Rehabilitation? No Chance… KP the Book, KP the Movie


I’ve just finished KP on Cricket, and watched Being Kevin Pietersen (should I sue?) as England’s most polarising cricketer undertakes his next steps in visual and print media. The programme and the book, taken in isolation, are the usual media image portrayals which leave you annoyed at their lack of bite. Of course, though, neither of these are in isolation. Pietersen is not about to rehabilitate himself with anyone, and judging by these two pieces of work, isn’t trying that hard with those who he has no time for, and who have no time for him.

Let’s take the book first. Unlike the visceral KP – the Autobiography, this book took days to finish reading. I really hate bad errors in books, and there is one on Page 2 – Francois Pienaar is named as Francois Pineda, and that gets you started thinking this is a lazy book. It actually isn’t, but I tell you what else it isn’t…. It isn’t what John Crace said, and what the Private Eye review said. Pietersen was exhorted, last year, to include more about the cricket than the arguments. Oh, if there wasn’t one press person expending crocodile tears saying “what saddened me was Kevin not talking about those great innings” there were dozens. So Pietersen does, and the press people by and large ignore it (other than to slag it off as an extension of his out of control ego).

I said in a comment to BigKev that it is a rather dull book, but I don’t mean that as being a book you should not read. When you’ve written a book like the autobiography there is nothing to compare to it. I’ve said about that book on a number of occasions, we mock the sportsman’s autobiography (while they are playing) for being dull and boring (I’m re-reading some of Alastair Cook’s initial autobiography at the momen), but when someone tells it as he sees it, people are shocked. Appalled.

In some places this book is all over the shop, and then in others it brings some interesting insight. I thought it quite re-affirming that the innings of his that I thought was the best (his 151 in Sri Lanka) was the one he did too. The one the English public refer to a lot, his 149 at Headingley, isn’t in the top five. He puts Glen McGrath in his World XI yet whenever he’s interviewed on him (most memorably in the Radio Five Live one with Andrew Flintoff in 2013) KP says McGrath never caused him many issues.

It’s not a book to build bridges. While he is praiseworthy of Swann the bowler, of Prior’s attitude to batting etc. he’s not giving Flower any praise, he’s not giving Moores any praise, and there’s no hint on contrition for the previous words. People will say his inclusion of Jimmy Anderson in his world XI, and his constant references to him as a genius, are just ingratiating. He’s generally nice about Cook, but not his captaincy, not even during this last summer. He clearly believes Cook is not a “flat wicket captain”.

There’s calls for franchise cricket in England, a somewhat silly request for 5 tests at home and 5 tests away each year (and then saying England, India and Australia play each other too much), and throughout there is constant reference to practice, practice, practice. I know of no-one who complains about Pietersen’s work ethic. The impression you get from the media is of a dilettante. A shirker. A natural talent. Pietersne isn’t a natural. He’s worked hard at his batting. He can over-think. He can go off the boil.

You know I’m a fan, and I make no apology for it. Pietersen writes the book the media “wanted” him to (did they hell, Pietersen’s thoughts sell papers, ads) and it sells much less well, gets much less attention and what it does get, is pretty negative. That’s why David Hopps’s excellent review in ESPN Cricinfo is so welcome. Especially this quote:

For those who previously condemned Pietersen’s autobiography as overly confrontational to now dismiss Kevin Pietersen on Cricket as merely an attempt to address his reputation as an outcast star player, just a cynical display of even-handedness and affection towards former colleagues, is an exercise in double standards, a refusal by his critics to accept he has any saving graces whatever he does. Damn him if he does, damn him if he doesn’t.

The book is worth reading, but if I’m being honest, I’d wait until you can get a cheaper copy. KP’s got enough money, and it isn’t a “must read now” like last year’s book.


