How do you carry out long-term planning? (a Pietersen post)

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Remember Kevin Pietersen?

Remember when England dropped Nick Compton? At the time, we thought maybe they were getting a little bit ahead of themselves. People said Joe Root was amazing and there were loads of other amazing batsmen queuing up to play for England and come on, come on, bring us the future; the future’s going to be amazing multiplied by amazing!

A few months later, 33-year-old Mike Carberry made 78 against a Western Australia Chairman’s XI and England were now in a position where they thought: “Oh, okay, er, maybe he could open the batting? And then Joe Root could move back down the order? Yeah? Yeah?”

Sometimes you can overestimate the quality of what you have in reserve. Particularly if you’re cocky and kind of stupid.

But of course we’re in a completely different situation now. Back then, England were planning for a glorious future and ushering in talented youngsters in a bid to experience it sooner. Now England are shit. Now it’s time to rebuild with talented youngsters. You know, like Australia did earlier in the year.

Because surely that should be the template for how to turn a team around? Except for the likes of Chris Rogers, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris and a few others, Australia started afresh, didn’t they? They gave youth its head.

When times are tough, you have to move on. It’s vital to start rebuilding and the first step in that process is to chuck any half-decent bricks you find into a skip. It’s not sinful waste, you see – it’s long-term planning. You can’t really judge the wisdom of these decisions now because it’s a long-term thing. It’s all going to be fine. Stop questioning the ECB’s wisdom, okay? Just stop.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. As an Indian fan I can empathize. I wish someone similarly had had the balls to drop Sachin a few years ago. We’d have given Rohit Sharma more time to do whatever he does.

  2. Do we actually need to keep anyone? Why not just put the u19s in and really build for the future.

    I understand, and obviously I can’t give details and I’m going to have to write this sentence in an incredibly convoluted manner so that it’s nearly impossible to work out what I’m actually saying, but people may have mentioned in private to someone who might or might not be me that Anderson has set up a website consisting of videos of him crushing the heads of kittens while wearing high heels, Bell is actually Dr Josef Mengele after punishing plastic surgery and Cook and Broad follow the religion of the Aztecs and have constructed a pyramid on which they carry out extensive human sacrifice, wearing the skins of their victims as capes.

    Actually, that doesn’t work, does it, it’s far too specific.

    1. I basically heard the same rumours from someone who might or might have been (but definitely wasn’t) Giles Clarke in a dress wearing a comedy fake moustache borrowed from Merv Hughes.

  3. The ashes loss was clearly Pietersen’s fault. When guys like Cook, Bell, Root, Trott, Carberry and Prior are struggling with the bat it is vital that a senior player does that little bit extra to make up the shortfall. I know he was the top run scorer for England, but under the circumstances he needed to score a century in each innings.
    KP failed England and now he is quite rightly paying the price.

  4. Downton can go fuck himself. Ashley Giles can go fuck himself. The English Cricket Board can go fuck itself.

    1. At last! a sensible response from someone.

      I used to think the Aussie team were bad. Then England came down under this summer.

      I used to think that CA were good at shooting themselves in the foot. Now the ECB have come along a taken the prize for self-harm.

      Keep it up, England! You’re making us look so good!

    2. We interviewed Paul Downton once. We wish we could remember more about it. He was mostly quite nice but faintly patronising when we suggested that maybe there were people in the world for whom a career ‘in business’ didn’t trump playing even just a handful of matches for England.

      We’re desperate to remember the exact phrase he used, but he basically said: “Why would you continue playing cricket, thinking you might only play a handful of matches for your country when there are such great opportunities ‘in business’.”

      We wanted to say: “Because cricket is the best thing ever and working in finance is fully shit,” but the way he’d said his bit made us feel this big and so we settled for making an indeterminate sound that was neither agreement nor disagreement.

    3. Honestly, if you’d have heard the way he presented it as a cut and dried ‘I know more about the world than you do, son’ thing, you’d have imploded too. And you’d also harbour lasting regrets about not speaking the truth, even though it was about 10 years ago.

      But he was a nice bloke. Honestly. We’re not making that bit up. It was just a sizeable difference of opinion that suddenly seems more pertinent when you’re engaged in slagging that person off.

    4. Well, if you have the opportunity to interview him again, you should ask how dropping the best batsman in the side makes any ‘business sense’.

      England’s not the team I support, and this shouldn’t really affect me. But growing up with this game, there are players that brought me joy. Pietersen was one of those. When he batted, he seemed to do so because he truly enjoyed the process. It is quite different from, say the ruthless efficiency of a Tendulkar, or the genius of a Lara. Pietersen was flawed, and quite magnificent. Cricket will be poorer without him.

