Oliver Holt has spoken. The Lord High Priest of Sports Journalism has given his view, and you, you vile proles, are not worthy. You have made him leave the glory of European football, the wonder of Masters Golf, the joy of worthwhile world sporting events, to make him comment on cricket before an Ashes series. And he’s told you to pipe down.
Here endeth the blog. Holt has put me in my place.
So, yes, it is easy to pick holes in Strauss’s decision on Pietersen. It is easy to say blithely that we should always pick our best players irrespective of whatever they may have done or the way they are regarded by team-mates.
It is easy to ridicule Strauss, but the hard fact is that mocking him is a simplistic way out of a complex, regrettable situation. The knee-jerk reaction may be to say he got it horribly wrong. Cold analysis suggests he probably got it right.
English cricket is in a mess at the moment. Everyone can see that. But it is entirely possible that if Strauss had brought Pietersen back, it would be in an even bigger mess.
Stories circulated last week that Alastair Cook would have quit as England captain if Pietersen had been recalled. Strauss hinted in a briefing with Sunday newspapers at Lord’s that others would have considered their futures, too. If KP came back, the England cricket team would have split in two.
Quite why anybody is surprised by that is a mystery. It is not long ago that KP accused Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson of presiding over a bullying culture in the England team. Bullying is an emotive subject. It’s not something you level at someone lightly. ‘It’s an awful word to use,’ Broad told me in Melbourne when we discussed the subject during the World Cup. Anderson and Broad have not simply forgotten it.
I was blind, but now I see. Once Holt pronounces, that is it. The end of the matter. The Supreme Court of sport opinion has now spoken.
Anyone fancy a revolt?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPzDTfIb0DU It’s so easy, easy like sunday mourning… Holt, another ECB/Waitrose/Sky DOLT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR_ONjZD9A0 It’s so easy (to ridicule our beloved Director (comma)
Clearly, the only two options on the table were
1) Immediate recall
2) Banning him from the team (and then claiming it’s not a ban)
I’m sorry but I’ll have to correct you on option 1. According to Strauss, it wasn’t merely imediate recall, but also walking into the change room and demanding that they score 5 an over and then bowl the opposition out for 10. That’s what “everyone” wants from the English cricket team.
And option 2 is not only banning him from the team but also demanding any potential coach ban him too.
And you left out option 3, which is flapping your arms and flying up to the moon and forgetting about cricket and playing rugby there instead.
And option 4 which is proclaiming that according to New Age quantum physics the opposition doesn’t exist until you perceive them, so don’t perceive them.
Meanwhile the analyst is on one again. Retweeting that a 17 year old should not be questioning Brian Moore because of his vast experience. On that basis I trust that he will accept KP telling him his many opinions on The England team don’t have any weight as he never played test cricket
“Quite why anybody is surprised by that is a mystery. It is not long ago that KP accused Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson of presiding over a bullying culture in the England team.”
No substantial denials have been made by the bowlers involved. Therefore, we must assume it is not true? No substantial denials have been made that Cook is an a***hole. Therefore he must be an a***hole? That is Holt’s logic for you.
“Bullying is an emotive subject. It’s not something you level at someone lightly. ‘It’s an awful word to use,’ Broad told me in Melbourne when we discussed the subject during the World Cup.”
Aww, boohoo. Bullying is an awful word, but fat prick, c**t, and such are friendly greetings? I suppose it makes sense. “Hey c**t, did your mommy make you drop the bloody catch”, is just friendly banter. Yeah, I suppose you’re right Oliver.
But that begs the question: how are ‘Big Cheese’ or ‘Ned Flanders’ are more risible terms to refer to people?
“Anderson and Broad have not simply forgotten it.”
That is quite impressive. Usually bullies are far less aware of the damage they have inflicted upon their targets, than the unfortunate souls who have to bear the brunt of their efforts.
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Just about everyone who competed against England has acknowledged the bullying culture. Even chinless Aggers came close to acknowledging it. Risible stuff. What was Holt’s position on JT out of interest?
in January this year, Holt wrote that Ched Evans deserved another chance “like anyone else”
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Oh how loverly.
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Bloody joke isn’t it
Who is this Holt person of whom you speak LCL? Does he have any credibility, any experience or pedigree upon which to base his pronouncements? One must assume he is a cricket expert and obviously very intelligent, to write pieces of such wondrous insight; lessons from Ed Smith maybe…….
