. The man with the diamond earring whose pack questioned if his heart was in the right place.

Pietersen, in his expertly ghosted new book, talks extensively about his sense of being “outside cricket”. Maybe this is the reason that is has been left to others “outside cricket” to ask the kind of questions of the ECB that those inside it seem unwilling or unable to do. The book reads sometimes as a constant battle, personal and cultural, with people who just don’t get him. As Pietersen himself admits, the fault is not one-sided. He didn’t fit the mould of a traditional England test cricketer and had no time for the performance-management culture so beloved of Andy Flower. When the ECB used him and Andrew Flintoff as poster boys to attract new audiences in 2005, he argues that the arrangement would only ever work as long as his performances didn’t dip. Once they did he expected to be cut off.


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The mysterious case of the possibly-tampered-with non-dossier

Article written by on October 9th, 2014
England1

KP: “I’ve read there is a ‘dossier’, a four-page document that lists my crimes in Australia … The problem is, it doesn’t actually exist

When in the week that Kevin Pietersen was doing media interviews to promote his book, and extracts were being published in the Daily Telegraph, the “dossier” finally appeared no-one was very surprised. As Pietersen made clear in his book, the standard ECB tactic used against him over the years was to leak confidential information to privileged journalists. The Daily Mail had been posting hints as to what we might find in there all week.

On Cricinfo, UK Editor David Hopps wrote the following:

ESPNcricinfo is in possession of a legal document that provides a clear insight into the ECB state of mind as it contends with the fallout from the end of Kevin Pietersen’s England career.”

After a correction from the ECB the article was amended to say that,

The ECB confirmed the document was part of the Pietersen analysis, but stated: “It is simply part of a privileged legal document, produced by the ECB’s lawyers compiling information as part of the ECB’s internal due diligence ahead of the release of the Kevin Pietersen book.

The date on the dossier is 22nd September 2014 which supports the assertion that it was only drawn up recently in preparation for the expiration of the confidentiality clause and the book release. No-one is denying that dossier was leaked but there now seems to be some controversy over who leaked it.

On 9 October David Hopps posted the following on twitter, then promptly deleted it:

“@DavidKHopps: Will the media please wake up to the fact that ECB did not leak the KP document”

When I questioned this and queried who else could have leaked it I was told that:

“@DavidKHopps: There are millions of possibilities. You are leaping to conclusions with no evidence. That’s all I am saying.”

This seemed a surprisingly strong response from the person who had written the story. There was also the question of why if this point was so important he had promptly deleted his own tweet.

As Geoffrey Boycott has observed in an article today, there is an information vacuum here. I personally can’t see who could have leaked the document other than the ECB or the lawyers involved and I respect Cricinfo’s right to protect their source but this does feel like another rather extraordinary episode in the KP saga.

Does it matter if it wasn’t the ECB who leaked the story? Well, the main criticism was of the pettiness and ridiculousness of what they have admitted to be a genuine document so not really. It reflects slightly better on them in PR terms but the fact that both the Daily Mail and Cricinfo had this information suggests that if the ECB didn’t leak it they ought to be finding out who did. We are of course regularly assured that the ECB doesn’t leak. Nor does the government.

I just find it curious the over-reaction from David Hopps and the accusation of “wild theories” and “bad journalism”. He has done an excellent job on the story so far and I am still confused as to why the original tweet was deleted.


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KP – dispelling the myths

Article written by on October 8th, 2014
England1

My, my, the establishment is out for traitor’s blood. The anger inherent in every KP discussion seems to stem in large part from the insistence of #TeamECB that none of his complaints are valid and that his own actions are beyond the pale.

Take this quote from Peter Oborne, writing in the Spectator today:

Pietersen’s story is already starting to fall apart. Fellow players like Graeme Swann say his account is ‘fiction’. The claim of dressing room rivalry in Australia has been undermined by the revelation that after the first Test last November Pietersen said that ‘this is the best England dressing room environment I have ever experienced’.

The claims about bullying have not been sustained, while giant question marks surround Pietersen’s own treatment of junior players, including James Taylor and Michael Carberry.

The utter determination to dismiss the “bullying” story despite corroboration now from Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shazhad, Jonathan Trott, Jonathan Agnew and even Ricky Ponting suggests that the only fiction is coming from those who remain in denial.


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