First let us be clear, this isn’t another opinion piece on Kevin Pietersen so please stick with us. We’ve read far too many of those this week. And in the preceding weeks too, as speculation about his future grew following the end of the Test series. Quite honestly, no one seemed to have a clue which way things would go, including us as you will have realised if you’d read our England Ladder or T20 series preview.
As a general rule, the internet is an amazing addition to daily life and we should all be thankful for its creation. As you are reading this quality website the benefits should be doubly obvious. Only this week, thanks to the power of The Twitter, some lucky folk got to see an intimate Prince gig for free. It’s a sign of the times.
From scanning various blogs, tweets and columns it appears most of the mainstream cricket media have been reasonable in their assessment of the breakdown in relations between Pietersen and whoever it was that actually sacked him. Even Jonathan Agnew took off his grumpy old man, no one listens to me, wah wah wah – oh what a lovely porkpie! – hat to express a reasoned opinion.
However, as usual, Mike Atherton has led from the front all week with his articulate, reasoned pieces; none more so than Friday’s expert summary of the ‘e-tit for tat’ of the previous 48 hours. Atherton’s writing is reason alone to get behind The Times paywall (for the cost of two pints a month) in the same way Africa or Frozen Planet fully justifies paying the BBC licence fee.
As someone once said, ‘Freedom of speech is fine, unless you are obviously wrong’. Apropos to nothing, that brings us to those who have been more vocal in their support of Pietersen and their disdain at the ECB PR department – namely Alec Stewart, Michael Vaughan and Piers ‘Morgan’ Cockface. We can excuse Stewart on the basis of his obvious, and understandable, bias towards all things Surrey.
The nicest thing we can say about Vaughan is that since retiring he seems to have struggled to find his niche in the broadcast media. By definition he should have taken the Hussain and Atherton route and used his recent playing (and captaincy) experience to educate the TMS audience about the nuances of the game from an insider’s point of view. Like Strauss with more Advanced Hair. Instead he’s turned into a rent-a-quote gobshite, like a younger version of Ian Botham or Geoffrey Boycott but without the gravitas or massive wine cellar; #vinoocock. And no, that’s not a typo. His relentless child-like desire for attention is a long way from the man who captained England with distinction.
Finally we have to talk about Piers ‘Morgan’ Fuckhead who has somehow managed to position himself as the go to guy for tabloid-style cricket rumour and bullshit. His singling out of Matt Prior this week highlights how out of touch he is with reality. Prior was the lead negotiator during the period of reintegration following ‘textgate’ and the outing of his comments from the team meeting after the Melbourne Test frankly stinks. Ironically it strengthens the case against Pietersen and the case for the England management – how else did Morgan know what was said in a team meeting? It’s a shame Brett Lee only bowled five bodyline deliveries at Morgan’s chins at the MCG. And let him wear a helmet. The man clearly feeds off the publicity and attention, something we’re sadly contributing to by mentioning him (in a very minute manner).
Apparently, another guy in the media lending his support to Pietersen is the TalkSport regular Darren Gough, presumably in-between filming Costcutter adverts. The fact that the Dazzler was Pietersen’s best man is obviously irrelevant here.
Finally on Thursday new selector James Whitaker actually had to say something (as Geoff Miller no doubt poured himself a nice glass of red) due to the ODI and T20 squads being announced. To the collective disbelief of the various written press hacks this was a censored interview broadcast on Sky Sports News with tiny Tim Abraham.
No live press conference. No Q&A. No one-to-one interviews. Peter Hayter’s (@rugfindageneral) head exploded just like his less hirsute doppelganger Humpty Dumpty. Only corporate sound bites and management speak. Lawyers eh? Who’d have them? It turns out everyone has, and they’ve been pretty much running the show all week.