You know when there is trouble ahead. When an ECB press statement is delayed is a pretty decent indication that this one is a bit tricky. The last time one of these was delayed like this we got the gems of outside cricket and the moaning from the ECB that someone else was leaking. So we expected something interesting…
And they delivered with something so totally “lawyered up” that a new remake of LA Law was interested in it for a script.
I would like to start my stewardship of the ECB looking forward to next week’s Investec Test series against New Zealand and the Ashes later in the summer.
That’s very nice. I mean, you could say that if you’d been hiding in Paul Downton’s cupboard at Lord’s, but this takes wishful thinking a bit far.
But first there’s another point I want to address.
Ooooh. I wonder what that could be. If it’s what I’m thinking it might be, “want” might be a strong word.
Clearly, the question of whether Kevin Pietersen will play for England again has been a debate for media and cricket fans alike.
Er. Yes. Arguably you re-created the debate in a move welcomed by many. The odd concept that teams being picked on merit, good performance rewarded, clean slates and all that. I mean, we are debating whether these are good things, which seems odd to me, but it takes all sorts…
I understand why people feel it’s important. So I’ll tell you what I said to the First Class County Chairmen, at yesterday’s AGM, and our people across the ECB this morning, on my first full day as Chairman.
I understand why people might be a ickle bit cheesed off that our top run scorer was dumped without a reason given, and that for a year or so we’ve been chasing for an explanation as to why meritocracy takes second place to personal feelings, and despite what that two bob muppet Pringle says, we aren’t fairweather fans but passionate supporters of our team. That’s our team, not the ECB’s. So do tell me.
In the past few days my integrity has been called into question, something I can’t accept. Throughout my business career and my years at Yorkshire, integrity has been my watchword. It governs everything I do and is an important part of what I bring to the ECB.
You’ve not just joined the ECB, Graves. You were part of the gang who instigated this. So when you ease the position on his potential for selection, as you evidently did despite some less than convincing denials, we, and KP took note. So don’t try the “aww shucks, I’m new to this nonsense”. Now if you are bringing integrity into it, say what you said to KP on those phone calls. Admit you had them and say what you said. Then we won’t think of questioning your watchword.
So it saddens me that what was a private conversation with Kevin in March has been used to do just that.
What did you say? You said in private that there was a “clean slate” (you’ve not denied it) and now you are getting pissy because someone who might have relied upon it has used it to defend their position? Are these people for real? Don’t insult me with this faux naivety, Graves.
Back then, when we talked on the phone, Kevin asked if I thought his England career had ended in the right manner following the last Ashes series in Australia. I agreed that nobody particularly emerged with much credit from the whole episode, particularly given his achievements for England.
So, saddened as he was with private conversations being made public, he’s making some of it public. Note also that those who did not emerge with much credit, such as Flower, A and Cook, A are both still well entrenched and enjoy the full backing of the ECB. There’s not much credit going round, but they kept some.
Kevin felt he had a lot to offer and was interested in a dialogue with the ECB, sorting things out and working together. He would love to play for England again but he wanted to contribute, whether as a player or not.
Chairman of ECB indicating KP’s not a purely selfish pig. The zealots on the other side won’t be pleased, but this is all puffery. Did you say he had a clean slate, Colin? This stuff matters. It’s the key accusation against you old son, and you know it. So stop pretending.
I didn’t make any promises. There were no guarantees that if he chose to exit his IPL contract, play County cricket and score runs he would be selected for England. And I said he should make any decision on his future on that basis.
Deny an accusation that wasn’t made. Colin, this should not fool anyone with half a brain. He never sought guarantess for selection. He sought a clean slate. He sought an indication that he wasn’t wasting his time giving up a still lucrative IPL contract to play county cricket because he had a chance. Come on now. Stop letting the lawyers write this, you bluff, gruff, Yorkie.
I can see something has been misunderstood around the conversation and in the following debate – and perhaps how that happened.
You told him it was a clean slate. And it wasn’t. Ooooops. Someone cocked up. Probably you.
What I did stress was that when I took over as chairman I would back those people whose job it was to take decisions on team selection. I stand by that.
That’s very nice, but if you told them it was a clean slate, as leader of that organisation, they would have to listen or they would be out of jobs. Also, Andrew Strauss took the decision and he confirmed that he isn’t a selector, if we’re going to get all strictly legal on this. Also, you are his boss too. I don’t know, but I don’t reckon Giles Clarke gave a stuff about his underlings’ sensitivities, given he is supposedly one of the key drivers for KP’s exclusion and made it a key part, along with Downton (miss him) in the selection of a new Coach for England last year.
Ahead of a big, busy summer of cricket, a clear decision needed to be taken. Given the history and the book, the simple fact is that bridges have still not been rebuilt and trust needs to be restored.
Details, details. Still not there. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. What history are we talking about now and can you perhaps shed some light on it? The book was post-sacking so we can’t be using that as a reason for the original decision. You were there Colin, in post as Deputy Chairman, weren’t you? Were you dozing at the time? Were you on “Integrity Watch”? As for the trust, well, we’ve been down that road. Trust = Alastair Cook veto. Allegedly.
That takes time – as Andrew Strauss made clear this week.
The time it takes to lose an Ashes series and see KP sod off. Andrew Strauss is talking nonsense.
Kevin was told on Monday and I completely support the decision that was taken. He may not have liked what he heard but it allowed him to look at his opportunities.
A bit late for that. You had 355 reasons why your strategy has gone per-shaped. As for the last part of this particular sentence, he and his lawyers have to be taking the piss. He gave up a ton of money because of you. Don’t you dare say this allows him some freedom. This was a stitch up from the start. Whether you meant to lie to him is neither here nor there. You’ve not denied the key allegation, that KP took it from you that there was a clean slate, one made by Alec Stewart as well, so we’ll take that as truth. So don’t go acting as if you’ve done him a favour now by trashing what he thought he might have a chance, that’s all, a chance, at.
Despite everything, he can work with us to re-build the relationship and make a further contribution to English cricket. It was important he knew where he stood.
Hey, despite the fact we’ve led him up the garden path, leaked against him on many occasions, briefed against him, had the press slag him off, encouraged him to play county cricket and made runs, we can still trust him in the future. Jesus, do these people ever listen to themselves? Is anyone buying this drivel. KP’s no saint, I know that, but the last part of this statement is a kick in the teeth, He thought he knew where he stood in March. He acted on that. Did no-one think to tell him “no” then? When he gave up his IPL contract? You certainly don’t appear to have, Colin. That’s integrity if you are relying on your statements now.
Of course, I would like us to move forward and concentrate on the important matter of winning cricket matches. I don’t want to add any more or go deeper into private conversations.
Of course you would. Look over there. News for you mate. They tried that last year and won a test series as well. How did that work out? Of course you don’t want to go deeper into private conversations because you would be Donald Ducked if we did, and you know they will. I wish you luck if you stick to this line, Colin, because you will be shark-bait.
I want to look to the future. I’m excited by the England team that is evolving and I look forward to giving them my full support this week.
Rah-Rah. Another charlatan.
Look who pops up later in the comments to put an even-handed, I’m not an ECB stooge, spin on things. Well, lookie-here.