That piece is about as balanced as a one legged badger trying to ride a unicycle……..complete and utter rubbish. I lament the paucity of good investigative journalists around at the moment, and commenting on cricket, it is a travesty.
My take on Holt, who I have never particularly cared for as a journo.
He was the chief beneficiary of what I call the Hold the Back Page generation of journalists. They used to be anonymous, the only clue being their photo aside any article they wrote in a newspaper. Then Sky brought in their journalist programme on Sunday mornings and you could put a face and a mark of batshit insanity to the people in front of you. These guys accuse KP of having an ego? Watch Patrick Barclay, for one, on any of these shows.
Holt went from football writer, with a mad crush on Manchester United, and got the general sports gig.
Writing is a matter of taste. He’s not my cup of tea and never has been. That he swans in on a cricket debate that he’s hardly had any input for a year, tells the proles what’s what, and won’t be seen again until something really big is in the offing is just peachy. That it mirrors the ECB line is no coincidence.
Answer me this, Olly. If Ronaldo, with his hissy fits, his prima donna attitude, his me-me-me approach to the game, became available to Man Utd, would you advise them not to buy him?
Like the Man U comparison. If Fergie, a manager who has actually won a few things, was told by his captain “you sign that Wayne Pietersen and I’m going leave the club” I think we can guess what the response would be.
I’ve genuinely never heard of Holt. The excerpts I’ve read here require no knowledge of cricket at all
The excerpts here appear to be money for very old rope.
“Cold analysis” is really getting my goat (like the claim that Strauss’ action was one of pragmatism that I’ve seen made a couple of times).
The ECB and their media chums are convinced the opposition is all hot-blooded emotionalism. It isn’t rational. It isn’t thought out. It hasn’t read enough Ed Smith.
They can’t acknowledge such things about themselves (like vitriol and trust also only flow one way). This is the most hot-blooded and ideologically-driven action by a sports’ governing body I can think of. Whatever it is, coldly analytical it ain’t.
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We need to be pragmatic…the ECB driven media storm is now fully under way..there are little snippets popping up out of the woodwork every where you look. Like most things ECB there’ll be a monumental bollocks up once they get too cocky, then that cold plate of revenge may be ours to enjoy?
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Blame the victim of bullying? Seriously?
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Former players need to speak out. It’s the only thing that will put a stop to this nonsense.
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I agree PaulE. On the basis that a few recent players ain’t gonna get picked again, I’d like to hear their POVs. Really looking forward to Jonathan Trott’s autobiog should he do one.
And I (we here) have been waiting…Dobell wanted to do it and I think we all thought it was Trott who was going to talk…time, ladies and gents, only time will cast a light over this ridiculous shenanigans.
Always thought Holt was a sanctimonious tool of the worst order when it came to pretty much any article that he wrote with regard to football. The leopard not only has not changes its spots but appears to be out of its depth when it comes to talking cricket.
Sanctimonious. That about sums it up. I’ll add patronising to that mix.
Before we chose a permanent coach, we should have had more rigorous discussion and careful thought about what this new coach’s role will be, and in what sort of a set-up.
Mike Brearly 2007
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Wow! Thanks for posting the link. Back in 2007 Brearley accurately predicts the future of English International cricket to the present day!
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I’m sort of more staggered at archaeological evidence that Zeph and myself and others have been commenting since 2007. (Although I know we were all around before then…)
Yes I noticed! Respect!
It was the 06/07 whitewash that started me off. I know very few people who are into cricket and I had to have somewhere to vent. And lo! I found the Guardian cricket threads.
In my own defence I must also say that since then I’ve taken at least a year out for work reasons. But yes, our long service is either impressive or deeply sad.
And very amusing to note the comments about a captain who’s hanging on despite his terrible form, but there’s no alternative……
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It’s all just a case of history repeating?
Listen, if England want to sit back and hope things might happen, then don’t pick him. But if they want to take on Australia, realising that’s the only way you’re ever going to beat them, they’ve got to pick KP. They must know that. They’re not stupid – surely?”