    5. Rusty- I’d forgotten about CA looking incompetent over the last few years: the whacky team selections, the non statements etc. The fact is they have been massively outdone by the ECB and need to up their game if they really want to be number one again in the incompetence stakes.

    6. We wanted to say: “Because cricket is the best thing ever and working in finance is fully shit,”

      The mere existence of a possible alternative universe in which you said this makes me incredibly happy. It doesn’t have to be this one.

  5. I genuinely don’t understand the timing – KP must have done something SERIOUS to warrant this.

    If you were Ashley Giles, King of Spain (or whoever else the ECB end up getting in to run the team), would you want one of the team’s ‘best’ players completely excluded from your options?

    Would you?

  6. Hey, at least we might be able to take 20 wickets over the five test series in the summer now.

    But I really don’t get a lot of the minor and major decisions that the management and ECB have taken since November, right down from consistently bowling short to Haddin to this.

  7. Seems Giles sold his ‘million dollar asset’ down the river for the job. What a fucking shambles. I hope Scotland destroy us in the world cup.

  8. What the?! …bloody hell. Who’s next? It’s becoming clear that Giles has got the job isn’t it. Otherwise surely they’d wait to see if the new coach wanted to keep his star batsman. Flower, Strauss, Trott, Pietersen Monty and Swann all gone now. Possibly Prior too. That’s pretty much all the key components in England’s rise in recent years. Just need to find a way to fire off Jimmy and the Shermanator and it’ll be job done. I forsee a rudderless few years of mediocrity and despair ahead.

  9. So can we already come up with a ‘Discarded XI’ that are liable to be better than the team that will play the Tests in England this summer?

    A first partial attempt from a cranky, cranky hyena:

    Prior +
    ?? Tremlett?

  10. Also, what the duck is Cook doing? As captain he should have told the ECB he wanted the best players in the side and shove the politics. I don’t even know who’s making these decisions. We are a shambles.

    1. I think the personality clash with Cook is part of the issue. This goes back to the fun times that escalated into fake twitter accounts and text messaging.

    2. It’s also got everyone talking about KP and /not/ about the ICC governance stuff.

      The supporters are getting played by the owners. That is how they see themselves and that is how they are behaving.

    3. Pontiac – maybe that’ s the idea. STop people thinking and about governance and start them emoting about KP

  11. Actually, before we get too far into the post-Peterson reality, can someone explain to me what just happened here? I can’t recall a remotely similar precedent for this kind of axing in the history of professional sports.

    If they didn’t want him on the team any more, why not, you know, refuse to select him? Why this press release that reeks of a Hollywood divorce announcement? Furthermore, if some future England selection committee decides they want him back on the squad, on what grounds will they be prevented them from recalling him? Is there now a new statute in the ECB bylaws, or the perhaps the laws of cricket, that states: “No individual named Kevin Pieterson bearing lion tattoos shall be selected to play for England in any form of cricket, commencing from 5/2/2014 into perpetuity.”?

    How does one classify the action embodied by this announcement? A lifetime ban?

    This is why I love cricket.

    1. Hollywood is spot on – “you’ll never eat lunch in this town again”.

      Maybe the National Enquirer will do an exposé on the whole thing (probably involving UFOs and KP being a Scientologist or something).

  12. Players will say various things off the record, but when a camera or dictaphone is put in front of them will tell you what a great lad Pietersen is.

  13. To offer the slightest bit of balance, this keeps happening to Pietersen doesn’t it? I mean, it cant just be everyone elses fault. You keep hearing that England need to manage him better, but why can’t he allow himself to be managed a bit more? It would obviously help if we knew exactly what he had done, but if everyone is in uproar because he is Englands best player, then dont you think the ECB knew that? If they knew how good he is, and they would have to be even stupider than we think not to realise, then clearly something major must have happened – either a big incident or a cumulative thing.

    1. Why is there a presumption that “everyone else” doesn’t like him? It appears more that a few key people don’t like him. Maybe they don’t like him because he isn’t afraid to tell them that they are being shit at their jobs, which, given England’s recent performances, might well be the case.

      If something major has happened, then the ECB owe it to English fans to explain what has happened. They haven’t said anything, and they haven’t instituted any disciplinary proceedings, which means that it is correct to presume that nothing serious has happened.

      If it is a cumulative thing, and not a punishable offense, then it boils down to ‘some people not liking him’. It is stupid and unfair to drop the best player on a team because ‘some people don’t like him’. The ECB are just stupider than you thought.

