Home > Features >

On the ECB Titanic, Kevin Pietersen is only the tip of the iceberg

On the ECB Titanic, Kevin Pietersen is only the tip of the iceberg

The ECB is lucky this issue has arisen with Kevin Pietersen because it has allowed their own lack of foresight and chronic mismanagement to be obscured by the long shadow of The Ego’s past misdemeanours © Getty Images

It’s born of ignorance, but I’m pretty sceptical about the value of professional sports psychologists such as Jeremy Snape, formerly of England and South Africa’s backroom staff, although if he was the inspiration behind Graeme Smith’s lifetime habit-changing declaration on Monday then he deserves immense credit. I still associate him more, though, with his stint for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) a few years back, not least when being fined for failing to prevent Andrew Flintoff doing his soggiest Ben Ainslie impression during England’s disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean.

 

How England fans must desperately be wishing Snape was still alongside Andy Flower now, however, because even the most rudimentary observer of sport and humanity could tell you that geniuses are often vain, egotistical, self-absorbed and disruptive, requiring of attention and above all the need to be cosseted and feel appreciated. When other people make them feel this way, either by offering them cobras or koalas stuffed full of dollars and hero-worshipping them for their on field performances rather than their off field proclivities, they are likely to be skittish and have their heads turned instead of displaying unwavering patriotism. It’s at the very least a bit ironic that the world’s leading immigration service provider, the ECB, should condemn Kevin Pietersen, born in Natal, for acting in such a manner

 

Kevin Pietersen: In happier times

 

Above and beyond the dubious and inconsistent whims of Kevin Pietersen, it is the ECB’s failure to manage those whims and its contractual inflexibility with regard to the changing financial complexities of the game that has left all fans asking how on earth we are potentially no longer going to be able to watch one of the most exotic and destructive batsmen ever play international cricket. It has to be made clear to Pietersen immediately that the requirement for him to play T20s and ODIs both rather than either will be dropped in September when his contract is up for renewal. This is not just for the sake of Pietersen or fans thereof, but for the good of the entire England cricket team moving forwards. The ECB cannot hold back the tide of money and franchises, however distasteful the likes of Jonathan Agnew may find them, and, although Pietersen is a very special case – a phrase some of his team mates clearly often use in the pejorative and we should note he was the only major player absent from Alastair Cook’s wedding earlier this year – his particular requirements are not going to seem quite so unique in years to come.

 

The ECB is lucky this issue has arisen with Pietersen because it has allowed their own lack of foresight and chronic mismanagement to be obscured by the long shadow of The Ego’s past misdemeanours and present wholly unsurprising desire to pick and choose matches (admittedly a demand I find more understandable and acceptable in the shorter forms than for Tests). In two years, when the same scenario arises with other players likely to be attractive to T20 franchises but with a less problematic reputation, such as James Taylor, it won’t be so easy for Giles Clarke and Company to save face with the odd leak from supposedly confidential meetings with the individuals concerned.

 

So, for now, just lie back on a couch and think of England, and ask yourself if you really want the ECB to continue hemorrhaging the finest talents in English cricket largely for the sake of preserving the commercial value of ODI series featuring the likes of Steve Smith? 

 

(James Marsh is a TEFL teacher based in the Czech Republic, although his real occupation is alienating those close to him by wallowing on statsguru. He blogs on cricket at Pavilion Opinions and can be found on Twitter at @PavilionOpinion)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (12:30 IST)   at Bulawayo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 16, 2014  at Galle

South Africa won by 153 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

India’s wins in England — from 1971 to 2014

Ravindra Jadeja knighted by her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

India’s win over England in 2nd Test at Lord’s: Twitter reactions

Ishant Sharma pummels England into submission as India clinch Lord’s Test by 95 runs

Ishant Sharma registers name at Lord’s honours board, takes 6 wickets in 2nd Test against England

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe 2014 Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe vs Afghanistan 2014

Jonathan Trott scores century for Warwickshire against Sussex

BCCI’s plea to become national sports body to be looked into by Supreme Court

tsMS Dhoni takes 5th spot in Forbes Magazine’s valuable sportspersons list

PCB launches revamp of Pakistan’s domestic structure

Sri Lanka to look for new coaching staff

India tour of England 2014: Ishant Sharma’s feats at Lord’s

India tour of England 2014: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s feats at Lord’s

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014: Dale Steyn’s feats at Galle

India vs England 3rd Test at The Ageas bowl: A sneak peek into England squad

Mohammad Irfan hopes Pakistani players will play in IPL

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Bigg Boss 8 contestant list: Rashmi Desai, Tina Dutta and Karan Kundra to participate in Salman Khan’s show!

Ileana D’Cruz sparks engagement rumours!

Videocon launches ‘Double Benefit,Single Price’ plan in Punjab

9 reasons sprouts are good for your health

BCCI’s plea to become national sports body to be looked into by Supreme Court

Spice to bring Firefox, Android One phones before Diwali

Sex Tip #26 – What to do after sex?

India tour of England 2014: Ishant Sharma’s feats at Lord’s

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here