Clive Rice – July 2005
PS – some great annecdotes from his days in Maritzburg…
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That article collates a few of the most popular arguments among the yellow press and 10% of the English public (and about 0.5% of the rest of the cricketing world). So here is my take on it.
“Social media was ablaze with his assertion that ‘massive trust issues’ were an insurmountable obstacle to the rehabilitation of Kevin Pietersen in the England Test team this summer”
Translation: About 90% of the fans and paying customers were furious.
“Strauss looked a little haunted. He was on the defensive. The questions coming at him were flecked with disbelief and hostility.”
Translation: Strauss already suspected that the public would not share his personal horror at having been called a doos 6 years ago, and at still not having found a psychotherapist to overcome his “massive trust” issues.
“So, yes, it is easy to pick holes in Strauss’s decision on Pietersen.”
— So easy in fact that at an “idiotic Yorkshireman” (Selvey/Cook) already did so, when he revoked the decision that Downton made last year, by inviting KP back to play county cricket.
“It is easy to say blithely that we should always pick our best players irrespective of whatever they may have done or the way they are regarded by team-mates.”
— Well that would be easy to say, in terms of psychomotor skills, but no one, absolutely no one at all is saying it. Repeatedly turning up drunk, physical violence, racism or betrayal of confidences will get you kicked out. Pietersen did none of these. Text-gate could have been a valid pretext for sacking, but it was fully apologised for and cleared up.
“It is easy to ridicule Strauss…”
— It always has been, but the reason we do it is because he’s in a position of power which he can use to settle old scores with current players, and he has already on his first day in the job done so. Ridicule is the only tool available now that he has been given a position of power.
“…….but the hard fact is that mocking him is a simplistic way out of a complex, regrettable situation.”
— Nope, it’s the only option left to true fans who want the best for their national team and the sport itself. Anyone who knows a bit about the game will know it’s an entirely reasonable position to take that all players, including KP, should be given a fair chance at selection. Or if you want to argue that Ian Chappell, Sanga, Dravid, and Warne and a host of others don’t know anything about the game, please go ahead. We’re all ears.
“The knee-jerk reaction may be to say he got it horribly wrong.”
— Nope, too late. Any knee jerk reaction would have come 12 months ago when Downton got it horribly wrong. Now it’s just shock, horror, outrage and the kind of bitter ridicule that comes with disenfranchisement (or with Ashes winning if you’re Australian).
“Cold analysis suggests he probably got it right.”
— Cold analysis is what you get from people outside the system. Go and listen to them. They are alternately pissing themselves laughing (thought the joke is wearing a bit thin by now) and fuming.
“English cricket is in a mess at the moment.”
— And why the fuck, pray tell, would that be? Could it be that you have sacked your best player, twice, and kept a captain in place who is utterly incompetent and a burden on the team? Warne described Headingly Day 4 v SL as “the worst captaincy I’ve ever seen”. Do you think Warne doesn’t understand cricket?
“Everyone can see that. But it is entirely possible that if Strauss had brought Pietersen back, it would be in an even bigger mess.”
— It is in a mess purely because you guys sacked KP and backed Cook. You also got rid of Compton because of his “character” rather than his batting, same idea no doubt with Monty, Carberry and a host of others. Root was dropped in Aust because of his “attitude” too. You might not miss all those players but it has an effect on the ones who you do want. Your whole system is fucked- backwards and forwards, from top to bottom- because anyone who is honest or prefers sport to management-speak is marginalised. You’re already missing a highly professional, utterly dedicated player who is your highest run scorer ever. If your system can’t deal with him, it’s your system’s fault.
“Stories circulated last week that Alastair Cook would have quit as England captain if Pietersen had been recalled. Strauss hinted in a briefing with Sunday newspapers at Lord’s that others would have considered their futures, too.”
Who then? You could do without Cook more easily than without KP. In fact Cook should have been dropped ages ago to work on his technique. As captain he’s a joke. Anderson? He’d be missed, but not as much as KP and not so much if other bowlers hadn’t already been kneecapped by your coaches. And do you think Anderson would really have gone had Strauss called his bluff? If so, you don’t want such weak assholes in your team anyway.
And who else would have gone? Well???????????
And what kind of “team culture” holds the management and coaches to ransom like that? It’s mutiny. Either resign, call their bluff or sack them. Or if you’re Strauss or Graves, give in meekly.
