Strauss skives with Pietersen still in limbo

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Johannesburg-born Andrew Strauss is to keep England’s star player in limbo a little while longer after controversially extending his family holiday rather than returning for much-needed clear-the-air talks.

Kevin Pietersen was man of the match in the last Test he played and is keen to help secure victories for his nation in all three formats. However, the side’s embittered management group seems intent on alienating him. Pietersen’s efforts to resolve the situation have been flatly ignored and there has been no sign of any intent to address this pressing situation.

Already Pietersen has missed out on being named in England’s World Twenty20 squad – a competition he was keen to help England win, having been the player of the tournament during their 2010 victory. It now smacks of pure malice that Strauss should continue to keep him waiting when the batsman’s entire future is in jeopardy.

Strauss has averaged just 33.94 over the last three years, whereas Pietersen has averaged almost 50 in the same period. However, there is a clique at the heart of the England team and Strauss is an integral part of it. Unfortunately for him, Pietersen – an individual and a once-in-a-lifetime cricketer – is not.

England’s finest batsman has been made to feel like an outsider in his own dressing room and is being omitted for reasons that have nothing to do with sport. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Team England is nothing but a cosy old boys’ club with South African-born Strauss as the chairman and the Zimbabwean Andy Flower as the president.


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  1. Meanwhile, what are Gloucester-born Cook and Coventry-born Ian Bell doing about it? Nothing. They are eating cake while Rome burns.

    Call me a bigot if you like, but as far as I’m concerned, their slackness and can’t-do attitudes are probably just typical of people who were born in Gloucester and/or Coventry.

  2. That sounds dangerously like an opinion (and a strong one at that). As an Australian I know what it’s like when some grub is hanging onto the captaincy despite an obvious lack of form or tactical ability.
    Good luck dealing with yours, ours oversaw the decline of our team in all forms of the game. And the worst part is the toxic hobbit is still around spreading his evil influence.

  3. Imagine, KC, if you had been sending naughty texts about the editor of Cricinfo (sorry can’t be arsed to find out their name. Zaltzman? Hmm, maybe not) and said texts had come to light, possibly leaked by your arch-rival bogger Queen Wicket or the such (bear with me here), and said editor had got the hump with you and refused to commission any more witty page 2 offerings or Twitter round-ups, then would it be fair to describe said editor’s response as “cliquey” or “embittered”? I don’t think so. Even if you had offered to write “all forms of” Cricinfo pieces as penance to try and win said editor back round. Well would it?

    But seriously for a minute I thought I’d gone to another website by accident when I read that piece. Quality – if possibly wrong – opin-sledge-ed-rant. Well done!

    1. “Imagine, KC, if you had been sending naughty texts about the editor of Cricinfo […]”

      “…AND you were far and away the best writer on the staff, AND the reason why most people visited the site, AND the person therefore most able to justify the editor’s entire raison d’etre…”

      “[…] then would it be fair to describe said editor’s response as “cliquey” or “embittered”? ”


    2. Is there a Queen Wicket Twitter account yet? If not, why not? Come on, people. Pull your fingers out.

    3. Good analogy Bert, although you neglected to include the editor standing by idly while the chucks and queen wicket bully KC mercilessly.

  4. Strong stuff, KC – strong and undoubtedly correct. I am perfectly happy to accept that dressing room harmony is an important factor in a team’s success, but then so is having your best batsmen in the team. So any decisions can only boil down to this calculation. Is England more or less likely to win without KP than with him? By making the “brave” decision they have, they have set their stall out. I assume therefore that if we aren’t #1 again within 18 months they will all accept their wrongness and resign.

    To be clear, if the England players were to all hate each other and despise their time playing for England, and yet get to #1 in the world and win stuff, that is a better situation than the reverse. The England team does not exist to give people a nice time on the ride.

    It is also worth noting that another option exists, that of having KP in the team AND everyone being content. This is achieved through a thing called “leadership”. It is what genuine leaders do. What we have here is a transparent example of a failure of leadership.

    1. Blimey, Bert. I don’t remember seeing you in sucg a lather without Giles Clarke being the subject. I agree with much of what yu say, but “Blimey” all the same.

    2. It is just possible that KP may come back into the team and everyone will be content, through the current method of making him stand in the corner.

      I don’t think it will, but I am going to reserve final judgment for some time.

  5. My two cents on this topic are:

    1. If he has sent tactics-related(?) texts to the opposition, KP has overstepped the line and some punishment is undoubtedly due to him. Even if the texts weren’t actually harmful in themselves, it was such an obviously stupid thing to do that it deserves some kind of penalty. Dropping him for the Lord’s test would have served this purpose.

    2. I can understand why, in the heat of the moment, it might have seemed like a good idea to extend this punishment by not including him in the World T20 squad. But it’s draconian and self-defeating. If they hadn’t needed to submit the squad list so soon after the story broke, I suspect they would have made a wiser decision.

    3. If they are even considering dropping him from the test squad for this winter, the ECB/Strauss/Flower need to take a deep breath and get over themselves. As Bert says, it should be possible for a decent leadership to keep a team together regardless of personal likes and dislikes. It is clear that there have been faults on both sides, and S&F should acknowledge this.

    4. The KP/Strauss/Flower issues ought to be resolvable if everyone grows up a bit. The KP/ECB issues are more serious. If the ECB doesn’t do *something* about the IPL, the same situation will recur each year – not just with Pietersen, but with other English players. Eventually, either the ECB will be forced to change its schedules slightly (fewer rainy, cold test matches in May; more test matches in midsummer; fewer stupid cash-cow Eng v Aus ODIs), or English test cricket will lose some of its most talented players to the IPL.

