The English Cricket Board's decision to end the nine-year International career of
star batsman Kevin Pietersen has shocked the cricketing world.
Pietersen was informed yesterday that he was no longer in the plans of the England cricket team as they look to put behind them one of the most disastrous tours in living memory and concentrate on rebuilding their shattered team.
This is a bold step by the ECB. Pietersen is the one English cricketer who can claim to be truly world class. He is one player that people want to pay to watch and when he reaches the crease with an England shirt on the bars empty and people take their seats in anticipation of the entertainment ahead.
Yes he didn’t always deliver in an England shirt but the anticipation of that truly great innings was always only around the corner and was worth the wait. He is a unique cricketer and a batsman who England cannot do without in their current predicament.
Pietersen has appeared in a total of 104 test matches,136 one-day internationals and 37
Twenty/20 internationals. In all forms of Cricket combined he is England's leading run scorer of all time with 13,797 International runs. In Test matches, after he burst on to the International scene in the triumphant 2005 Ashes winning series, Pietersen went on to score a total of 8,181 runs at an average of 47.28. He scored 23 Test match centuries and 34 fifties.
These statistics are comparable with all the England greats both past and present. If he continued for another few years he could rightly lay claim to be the best ever England cricketer.
Who can forget that Ashes winning innings of 158 at The Oval on that glorious day
in 2005? His first Test match century.
Supporters deserve to be told the full reasons for Pietersen's absence from the England
set-up because quite simply he is not just any old player. He is still only 33 and has had injury problems but these cannot be the true reasons for his exclusion.
I can understand the ECB's decision to want to rebuild and draw a line under their Ashes tour but surely Pietersen is a player they should retain not only because of his quality but also because of his experience. Has Pietersen been a problem in the dressing room and created divisions that have led to the dysfunctional displays on the field? I feel there is more to it than we are being told.
In team sports there are always individuals that are difficult to manage but this is the job of the management team. They should manage these players accordingly and not simply dismiss them from the team. However, without knowing the full facts it is difficult to know whether there is more to this saga than meets the eye. Or have the England management team simply tried to save themselves any future problems by leaving Pietersen out, which to me is a cowardly and selfish act.
Surely the new coach should be making a decision about Pietersen's future? Unless, of
course, the hierarchy have already decided who is their new man. If so, Ashley Giles, part of the management team who made the unanimous decision about Pietersen's future, must surely be favourite to succeed Andy Flower.
England now find themselves in more disarray with no new coach as yet, uncertainty over
Alistair Cook and now the omission of their one truly world class player.
The ECB need to address all these issues quickly. You never know, we might look back on the Pietersen decision and think it was for the best, but somehow I doubt it.
I, for one, am hoping that he is reintegrated back into the team again in the future!
Thanks for the memories KP!
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