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?