326 Not Out – Part 1

Not Wanted

For some context, and a piece that sums up my views on KP, try this.

Where on earth do you start on a day like this? Let’s set the scene a little. As some of you know, I’m on holiday (vacation out here) in a place called Cape May, New Jersey. It isn’t the Jersey of Springsteen, with the New York overspill or the refineries and factories. It isn’t the Jersey Shore of TV infamy, nor is it Atlantic City, where I’ve been today, but a quiet, sleepy seaside town, with one side on the Atlantic Ocean and the other on the Delaware Bay. I’m 200 yards from the sea. It’s lovely.

So you’ll understand that I wasn’t up with the lark this morning, and rather enjoying a lie-in. I awoke, at around 2pm I think, UK time to be greeted with a number of comments on the blog remarking that KP had made a century. “What a lovely start to the day” I thought, and then chuckled to myself that those haters would be tripping over themselves to diminish it. Also, taking the game situation into context, Surrey really needed those runs, and needed more. What did I do though? I tweeted

Lawrence Booth got back to me (he didn’t know how the day would end up)

I responded…

I calmed down a little, and had a little walk, and came back to see the Pietersen machine rolling along, allied to a tail that didn’t give it away. 150 was up…. and I was busy working out what he needed to make to get the average over 100 if he got out (188). When he passed that, the next target was 200, and so that was passed. By now the joy was let forth. I never believed he would get back to smashing any attack around for these sort of scores. A century or two would be ignored, because, well, anyone gets them. But a double is not easily ignored – as Sky Sports pundits and hosts kept saying “if KP churns out a double hundred or two, then what…” As I left the house with a spring in my step and a little joy in my heart, I got on my international sim phone and followed the score up the Garden State Parkway. 220, 240, 255 (past his best score), 270, 290 and then….300.

Now, I don’t care what standard you play, but 300 is nothing to be trifled with. It is not to be ignored. If this were a player who had shown no aptitude for test cricket, had tried and failed, or was a promising youngster, maybe there’s an excuse. That isn’t what we are talking about here. We are talking about a test cricketer of proven ability, who not that long ago was making very decent centuries (anyone forget his Old Trafford hundred less than two years ago?) and had answered his critics by coming back to first class county cricket, a format that he doesn’t particularly cherish, and he’s smashed it everywhere. 326 not out. Ignore that.

I was so happy, I should have popped into the Golden Nugget and put money on 24.

So, I’m wandering around the shops and left the international phone in the car. Treated myself to a couple of things, and then went back to the car. As we’re crossing Little Egg Harbour, I saw the TMS Tweet.

And I went ballistic. Absolutely fucking ballistic.

You may have seen my twitter outpourings, but if not, just go on there and look for @DmitriOld . The ECB had chosen this moment to announce that they were not picking KP for England again. Ever. This would not happen. Not in a blue moon. No chance. Cut off without a prayer. Brought hope forward by intimating he had a chance, and when he stuffed it back at them, they said “no, sorry”.

Make no mistake, for all the weasel words we’ve heard since, where there has been some suppsoed back-tracking, we’ll get a restatement of Andrew Strauss’s position tomorrow (the one we read about weeks ago, and why we so opposed his appointment now) which will be all about building teams for 2019 blah blah blah and that KP will be 39 by then. If you fall for that old pony, you’ll fall for anything. They are blocking his way, no matter what. There will always be a reason not to pick him. If he followed this 300+ up with another monster score in his next outing, it won’t matter to these idiots, for idiots are what they are that they would rule out a monster talent returning to monster form. It IS one innings, and it IS just part of the road back. But this lot want to block it for what? Personal reasons? If he’s the best batsman, in form, in the country, you play him. It really isn’t that complicated. Let me effing well repeat that. IT REALLY ISN’T THAT COMPLICATED.

This is the ECB in a nutshell. Cricket is meant to be exciting, it is meant to be fun to watch, it is meant to thrill as well as enthrall, to appreciate graft and genius in all its forms. It’s not a bloody game won by management consultants, self-help books on army drills and team-building nonsense. It’s won by talent, it’s won by attitude, it’s won by seizing the moment, not ticking some Belbin Analysis or a team leader assignment on a marines assault course. This team we have now can be as together as it likes, but it collapsed like wet cardboard at Headingley last summer after an abject display by its captain. It hooked its way to a loss after another abject bowling display at Lord’s v India, and despite a turnaround which has been praised as if we’d turned into the Invincibles, we went to the West Indies and collapsed in a heap in Barbados. They are so together, they collapse in a heap in synch. I’m not saying KP makes you immune to that, but it also doesn’t mean that these batsmen are set in stone, no matter how much they say they are. If I could have a pound for all the times someone says to me “who would you drop?” then it would have paid for my shopping today. That’s not the way to look at it. It is “who are the best batsmen in the country?” If the answer is KP, then Ian Bell, Gary Ballance or Joe Root will just have to get over it.

Which is all I want. Pick our best team. Pick our best players.

Watching some of the jealous muppets on Twitter is sickening. Honestly, they act like the Katie Hopkins of the sporting world. Muppet Pringle, a man who got the sack for not reading the runes it appears, had this absolute gem, which in its brevity sums up why English team sports are absolutely Donald Ducked.