“Quite why anybody is surprised by that is a mystery. It is not long ago that KP accused Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson of presiding over a bullying culture in the England team. Bullying is an emotive subject. It’s not something you level at someone lightly.”
— Well how come I knew it was going on already in Moores’ first gig? I saw Sidebottom screaming red faced at Monty, and the cowed look on Monty’s face like I hadn’t seen on anyone since I was in high school. Ponting said he’d seen it. You’re a fucking journalist and you didn’t know about it? You’re lying.
” ‘It’s an awful word to use,’ Broad told me in Melbourne when we discussed the subject during the World Cup. Anderson and Broad have not simply forgotten it.”
Well so much for “moving on” then. Broad coped well, I thought, with the stupid shit the Aussie crowds were (needlessly) giving him last year. But KP telling him honestly what disturbed him about his behaviour was too much for him? Fucking bullshit.
“Pietersen’s book was entertaining and candid but it was the kind of book you write at the end of your career when you….”
— ..have been fucking sacked for looking out a fucking window.
“….don’t mind burning every bridge you have ever walked across. It was not the kind of tome you write if you are seeking reassimilation into a team of players you are slagging off.”
— Well he didn’t burn “every bridge he’d ever walked across” because Colin Graves invited him back. Don’t you read the papers you fucking dickhead?
“KP has history with Strauss, too, of course.”
— Yes, he has text-gate, where he called Strauss a doos (idiot) and he apologised and it was forgiven. Move on. It’s finished. As horrible as that must have been for the press reporting on it, and the public, it’s over now. The unbearable trauma is finished…. That’s right, a deep breath.,…. and another … deep breath…. you are safe here……
And of course Strauss has history with KP too — he called him a c—, before an international audience. He apologised and KP accepted the apology and HASN’T FUCKING MENTIONED IT SINCE. Unlike text-gate which happened 6 fucking years but we still hear about every fucking day.
“He has a history of falling out with the England management.”
— The same England management that got sucked into a Ponzi scheme and wanted to turn T20 cricket into winner-takes-all blood sport, playing a privately-(non-)owned team using the 3 Lions shirt to give it legitimacy. Pride in the 3 Lions!!! — Woulda been great if their business partner hadn’t wound up in jail for the rest of his life. But, yeh, point granted — KP fell out with those guys a few times.
“He has become injury prone.”
— Unlike Broad who hobbles about with a moonboot for a few hours when he gets a bruise, or Broad, who suffers migraines each time he stays out till 7am drinking with Flintoff and Prior, or Prior who………… Or Swann…….. Or Trott who is alternately mentally ill or burned out depending on which particular stupid and dishonest agenda needs to be served that day.
“Against all that, yes, he is brilliant and he is box office but the point is this: let’s not pretend that when Strauss came to weigh his options, he faced an easy choice.”
–The choice was: call Cook’s bluff and perhaps need to find another opening bat (of whom you guys have already tried out, what, 7 or something?)…. Or sack KP again and face this shit storm from 90% of the public. Even the opposition is saying “For god’s sake stop being so stupid.”
There is more, but I’ve had enough…. Sorry if I’ve been blithering.
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You are an Australian. Therefore you have no genuine feelings of anger or bewilderment and are just winding us up. Also, your captain hijacked the World Cup final by announcing his retirement from ODIs before the game, and this was an act so selfish it negates everything he said and did after the death of Philip Hughes. It must do, because I’m still banging on about it. Perhaps I’m upset that the gossip I was spreading before the World Cup about the team hating Clarke turned out to be bollocks, and even if it were true it did not affect performance. Gosh, there might even be a lesson for us snotty English bastards there…
© Mike Selvey, 2015.
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Great ranting there, dvyk, really excellent. We should sing to you like they did to Shane Warne, ‘Wish you were English”,
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Thanks, Zeph! I’ve been reading your comments since 2006 when I started reading the Gu. Would never have thought then that I’d be blabbing hysterically in favour of KP, but the ECB has managed to make me do it!
FLICKING brilliant! It would be hillarious, if it wasn’t so bloody true..,
Awesome, DVYK. Even if I didn’t agree, that was a meaty response.
A couple of points I’m not sure about (Root was dropped on form, not attitude) but pretty much hitting the spot when it comes to attitude and tone.
