Kevin Pietersen - the name on everyone's lips this week. Ostracised from the England team, seemingly permanently by Andrew Strauss, the former-England batsman's international career seems to be over. Yet the saga rumbles on and refuses to die. Should we see Kevin back in the team or does England Cricket need to move on?
This is the the question that is dividing cricket fans but seems to have a fairly straightforward answer. Judging from reactions of social media, the BBC websites and general interviews on news outlets, the fans know Pietersen can be a divisive, arrogant, self-involved character but they also know he is an exceptional batsman and England's highest run scorer in all forms of cricket. This is a fact that simply cannot be overlooked.
Another issue that needs to be accounted for is the fact that with Pietersen, we stand a much better chance in the Ashes this summer. The Aussies know that on his day, Pietersen is someone who can score a quickfire hundred or hold out, as he recently did, to a big score. He is a batsman, who can enter in the middle order and define the innings, either building a partnership or smashing Mitchell Starc all around the ground. Pietersen is a threat and the Aussies know it, yet again this should be reason enough to include him.
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Then we come to the personal issues surrounding this sorry and lengthy story. The history between Strauss and Pietersen is well documented, from text-gate in 2012 to Strauss calling KP a rather rude word on T.V. Many hoped, when Colin Graves told Pietersen to score runs, that he would and earn himself a recall to the international side. However, it seems to us all, that whatever Strauss asserts to the contrary, he is being a petty and vindictive man.
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This view is gathering traction with fans, led by one Piers Morgan (the author wishes to keep his feelings about Morgan to himself at this point) who has campaigned incessantly for Pietersen's return to the team and the small mindedness of the ECB hierarchy.
As Morgan has rightly pointed out, this episode has led to the sacking of ECB personnel including Peter Moores and Paul Downton. Not only that but this mysterious dossier of misdemeanors supposedly committed by Pietersen has yet to materialise and very few former teammates have appeared to criticise KP. So why is he being kept out the team? The fans deserve an answer.
On the other side of the fence is Pietersen himself, as mentioned above many fans dislike the man. He often comes across as arrogant and self-involved. His autobiography supposedly lifted the lid on the england dressing room but why should we take everything he says as gospel? It is not beyond the realms of possibility to suggest bits in his book may have been exaggerated or made up for the purpose of selling copies. Clearly the book did not help his cause with the ECB chiefs.
In the end, the ECB has come out of all of this looking worse that KP. Cook and Graves, the captain and the ECB chairman have yet to comment on all of this.
Strauss and Harrison have looked petty and vindictive, meanwhile Pietersen looks like the second coming and the saviour of English cricket. When it all boils down to it, the current England team is not in a position to turn down the services of one of the best batsmen in recent history. This saga will rumble on until either Strauss is gone or Pietersen has retired, even then we'll probably all still be talking about Kevin.