Which takes me on to the television programme. Being Kevin Pietersen has been dismissed by the likes of Barney Ronay as a hagiography (the first three paragraphs of which needed an editor to tell him to stop being so effing pretentious), or by Mark Webster as not challenging. While no-one is going to confuse this with a hard hitting expose of Pietersen, it remains utterly remarkable to me that some of the things he mentions in the programme, which he’s been mentioning for 18 months, remain totally unanswered by his critics. Bullying? Swann makes one claim, Cook says he doesn’t recognise what he says, but noticably none of them call him a liar. Textgate against Twitter Parody account – the ECB look stupid. KP doesn’t mention the leaking culture, which like it or not, he was evidently a victim of (e.g James Taylor incident) in the TV programme, but again, in the book, it remains unanswered. What charges is he supposed to answer? The one’s about him giving “tactical advice on how to get Strauss out” which now none of the protagonists said happened and which Jessica Taylor brilliantly summed up as being “such bollocks”?

In the programme he is celebrated by no-one from the current era. And his critics will jump on that. All those that say good things about him are his older colleagues. Piers Morgan turns up as the least wanted character reference since Kenny Senior turned up to defend Brian Potter after the fire at the Phoenix Club. It painted KP in a good light with his team-mates, which is really horrible because, as we all know, he ruins every dressing room he’s been in.

It was worth a watch, won’t change many minds, and that’s the sad fact. We’ve wasted his last two years, not him. The fact is we’ve all been filling in the blanks. This will lead into the media stuff that we’re planning. How those blanks are filled, how the ECB were massively let off the hook, and how we cannot tolerate the something extra, different that he brings.

However, it’s a comment like this, by Webster, that needs challenging:

it is ultimately too much like a documentary that is quite happy to simply be about an exceptional England international cricketer who believes he has has been unjustly slighted. And doesn’t mind telling us

That is because, Mark, we’ve never been told. He says he’s never been told why. The comment put to him about not being a player we could build around, was answered. It then became about “trust” instead, though what he could or could not be trusted is another example of fill in the blanks. You can’t challenge KP’s side when the accusors have never provided the slam dunk evidence. I think berating a bloke for putting his side of the story, when the opposite side tried to leak their’s through the dodgy dossier which was ridiculous, is slightly unfair. But hey, I’m a fanboy. It’s now about the book, apparantly. Well, I’ll let SimonH say what he thinks of that, as he so eloquently did on Guardian BTL.

And those things remain. And so will KP in my memory. He played too many, and I saw a few, great innings for the small-minded haters to taint. Just will not happen.


103 thoughts on “Rehabilitation? No Chance… KP the Book, KP the Movie

  1. Zephirine Nov 22, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    I found it a book to dip into, rather than to sit and read right through. But my God yes, a hundred times more interesting than the Cook one, which is like a wet weekend in Weymouth, though to be fair it was written when he was very young.

    Barney Ronay wrote about ‘the “real” Kevin Pietersen’. Where is he, that person? Others are so convinced he exists. I keep looking and reading, and I still can’t see him, this Machiavellian disrupter of dressing-rooms, this utter narcissist, this leader astray of younger players, the most hated man in England cricket? All I see is a big, gauche, dismissive but not malicious, affectionate and obviously rather exhausting man who is totally obsessed by the job that he has done and still can do extremely well.

    And you’re completely right, Dmitri. He’s not going anywhere.


    • Grenville Nov 22, 2015 / 9:31 pm

      I want to express my admiration of you and others who are still (politely) bothering to post at the G. on this stuff. I’ve more or less given up reading the rag, let alone the comments. I thought I’d take a peak at the Ronay piece, and, well…. What you do is important, I think, the truth does need airing. We live in a world were image trumps truth, but that can’t be allowed. It is not that you are right here (though you are). It is that repeating ‘KP is a knob’ doesn’t constitute an argument. You need some reasons. Without them it’s about who shouts the loudest. That’s also why the politeness is so important. To say ‘you’re wrong’ is rude and makes no attempt to inquire after the truth. To say, ‘well, I disagree because x, y and z’ is to respect the possibility of your own error, and to make a genuine stab at what might be the case.

      You know all that of course, but, thanks all the same.


      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Nov 22, 2015 / 9:55 pm

        I haven’t replied on there in ages. It’s not worth it. Bringing back Ballance when Selvey has been told “anecdotally” (a new euphimism everyone” that he has done nothing to alter his technique (I often talk to the flowers as well), that you refuse to look at someone who can play over trust issues just beggars belief.