    2. But a few key people at a lot of different places now don’t like him. He has been booted out of pretty much every team he has ever played for.

      I’m not denying that there are faults from both parties, but a lot of people seem to be brushing under the carpet the idea that anything could remotely be Pietersens fault.

    3. They aren’t running a social club. Nobody should care whether the players like each other or not, it is completely irrelevant. And if your form suffers because of someone else in the dressing room, that is much more your problem than his. I once heard a pro golfer asked if it mattered who was in his playing group to how well he played. He replied that if it did, he couldn’t be a pro golfer.

    4. I don’t want to me misconstrued as standing up for the ECB/Cook/Flower/Downton/Giles – thats the last thing I am doing. Pietersen could have been managed better of course, but why can’t he manage to make himself a bit easier to manage? It goes both ways. If he is pissing off this many people in high places pretty much everywhere he has been, why is he not checking himself and thinking “could I make myself less of a problem?”

      Maybe it is just that he isnt a yes man. Then again, maybe he really is a pain in the arse, and the stories that he took great delight in telling James Taylor how little he though of him are not only true but are widespread. Perhaps England have been scared to discipline him in the past exactly because he is such a good player (again, I am not saying this is the right thing to do).

      I think my point is we don’t know any of the facts, as succinctly put in KC’s previous update. Because of that, it seems that the ECB has borne the brunt of the stick (certainly in the media) and Pietersen has been labelled as the poor guy that got kicked out just because everyone was jealous of how good he was.

    5. It can also be said in their defence that they’ve managed him for a decade. There’s a parallel world where they failed much sooner and he barely played at all.

    6. If a player is acting like an arse, the best way to deal with it is for the captain to tell him he is acting like an arse. England’s trouble is that they’ve tried to “manage” KP via committees and regulations and considered action under sub-clause 3 of section 12 of the Disciplinary Code (Acting like an Arse). After a bollocking from his captain (and colleagues), KP would have been in a better position to decide for himself whether he wanted to be accepted (change his behaviour) of not (be disliked and ignored).

    7. I don’t really know how you know that he hasn’t had bollockings.

      Maybe Pietersen got countless bollockings for being an arse, didn’t change, and thats when 18 months ago happened. England punished him by dropping him for a while, let him back, and now are left with nowhere to turn because he is still being an arse. We dont know about it because bollocking someone then announcing to the world that you’ve handed out a bollocking probably isnt great management either.

      You’re right, maybe it is just the ECB being officious pricks over a 3 or 4 year period, but I don’t see why its being reported as that without any real evidence.

      Its also worth noting that since the start of 2009, he has averaged 44. Of course, there has been the odd stunning innings in there, but there is also an awful lot of “meh”.

      Look, at his best he is the best England batsman I have ever seen by a long distance, and I’m deeply sad and pissed off that he wont play for England again. But while the ECB deserve some of the blame, he has a bit to answer for as well.

    8. Continuing to be an arse after he has been told not to be an arse, even several times, is NOT a reason to drop him. It’s up to him – it just makes it clear to him that if he has a problem with being excluded from the team night out it is entirely his fault.

      Don’t get me wrong – I think he is almost certainly an arse, permanently and unchangeably. I said on here somewhere once that I didn’t want him to marry my daughter, just score runs for England. But the English cricket establishment (and this includes commentators like Agnew) seem to consider that it matters how clubbable he is (in the non-violent sense, of course).

      In the end, it comes down again to the ECB explaining in terms what he has done. We’d better hope for their sake that it includes at least one avoidable death, because if not they are going to get ripped to shreds. Their current silence speaks volumes.

    9. What exactly does KP do that makes it impossible to keep him in the team? He has conducted himself well publicly and hasn’t under-performed relative to the rest of the team. There has been so much written on this matter (the last cricinfo article I read mentions back stabbing and Strauss, Cook, Flower being bloodied in the KP wars etc.) and I still have no clue what he actually did (especially when past sins had been forgiven last year) that warranted such a drastic step.

  14. I work in a ‘project based’ industry and unfortunately I see this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. It goes like this..

    New head/director/manager is appointed and immediately makes a HUGE decision with the excuse that it is best for the LONG TERM FUTURE PLANS they wish to put in place (remember this bit). This decision is mainly one which benefits internally only. For example, internal disputes etc.

    Secondly these ‘long term’ future plans begin to fail but the excuse is, well, just wait and see. These are LONG TERM after all. Such expectations then fail to ever materialize and our Chief then goes on to blame the original decision as one that was FORCED upon them at the time.

    They then decide to move on, leaving a mess for someone else to clear up whereas they already have the above as the foundation of all the other excuses lined up for the failure.