Holt just swanned in on this, took a little look, and pissed right off with another of his appalling tomes. This isn’t a new thing with me (my good friends will know exactly what I thought of Holt, years ago) with this author. Supercilious is another word that comes to mind.
I thought I’d heard a rumour that Root was dropped for non-compliance in training, but I trust your better knowledge, and strike one “plus” mark out of Root’s ledger.
“Anyone fancy a revolt?”
I’ve been revolting for years
just heard Broad’s lame interview with SkySports – he would pass the Work Capability Assessment with flying colours – he’s a liar and a cheat and …. he’s got away with it again …. if Gillespie was coach would Strauss prevent him from sending Broad home?????
The ECB anti bullshit shields have been turned up to maximum in the last 48 hours. The establishment is closing ranks.. As it always does. Strauss’s appointment was part of the con. Graves bullshit about how he never promised anything was all for show. From the moment he chose Strauss you knew the fix was in. They led KP up the garden path. They can dress it up all the like. It seems part of the bullying culture they so deny is to fuck him over even after he’s gone. NICE! Oh, and I bet you there is great amusement that he has lost £250,000 quid. Anyone want to take bets on which of the vermin will be the first to break cover and laugh in public at his loss?
I have been thinking about this whole sorry mess over the last 48 hours, and I can’t help going back to where it all started. KPs sacking as captain, and the replacement of Peter Moores. I now firmly believe they set KP up. They wanted Moores out, they made KP the scapegoat. It was textbook. First invite him in and ask him for his opinion on Moores. Then leak it to the press, and then sack the pair of them. Asking for KPs views and then leaking them to the moral midgets in the media has served them well. No wonder the midgets all hang on the ECBs word. It was the first, but not the last of the garden paths KP would be lead up.
KP and Moores were replaced by Strauss and Flower. And KPs fate was sealed. Have you ever noticed how goody two shoes types like Strauss always seem to be not quite as innocent as they like to claim. That ship sailed when Strauss let his guard down and called KP a c** many years later. We always thought Flowers resignation after the Ashes (when he pretended to take responsibility for the cluster fuck of a 5-0 defeat to an average Aussie team) was strange. But then he rocked up 3 months later back at ECB towers with the dream job. Nice salary, little travel and his ability to micro manage from inside the beast. Who decided bringing back Moores was the right move?
So now the 3 disciples of the Management guru books ( An idiots guide to running a cricket team) are in total charge, I bet Captain Doofus is delighted. But he should beware. He now has a couple of Machiavellian types behind him. If they as much as feel threatened they will plunge the dagger into his back and smile while they do it.
I’m with ya, brother. Have no fear, it’ll turn to custard for all of ’em before 2015’s out.
Anyone with a bat and a helmet will be in line for an England call-up by the end of the year. This level of madness ain’t sustainable.
I am very intrigued to know what KP will do next. And I hope he realises he is supported.
MM, I suspect he is talking to his lawyers. After being sold a plate full of shite.
Not sure it’s a good idea mind. They cost a lot more than the £250 grand he has lost. And it’s always dodgy taking on the establishment in the courts.
“Anyone want to take bets on which of the vermin will be the first to break cover and laugh in public at his loss?”
My money’s on Selvey.
I’ve long suspected that they gave KP the captaincy merely to set him up for a knock down. Even I knew Vaughan was going to quit, but they pretended it took them by surprise and they waited ten days (as I recall it) before passing over the obvious candidate (Strauss) and giving it to KP, and then pretending they didn’t know he didn’t like Moores. Etc.
” But Lord MacLaurin, ECB chairman between 1997 and 2002, believes Strauss and the ECB have done the right thing by ruling out a reconciliation in the near future.
He said: “If I was a selector and I was Andrew Strauss I wouldn’t touch Kevin Pietersen with a bargepole.
“He’s a mercenary cricketer now and he goes off and plays in the IPL and he does all those things.
“Quite frankly, if you look at his recent Test record it’s not all to be shouting about. You read the papers and think he gets a hundred every time he goes in.
“He gets 300 against Leicestershire which isn’t the greatest county.” ”
Remind me again how successful the England team were under this prick?