        Just like Eddie Jones coming into the England post and signing up to the RFU no overseas players policy (can anyone not see the fucking irony in that – it’s hilarious). English sporting authorities, not exactly ruling the world, are creating policies and holdng grudges. It’s madness.

        But, oh well. Nothing will change.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Zephirine Nov 22, 2015 / 11:59 pm

        I had to pitch in again on the Ronay thread because jno50, undoubtedly one of the nicest and most fair-minded commenters on the G, was on his own at that point.

        Really we all suffer from Someone Is Wrong On the Internet Syndrome, but some have better manners than others…


      • Zephirine Nov 23, 2015 / 12:24 am

        Grenville, your appreciation is appreciated by those of us who still plod on BTL over there. It sometimes does feel rather like, as the character said in the Tom Stoppard play, ‘pouring yourself down a bottomless well’.

        I’ve been meaning to ask: is AngryRedSquirrel a BOC person? Makes some excellent comments.

        Liked by 2 people

      • metatone Nov 26, 2015 / 9:52 am

        I’d add to the appreciate Zeph. I too have largely given up.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 22, 2015 / 9:51 pm

      I agree, Z, about the dipping in part. I did not read it very quickly, probably over the course of two weeks, and I think that speaks to the type of book it is.

      Cook’s book was in the early part of his career, like Vaughan’s playing career books, and Strauss as well, totally dry. There’s a little snippet in a Jimmy Anderson interview in the Cricketer where he is asked how many pages of a 300 page book were changed by the ECB. Not the exact number but he said “oh, about 250”!

      In the TV show did you see the bit where KP mentions the Joe Root mask? I thought that was an interesting comment.

      I read Ronay’s interview and shook my head. Not that he was negative about a programme it was easy to get negative about, but this good KP / bad KP laziness.

      Thanks for the comment Z.

      Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Nov 23, 2015 / 11:42 am

      Er, AngryRedSquirrel might be me.*
      I have on occasion been pre-modded and disciplined by the truculent GU overlords as NorthernLight so I invented a new persona, and have got so used to it it’s hard to go back 🙂

      *when I say might, I mean it certainly is . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Nov 23, 2015 / 12:11 pm

        I guessed it (honest)!

        I would like to thank Grenville as well, although I’ve almost completely lost patience with that place, and avoid commenting on Pietersen. I chipped in on Bell a few times last week, as a sort of halfway house between Thepoetseye and the lazy ignorant slaggers. But even that was quite enervating: you quote stats and evidence and then find a reply saying “pish! he was rubbish”…

        It will never occur to TPTB/some of the writers that they helped turn a vibrant community into the zoo it has become; it’s far easier to believe that *the same people* suddenly became impatient, rude, idiotic or whatever other insult they can dredge up.

        You’re probably modded more often than (blatant, tedious troll) Geoffrey Plumridge – that says it all, frankly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Nov 23, 2015 / 1:05 pm

        Aha! I didn’t know they’d had the temerity to pre-mod you, NL. People have no respect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 Nov 24, 2015 / 2:12 pm

        I think I upset them because I referred to MS as not a proper journalist. Or it may have been a bit less polite than that. I really don’t remember, m’lud. 😉
        It’s his fault for being such a pompous, uninterested, idle apologist for the establishment though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Nov 26, 2015 / 9:58 am

        The Scarlet Pimpernel unmasked!

        Liked by 1 person

    • MM Nov 24, 2015 / 5:21 pm

      Gimme that wet weekend in Weymouth (or up the road at Lulworth Cove) rather than a single Cook anecdote. If you’ve read Cook’s book you are a better man than I.


      • Zephirine Nov 24, 2015 / 5:37 pm

        I thought I might get a clue as to why they think he’s so wonderful. Or even what makes him tick. I was disappointed. It was ‘How I Played Some Cricket’ by A Cook aged 22 and a half.


  2. Mark Nov 22, 2015 / 10:38 pm

    So the hypocritical media who all claimed in an sniffy, and smug way that they were ever so sorry that KP didn’t write the book they all wanted to read, have now changed their tune. No surprise there then because shifting the goal posts is the only thing they excell at.