    5. I really, really, really want KP back in the team because he is the best thing about test cricket since Warne retired.

  6. Just to put the proverbial cat even further into the crowd of proverbial pigeons, Pietersen has just scored 163 for Surrey.

  7. It may, of course, be that Strauss is taking his time mulling his own future, and not KP’s. KP will be back no doubt but Strauss may not. Perhaps that’s why he’s staying put, wherever he is. But while I like the article and the impassioned defences of KP that have appeared underneath I do think some of the vitriol in the main article against Strauss and Flower is slightly unwarranted – they, as well as KP, after all, plotted England’s rise to number one. And let’s face it, even KP couldn’t keep us there, he simply stopped the scoreline being 3-0. And Amla is a better player at the moment anyway, and I’d rather watch Steyn or Jimmy or Ajmal bowl than KP bat any day.

  8. Starting off with ‘Johannesburg-born Andrew Strauss’ was the icing on the cherry in this one.

  9. Is KC is offering an opinion or pretending to be KP’s spin doctor for his own amusement?

  10. I hate to spoil a good story with facts, but I am reliably informed that Strauss is back and indeed was at Lord’s yesterday.

    Some egos simply are beyond leadership, Bert, however good that leadership might be. The best leaders we’ve ever had (e.g. Brearley) suggest that they would not have been able to make a purse out of this particular sow’s ear.

    Great parody piece, KC. I think George Dobbell is the prime parody-ee, but don’t expect you to admit such.

    1. Yeah just re-read and saw the quote… along with KC’s silence it seems I got trolled dammit.
      Even still, the other points about leadership stand. As does the hypocrisy of a private SMS being unacceptable, yet publishing trash talk in a book for the world to see being ok. That’s before you even start talking about twits.
      If certain players were pulled into line the others will be easier to manage. It would also be more consistant with the idea of cricket being the ‘gentlemans game’.

    1. It’s inevitable, not least because one effect of dropping KP was to focus on where else the runs might come from – Cook, Trott, Bell’s always got a chance, Strau.. Oh.

      The daft thing is it was all completely avoidable, primarily by the England management remambering they don’t run some 1950s public school.

  11. In all the hullaballoo about cricket people almost forget about us, the spectators. An old man sitting alone, without shade, at a cricket ground, on third day of test match. A school child who has bunked his classes to watch a tepid draw. A businessman who steals a glance at cricinfo, to catch the latest updates in match being played out in Australia, even though he hasn’t slept at all in his overnight journey. An office employee who skips his work to read a cricket blog.
    We are nobody, a drop in the rain. Most of us don’t even know how does a ball reverse swings? Or rather what is reverse swing? But we sit through the matches to see our favorite players play. We Pray. We Worship these players. We make their records our own. We cry when they fail. We go through the misery. Feel dejected. Why?
    It’s easy to like something if you are good at it. I am sure Einstein loved physics. It’s easy for one to like something if you are being paid for it. Tort lawyers, I doubt, hate litigation. It’s easy to care about something if it gives you fame. Film stars, I assume, would care about film making. It’s easy to be lost in something that would make you feel good. A bibliophile would like to get lost in a good book.
    But most times cricket provides us none of the above. We are neither good at it, nor do we earn out of it, it doesn’t provide us the fame and certainly we don’t get happy endings always. But we genuinely LOVE the game. It lingers on in our memory, in our air cricket shots, in our dreams, in our backyards.

    So guys related to the game, the players, officials, umpires, selectors, broadcasters, organizers we request you to please keep this game alive. Keep it pure and beautiful as it is meant to be. We are neither as talented or able or lucky as you guys are but we love our game please do not take it away from us.

  12. Any previous instance of a captain dropping his best player for harmony in the dressing room?
    Did Imran ever drop Miandad for not getting along with him?

    1. But this completely misses the point.

      Strauss didn’t drop KP.

      KP weirded out in several ways, mostly in terms of returing and then unretiring from various forms of the game and accusing many of his team mates of bad mouthing him through Twitter. The KP matter does include (by the way, as it is alleged) bad mouthing the skipper and passing inside information to the opposition.

      These are not trivial matters, neither a public school style spat nor a disagreement between two players.

      KP is quite possibly in breach of contract and unquestionably has caused all manner of difficulties for the selectors and the team over the past few months. And KP has previous in this regard, both with England and his counties.

      Blaming KP’s erratic behaviour on Strauss might relieve a few feeble minds now that Strauss has retired, but (in the absence of KP having a personality transplant) chaos will follow in KP’s wake whosoever captains or manages the side.

    2. Blaming KP for Strauss’s retirement is already relieving a few feeble minds now, Head to The Guardian for a peep into these minds.

    3. Mike Selvey’s piece is well balanced IMHO. Rob “The Substitute Spin” Smyth far less so. But not entirely feeble either.

    4. You’re right to trace it back, Ged, but you stopped too soon. Try this reverse chronology:

      – Strauss resigns as captain
      – KP is suspended, but is also ostracised for no apparently good reason (at least not one that applies to grown ups)
      – KP does some unbelievably stupid things
      – The team management alienates KP
      – KP wants to pick and choose his formats

      But that’s just one thread of the story. You could take Strauss at face value and have this reverse chronology:

      – Strauss resigns as captain
      – Strauss realises that he would be dropped if he were any other player
      – Strauss fails to do any significant scoring for over three years

  13. I must commend the English press, though. Through a tempting few weeks, they have avoided the “Clutching at Strauss” haedline.

    1. There’ll be a “Strauss Waltzes off into the Sunset” headline somewhere in the next 24 hours, mark my words Last Strauss.

    2. “Deflator Strauss” – that doesn’t make any sense.
      “Blue Denouement”; too much?

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