Principles over PR? What is he on about? Principles…. oh yes, they’ve worked so far. We backed a captain who took two years to make a ton, and has little or no tactical acumen over and above chuck it to Anderson and Broad and hope it works. We’ve had principles that Cook is sacrosanct in the test arena, and for a while in the ODI arena, and will work to the detriment of English cricket and hamper preparation for major events by backing him until it’s too late. Yeah, principles. Teams with principles are usually rigid, inflexible, and bound to them. Principles means authority rules, so shut the hell up.

Meanwhile, making 326 not out in a county game, I suppose, is PR. Jesus wept. Oh, and there’s a dig about tweeters too. Genius.

But it seems that our ECB would rather follow this “play the game chaps” approach, rather than countenance that they might have made an error. In part 2, which I’ll write later, I’ll go on to all that. And the unprecedented reaction I saw on Twitter after that TMS tweet. This is a fire that just will not go out. The ECB, instead of dampening it down, seem to want to put petrol on it.

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7 thoughts on “326 Not Out – Part 1

  1. Clivejw May 12, 2015 / 12:44 am

    Top writing, one of your best. I hate to say it, because I’d rather things didn’t happen to make you angry, but you are often at your best when riled.

    Only the bloody ECB could contrive to spoil such a great innings that had genuine cricket lovers whooping with joy. Even my 78-year-old mum went running into the garden to tell my 83-year-old dad when I told her the news on the phone. I had to repeat it about three times, she was so incredulous. “How many? How many? Out of — how many?!?!”

    I think even some who have been anti-Pietersen before might come over to our side now, though some never will.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pontiac May 12, 2015 / 2:52 am

    Four spots:

    This isn’t the end, but neither is it the beginning.

    The English cricket establishment does not tolerate diversity of thought, and maintains certain articles of faith even when they are contradicted by fact. They are not there to win games and they are not there to entertain the spectator.

    Who with any choice in the matter would want to work for such people?

    I’ll be looking forward to what Dobell & Kimber have to say about all this.

    Like

  3. angst May 12, 2015 / 3:28 am

    Hi Dmitri,

    It’s been a while.

    You are correct as always. I am changing my allegiance to the West Indies – at least they keep their best batsman in the side – and he is 40… I think all England fans should boycott the team – not that the ECB will listen.

    Only the English could go from being world no. 1 to a laughing stock in such a short time. At least when it happened to the rugby team in 2003, it was because of retirements not because of a fatal combination of the arrogance and stupidity found in these mediocre players (supported by apparatchik hacks) whose sole prowess is in brown-nosing their their way into management all the time lacking the character and grey matter for the job.

    The World Cup was as big a sporting shambles as you could ever see. I was in Australia for part of the tournament and it is the first time I have ever seen genuine pity in the faces of Australians – we were so bad that they couldn’t even take the piss properly – it was just too easy.

    As for Pringle, his is a sad case of overindulgence in rich food and claret – a bit like when he was the “all-rounder” who represented England 30 times and averaged 15 with the bat and 36 with the ball (if only those figures were reversed…). Grudgingly, I am prepared to accept that he played pretty well in the ’92 World Cup but that is about it. His journalistic efforts mirror those he left on-field and leave something to be desired, as the euphemism goes.

    It is difficult to knock Strauss’s playing career – he oversaw a very successful period in English cricket (at test level which is all that counts really) that was down to a variety of factors, not least of which was KP. But, given that he had already had to apologise for dropping the “C bomb” when he “did a Ron Atkinson”, the writing for KP was proverbially on the wall with his appointment and I presume that his gang initiation was to do the hatchet-number and take the flak.

    I don’t know him personally, of course, but I would not be surprised if KP did turn out to be a bit of a **** and I am sure that his current persona is not the same as it was a couple of years ago. But what I do know is that he is the best batsman we have and should be in the team. Harmonious dressing room, my ****; one way to build harmony is to win matches – and this would start making the paying punters happy too. I would have thought that this was a no-brainer but obviously I am too thick and Delboy from The Telegraph is a genius.

    I cannot, hand on heart, say that I want us to get thrashed in the Ashes but ,if we do and it leads to a clear-out at the top, then it can only be a good thing.

    Yours as ever,

    angst

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus May 12, 2015 / 3:35 am

      Really great to hear from you. If I do ever get that elusive trip to Hong Kong, we must meet for a beverage (assuming you are still there).

      Like

      • angst May 12, 2015 / 5:55 am

        I have been following but it looked like you had your hands full.

        You are always welcome here – I will be in London at the end of June for a week – don’t know if we could get a game in somewhere or at least have a beer – presumably you can see my email address from my entries on the blogs

        Like

  4. Arron Wright May 12, 2015 / 5:19 am

    PR again? God they have not a clue. The only relevance of PR is that they are Downton’s mordantly ironic initials.

    We are dealing with people who genuinely think Flower’s contribution to English cricket is greater than Pietersen’s, and even that the latter perpetrated greater crimes than Giles Clarke. I have no time for them. Zero.

    Like

  5. Arron Wright May 12, 2015 / 6:56 am

    And as for principles: the man still thinks Gooch is a hero and protested when Booth attacked the ECB over the ICC stitch-up in his Wisden editorial last year.

    Go away. You now need 10 wins out of 14 by the way.

    Like

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