A bland, featureless room. Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss sit side-by-side facing a desk, behind which sits a relationship counsellor.
Counsellor: So, what brings you here?
Strauss: We’re having some issues with our relationship.
Counsellor: Have you been together long?
Strauss: A few years.
Counsellor: Okay, well, the strain can begin to show when you live in each other’s pockets for a number of years.
Pietersen: [Sulkily] I’m not living in his pocket.
Counsellor: Let’s try and get to the bottom of what’s going on in the relationship. How is it that you know things aren’t going very well at the moment?
Strauss: Well, we haven’t been speaking much of late and as a consequence, we recently took the decision to separate.
Counsellor: Relationships are all about communication. That could be one of the major problems. Can I ask whether either or both of you have trouble expressing yourselves?
Pietersen: He does.
Strauss: I express myself. The difference between you and me is that I express myself in a calm, controlled manner.
Counsellor: It’s important to exchange ideas without things descending into an argument. Conflict is counterproductive.
Strauss: I agree. I think it’s vital that we let the dust settle, take stock and then carry out a full review.
Pietersen: Listen to him. He’s so cold.
Counsellor: What do you mean by that, Kevin?
Pietersen: He’s so emotionless. I can’t stand it.
Counsellor: How does his attitude make you feel?
Pietersen: It makes me feel unimportant. There’s no spark any more. I honestly don’t know whether he still loves me or not.
Counsellor: How do you react to that, Andrew? Do you still love Kevin?
Strauss: Look, I don’t think we should commit to making firm statements while emotions are still running high. It would be far better to let the dust settle, take stock and then carry out a full review.
Pietersen: You see? You see what I mean? It’s like trying to have a relationship with a stone or a rock.
Strauss: Stones and rocks are much the same thing.
Pietersen: You’re always criticising me!
Counsellor: Okay, okay, let’s just calm down a minute. We’re just trying to explore the issue at the moment. Let’s try and establish the facts rather than falling out with each other.
Counsellor: Now, Kevin. What would it take for you to feel happier in this relationship?
Pietersen: Honestly? I want to feel that I’m needed and I want to believe that he still loves me.
Counsellor: Okay, now Andrew. What would it take for you to be able to once again get in touch with your loving feelings for Kevin? I’m presuming you wouldn’t be here if they weren’t still in there somewhere.
Strauss: It’s a matter of trust. I just don’t know whether I trust Kevin any more.
Counsellor: How so?
Strauss: I just feel like he’s let me down recently. I feel like there’s a fundamental lack of respect for me and that has led him to seek solace with other cricketers.
Counsellor: Well that’s potentially very serious. How do you respond to that, Kevin?
Pietersen: I’m going crazy in this relationship. I need to talk to someone. I need to get my emotions out somehow.
Strauss: This is no time for emotion.
Pietersen: It never is with you. When is it that I’m supposed to express my emotions?
Strauss: Once we’ve let the dust settle, taken stock and carried out a full review.
Pietersen: So I can get emotional then, can I?
Strauss: I really think it’s important that we not get too emotional about this. It’s more important that we take the right decisions for the future of the England cricket team.
Pietersen: Am I not part of the future of the England cricket team?
Strauss: Like I say, we really need to carry out a full review.
Counsellor: I’m really sorry, but I’m not sure I can do anything to salvage this relationship.