    Frankly I don’t now why anyone takes them seriously anymore. They have bankrupted most of their reputations (with a few notable exceptions.)

    It doesn’t matter what KP says or writes, the village elders will take the opposite position. They know which way their ECB bread is buttered. They have been doing it constantly for 3 years. They ain’t going to change now. Which is why I don’t believe a word they say.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. man in a barrel Nov 22, 2015 / 10:42 pm

    for what it’s worth, have you read the Simon Jones book, co-authored by The Old Batsman. what fascinated me was the description of dressing-room dynamics, the bowler taking responsibility for his end…and then being cast adrift for the Oval. I see a horrific forerunner in South Africa.. Stokes is keen. Very Keen. But his shoulder ligaments are not yet right…he insists on bowling..and he fucks himself for ever. Is he a good enough batter to demand a place in the England 11? Not as yet, I suggest. As a rule of thumb, it takes 9 months to get over a shoulder injury.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hatmallet Nov 23, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      Not sure how much difference it makes, but it’s his collar bone rather than his shoulder which was the problem.


    • MM Nov 24, 2015 / 5:24 pm

      I am hoping the family get me Simon Jones’ book for Xmas. (Or maybe it’s down the library). Is it a good read?


  4. man in a barrel Nov 22, 2015 / 10:44 pm

    even more so since the England camp rumoured that Compton was not up for the fight with a suspected cracked rib. Who leaked that rumour? Was it Flower? Etheridge?


  5. man in a barrel Nov 22, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    I understand it must be so rough for professional journalists on a foreign assignment in warm countries….gertting paid for bullshit and incriminating photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mark Nov 22, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    After Mitch Johnson’s retirement last week it brought back all the arguments about retiring mid tour. This in turn brought back the Swann mid tour retirement in the tour from hell.

    It got me thinking about the famous 5th test match which was to be KPs last. The more I think about it, the more ludicrous the whole narrative about KPs so called disinterested attitude was. The media mouth breathers couldn’t wait to repeat Downton’s criticism of his body language. But hang on. This was the 5th test match in a series we were already 4-0 down in. The number 3 had gone home after the first test match, and the spinner has buggered off after the Ashes had been lost. Why did anyone think that the 5th test match had any importance at all? It was a meaningless fixture that the authorities hyped up to fanatical levels. Why?

    Because it allowed them to carry out a sporting assassination. One player was subjected to an unfair, continual mass observation witch hunt, while other players were walking away. The hypocrisy still stinks. The media laid it on with a spade. They never once asked why was the 5th test so important as we were 4-0 down? The media fix was in. And remains to this day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zephirine Nov 23, 2015 / 12:16 am

      That 5th test was bizarre. I’ve never seen an England side play like that, not in the depths of 2006/7, never. Yes, they’d been walloped, but it was more than that. At the time I used the phrase ‘mentally on strike’.

      To this day, I remain convinced that something else had gone on, whether it was to do with the team meetings or what I don’t know. And no, I don’t think KP had made them all unhappy! Nor was he noticeably less interested than anyone else. They were all disconnected. Sullen. Going through the motions.

      Pepp, who was at the match throughout, commented that none of the wives/girlfriends were talking to each other at all. A very unhappy England camp.

      Whatever it was, it gave Downton a good excuse for the assassination.

      Liked by 2 people

      • paulewart Nov 23, 2015 / 5:50 pm

        It was a complete dereliction of duty, as was most of the tour. The captain’s job is to lead, there was a complete breakdown, indeed an abnegation of leadership on the tour, both on and off the pitch. That’s why Pietersen was sacrificed. Cook clearly wasn’t up to the job, anyone could see that, why the ECB and their media acolytes couldn’t accept as much is beyond me. Captain’s fail, its pretty normal. Cook must have a photograph of Giles Clarke, Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss up to no good at one of David Cameron’s soirees.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. SimonH Nov 23, 2015 / 9:34 am

    Very good on standards of global sporting governance by the impressive Sean Ingle –

    The BTL useful idiots are already queuing up with their “it’ll never change” comments. Despite all the many frustrations, I think it is important to comment on articles like this and show papers like the Guardian that there is interest in sports’ governance stories.