Lord Mac was from memory very much the driving force behind the decision to allow Sky to tender for the TV coverage. Test cricket was de-listed from protected coverage around the same time, Channel 4 took over and then Sky moved in
I f-ing hate them and I hope they lose everything this summer.
By an innings and inside three days, each Test.
Me too. At least they haven’t killed our interest in the game!
I have a serious suggestion to make: Lets raise the cash to put on an England Rebels vs, say, Pakistan at, say, Arundel. Loads of us spend £100 a summer on test cricket, so that’s a start towards the shit load we need. We get Pietersen to captain, and use him to raise money from rich folk, like Piers Morgan – I’m serious. We find a sponsor, red bull, for example. We also use Morgan to organise a broadcast. Invite a team of should have beens:
Other options include: Onions, Patel, Gayle, Brooks, Pattingson.
We then invite over Pakistan (they are good, but don’t earn well for international cricketers). Hopefully, we can sell enough tickets, attract enough sponsorship, sell concessions to not lose too much. It would be one in the eye for the ECB.
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I that team would beat the ECB/Fauntleroy XI
I would buy a ticket …..and I can’t even get there !
That’s a good team.
I would love to see them as England Rebels and would contribute, but I think most of those players wouldn’t dare, they still have too much to lose. Even at county level I’m sure you still can’t afford to make the wrong noises.
I think you’d have to say they’re playing for some charity or other. Maybe then they could play against Alastair Cook’s England (TM), whom they would beat…..
This kind of thinking is why I have definitely got my ears perked for any linkup with this whole Essel Group rebel T20 and Test anti-ICC setup.
Things get to a certain point, y’know… I think there are a lot of 34-ish players in England who are good, who never will be selected for the international team, and who would net benefit financially (even if they never played an ICC event ever again) for a quarter million, a half million, etc. E.g. the Panesars, Carberrys, etc.
So this handling of Cook, KP, and the rest of it, there is some tail risk there.
By the way, Oliver Holt is the son of the actress that plays Emily Bishop In Coronation Street. I kid you not.
Dmitri is right. Sky gave this group of what I call “Alex Fergusons giggling Eunuchs” a platform to regurgitate Fergusons attacks on referees and opponents. Instead of doing their frigging jobs they all turned up to Ferguson press conferences and giggled like school girls. Instead of holding Ferguson to account they went on Sky sports to laugh and joke about it.
Ferguson had to do little with his so called “mind games” when he had surfs like Holt to do his dirty work for him. Now that heir hero has retired many of them moved up the chain of shame to write about all sports. Most of which they know fuck all about.
THE seal of approval…
No surprise there then Dmitri. A journalistic fraud in Newman bigging up the next generation of The Mails very own wolf cubs.
Maybe it’s just my strange View of the world but how do you work at the Mirror and then at the mail? They obviously believe in nothing, and have little or no integrity.
Saw the other day that Nash loved the works of Henry Winter.
I love Henry Winter. In the same way as I love a bout of gout.
Why mention his mother?
Fair point, his mother has nothing to do with the price of fish.
Although if KP was the son of a South African soap star I m sure it would cause much merriment to the moral midgets in the English media.
Dmitri, Henry Winter. Isnt he named after a Shakespeare play?
Many years ago Henry Winter would sit in the Sky studios and tell us that England were going to do well in the up coming World Cup. An old man, and regarded as a silly old fool called Jimmy Hill would shake his head, rub his long chin and say “no, we haven’t got the players. ”
A Winters tale would shout him down with youthful mockery. ” of course we have the players.”
2 months later they would regroup, with England having failed again, and everyone would gloss over Winters over optimistic predictions.
Look over there nothing to see hear.
Henry Winter of discontent Perhaps? Foreword by sunny Jim Callaghan?
that should be Henry, Winter by the way
As I said in another comment on another post, Holt’s article doesn’t make sense. He says bringing back KP would tear the team in two. Then says bringing him back would be the easy option.
Continuing the ban on selection (and yes it is a ban, despite what Strauss said) was the easy option. Nothing changes, no-one needs to change.
Pringle was apparently on R5 this afternoon – anyone happen to catch his words of wisdom?
Also Simon Wilde after being one of the few reasonably balanced voices about Pietersen seems to have flipped. Nash is delighted and has a lengthy quote on her Twitter page (sample: “100 000 words of excrement” description of the book).