Kevin Pietersen: Does he deserve to be saved?

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Kevin Pietersen's international career is doubtful at the moment, according to the press.

If you believe all of what you read and most of what you hear, England's best batsman is standing perilously close to a cliff and a sneeze from team coach, Andy Flower, could send him free-falling into the world of the has-beens.

It doesn't matter that Flower denied claims he gave the decision-makers a 'him-or-me' ultimatum. And the story just gets stronger with each Pietersen text reminding us of how committed he is to winning back the Ashes for his country.

Desperation on his part, some may say: he knows the chop is coming and he's mustering all the support he can.

If Pietersen is indeed drowning, in the absence of straws, he has some more than willing lifeguards coming to his rescue. Yes, several pundits, ex-England players incidentally, have been on the Pietersen parade supporting him since the story broke.

It started with the former England captain, Michael Vaughan, expressing his concern for Pietersen's future with the team, and even suggesting that he be given the role of vice captain.

No thought then of the stink in English cricket the last time someone decided to put an armband of any sort on a maverick? Maybe they were trying to bell the cat, but look how that turned out.

Other ex-players turned cricket sages have since queued to put an arm around the embattled Pietersen. Mark Butcher claims he is a positive influence in the Surrey dressing room who is now being made a scapegoat for England's recent poor performances, and Nasser Hussein says although he is a 'disruptive influence', he is still one of England's best players and he wants England's best players on the field.

So who is really desperate here? Is it Kevin Pietersen trying to save his career? Or, is it parochial pundits who are willing to overlook his misdemeanours so that England can have a better chance of playing a more exciting brand of cricket, while winning matches?

Doubtless these men are remembering some of the darker days of English cricket, when losing was routine; when swagger and audacity were viruses English batsmen seemed unable to catch; when opposition bowlers would not lose sleep on the eve of a test match over thoughts that a batter or batters could humiliate them, and do so in style, the following day.

With Pietersen, most of that has changed. He has strutted and at the same time struck fear into bowlers. England have developed a winning mentality. It is true that others, like Flower, Andrew Flintoff and Andrew Strauss have played significant roles too, but Pietersen has been at the front and centre of that evolution.

I suppose that is why Hussein and company are now determined to rescue him from the edge of that precipice. 

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