Pietersen – England’s Number One Batsman and Number One Scapegoat!

Posted on February 7, 2014

Cricket is a sport I love more than any other and as someone who has struggled to be able to master it in any degree as a player, I choose to study it instead, marvelling at the technique of those at the top of their game.

That is why I can’t help but be saddened at the unceremonious dumping of the most flamboyant of them all, Kevin Pietersen.

To see him at his outrageous best was a pleasure like no other in sport and have no doubt about it, England would have not reached number one in the world and won four ashes series out of five without him.

The tour recent of Australia was an accident waiting to happen, a tour when the negativity of England’s dull tactics was finally ambushed by an Australian side that played with aggression and verve to deservedly beat England into the ground.

So what do the ECB do? Make Pietersen the scapegoat by not just dropping him but informing the world of cricket they can’t be doing with him any longer, despite a World Cup in little over a months’ time.

If you are a cricket fan and you want to listen with someone with sense, look no further than one of England’s great captains, Michael Vaughan. Vaughan talks with great experience about captaining and he just cannot see the reasoning in what is, in effect, a sacking.

Pietersen had a poor series down under but he was still the best of a bad bunch as leading run scorer, getting out to poor shot making whilst trying to take the game to Australia as others cowered in fear of a resurgent Mitchell Johnson.

At 33, Pietersen is three years younger than Australia’s batsman of the series, Brad Hadden, yet the ECB, in their misguided wisdom have decided England can do without a man who has changed countless games in their favour.


Pietersen: The ECB’s Number One Scapegoat

The losers are cricket fans and as Vaughan said, other sports fans with a passing interest, who watch cricket if Pietersen is batting. He is, to use an old cliche, a box office player that Test cricket in particular, desperately needs.

Test cricket needs to sell itself and in Pietersen, the ECB have sacked their best salesman. It beggars belief that these people are allowed in charge of our cricket team and we are danger of drifting back into the dark days when players are picked on the basis of what County tie they wear and whether they are prepared to toe the party line.

Test cricket has changed dramatically in recent years, the successful sides have succeeded by aggression, risk taking and getting in the faces of the opposition. Watch the highlights of Ashes 2005 as a classic example.

In the last year England have been defensive, turgid, uninspiring, boring, negative…Shall I go on? That is not the Pietersen way of winning cricket matches and he probably said so. Result? Goodbye.

No one doubts Pietersen can be a pain in the rectum but it is his arrogance and self-belief that has made him such an outrageous talent. In cricket self-belief is a huge factor and as someone who plays with lack of belief, my batting average is a great example of  how cricket works.

I watched Alistair Cook in this series and I came to the conclusion that he is only a good captain when he is scoring runs. His body language was that of a man waiting to be bullied and Australia seized upon it with gusto. Pietersen won’t respond to that.

Managers and captains need to work with players with big ego’s because they win you cricket matches. It shouldn’t matter whether you like them or not, it’s not a dinner party, its professional sport and it is also an entertainment industry where people pay big bucks to watch top players.

Geoff Boycott can bleat all he wants but if he was playing test cricket today, there would be one semi-conscious man and his dog watching him not only playing for himself but not doing anything to aid the team either. At least Pietersen’s single mindedness wins matches.

Give Pietersen responsibility, get him involved in tactics tell him he is brilliant and he will win you a cricket match. It’s a simple as that. That’s what Micheal Vaughan did rather than shunning him and sticking him in the outfield because, as my mate Colin Norton said; “He isn’t one of the Essex Mafia.”

I will finish by saying this.

My son, who is now 18, watched Ashes 2005 with me and I will tell anyone who is prepared to listen, it was Kevin Pietersen and Andy Flintoff that got him playing cricket, not Ashley Giles or BBC highlights of Geoff Boycott and Chris Tavare.

If the ECB want to kill test cricket as entertainment and a sport that kids want to play, I would like to congratulate them on a job well done.


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