    The real beauty of it all is that at Pietersens age, there will be no time for a recall where he can prove the reasoning behind his exclusion to be incorrect.

    Classic executive management at work and Downton is a classic executive.

    I’m afraid this is now Cricket managed for the benefit of the boardroom and NOT the lovers of the game.

    1. That’s an astonishingly accurate description of the place where we work and also a more-than-decent summary of a great chunk of an article we’ve just written which you might see on Cricinfo tomorrow.

  15. The team that started the Ashes in 2010:

    Andrew Strauss
    Alastair Cook
    Jonathan Trott
    Kevin Pietersen
    Paul Collingwood
    Ian Bell
    Matt Prior
    Stuart Broad
    Graeme Swann
    James Anderson
    Steven Finn

    Only four of those eleven are still in the team, with Anderson bowling poorly and Cook and Bell batting like Anderson. Collingwood retired properly, of course. Prior and Finn had bad runs of form, but all the other missing players left under a cloud of rumour, innuendo and suspicion. Who knows how much Prior and Finn’s form was a consequence of this also.

    When will these fucktards accept that the management of players is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. By fucktards I mean the captain, the coach, the support staff, and the “team management”, whatever that is supposed to be that isn’t adequately covered by captain, coach and support staff.

  16. Genius is hard to manage, because genius is better than management.

    (Downton’s Wikipedia page concludes that he was “a much better keeper than many gave him credit for”. High praise indeed).

    The ECB have sacked their best player because he was “hard to manage”. Well, that’s your fucking job! His is to play cricket. He didn’t drop his pants and do a poo at fine leg, or punch the Queen in the tits. So get over yourselves you plumped up twats.

    I bet you Surrey are shitting themselves at the prospects having him back.

  17. I am weary of this whole thing. I really have no idea what the hell has been going on, and it doesn’t seem likely that anyone will tell me. One thing I do know is that it’s perfectly possible to perform well in a team wherein there are people that you despise. (Bert’s already mentioned this in relation to golf, a sport chock full of wankers).

    You’d expect this to be even easier, I might add, if it’s your bloody job. One of the roles of the management structure is to make sure that this is made easier, so that you can go about your work (ie the cricket stuff) in a professional environment, and that personal relationships aren’t allowed to intrude.

    Everyone is culpable here. If the rest of the England team weren’t able to abide having KP in the dressing room, then they are no better than school children. If KP was too disruptive, then he’s being unprofessional, and the management are the ones who should never have allowed it to get this far. What’s the collective noun for fucktards?

    1. yeah, that’s not bad but i would suggest “a board of fucktards” is actually sufficient.

      my own conclusions about senior management (after a while of observing them fairly close-up, as well as reading about them etc) is that the “skills” one needs to possess for such a creer are basically as follows:

      1. ambition/obsequiousness/luck (to get there in the first place)
      2. balls/recklessness (to make sweeping decisions with enormous consequences for others’ livelihoods)
      3. ruthlessness (nuff said – we’ve all seen this one, whether at close quarters or otherwise)
      4. comfort with telling HUGE lies, especially when things go wrong
      5. er… nope, that’s it.

      in other words, a certain degree of principle/shame/lack of ambition is all that stands between most people and a career in senior management. intelligence, foresight, wisdom etc etc are not only not required but may actively get in the way.

      nice world we live in isn’t it? i mean, isn’t it?

  18. Stop the moping, guys. KP prevented every England player from doing their job. I know better than you do, I have heard from team sources. You better believe me. I won’t give you any specifics but why should I? Isn’t my word enough?

    Also, anyone supporting KP is a wanker

    P.S: With deep gratitude to ECB, Mike Selvey and Jonathan agnew for giving me a management technique to follow in my job. From what you guys say, it does seem like it is a succesful corporate technique. Wish me luck!

  19. Massive case of 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

    Is KP a massive tool who could be locked in a cellar on his own and still cause a huge and divisive row?

    Probably, yes.

    Was he England’s top run scorer in the last Ashes?

    Also yes.

    Have England’s management been hugely disingenuous by going on and on about the need for rebuilding?

    Almost certainly, yes.

    Is there enough evidence thatthere are other people involved who could be described as massive tools?


  20. He must simultaneously be cukolding Giles, Clarke, Downton , Cook & David Cameron. Otherwise wtf?!

  21. Who votes for Giles Clarke?

    And who votes for the people that vote for Giles Clarke?

    I think what I’m leading to, is that we should all become members of Glamorgan CCC, vote His Highness chairman, and wreak havoc.

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