    There’s still no acknowledgement of media complicity – but any sort of reporting on such issues represents some sort of progress.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. SimonH Nov 23, 2015 / 10:19 am

    Dave Richardson’s interview on TMS during the last ODI is available as a podcast:

    This was posted last Friday and they only usually keep them for a week. There’s also a discussion with John Etheridge and Vic Marks about the SA tour squad.


      • Arron Wright Nov 23, 2015 / 3:59 pm

        Enough sins of omission there to keep us busy till Boxing Day…


        • LordCanisLupus Nov 24, 2015 / 9:51 am

          John Hatch’s comment on the Telegraph article. I think people should read it.


      • Zephirine Nov 23, 2015 / 5:51 pm

        Wow. You have to really work quite hard to be as bad as that.


        • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2015 / 10:54 pm

          Good column by Dobell on Cricinfo re KP’s latest charitable initiative. Puts those who slag him off for leaving the Dolphins in their place. Expect the usual cynics and gripes.

          He’s not bloody Mother Teresa but he isn’t the bloody devil either. Garside demeans himself and his profession with this odious cobblers. Look at Dobell, Garside. Learn.


      • d'Arthez Nov 23, 2015 / 5:56 pm

        “The middle order is still in a state of flux, and the problem of identifying a reliable opening partner for Cook remains unresolved, but England cannot be said to have made a backward step since looking beyond Pietersen.”

        I guess losing to Sri Lanka in England in 2014 was better than could possibly have been expected. It was so good, so record breaking that England finally managed to lose a series in England against Sri Lanka.

        The result against India was worse than it was in 2011 – being bounced out by Ishant Sharma of all people on a green top, on which you won the toss is pathetic for an England team. Not turning up for two out of five Ashes Tests in 2015 is supposed to be an improvement on the efforts in 2013 as well?

        When Ballance finally faced a decent quick bowling unit, his technique was shown up. Lyth never got going. Robson was discarded for being as useful as Cook, but not having the “I shot Bambi” look in his eyes.

        I guess that being ranked #6 after just one away series of note. Sorry, I do not rate the West Indies Test side highly. Call me skeptical but two Test wins against Top 8 opposition away since the start of 2000 do not scream “quality” (and their home record is none too impressive either). England have basically had 14 Tests at home interspersed with the easiest away series that they were going to play this decade. They could not be bothered to win that series. Other than England only Pakistan and Sri Lanka have not left West Indies with a series win in their respective last visits to those shores, among Top 8 teams.

        Not showing up for two Ashes Test is a much vaunted improvement over where England were before the 2013/2014 Ashes. Right? England have basically had 14 Tests at home interspersed with the easiest away series that they were going to play this decade, and they still:
        a) are looking for an opener
        b) are looking for a #3
        c) are looking for a keeper
        d) don’t know what a spinner is
        e) are left praying that Stokes recovers sufficiently from his shoulder injury
        f) are still over-reliant on Plan A: Bowl Anderson and Broad in the ground
        g) have no idea how to slot in 3 #7 bits and pieces players. Stokes has potential, I am less convinced about Ali. Ali himself may end up with a real shot at Wilfred Rhodes’ record of having batted in every possible position in the batting lineup. Same for Stokes.
        h) take more bits and pieces players along (Jordan, Patel), in the hopes that they somehow perform.

        As for the suggested lineup, are England planning to declare three down (Cook, Root and Taylor gone)?

        Liked by 2 people

  9. MM Nov 24, 2015 / 5:31 pm

    “Piers Morgan turns up as the least wanted character reference since Kenny Senior turned up to defend Brian Potter after the fire at the Phoenix Club”



  10. Rohan Nov 24, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    I am a KP fanboy, I make no apologies for this. I love his style, his innings, his approach and the sheer audacity in his stroke play. Yet I UNDERSTAND that he was not to everyone’s tastes. I UNDERSTAND that some saw him as arrogant, devisive and ‘difficult’. I agree that sometimes he got things wrong and did not help himself, but even so he was better much more than he wasn’t.

    I DONT UNDERSTAND, why those who hate him, cannot acknowledge the opposite, as those who like him can. Yes they are perhaps blinded by hate, but surely they can see poor treatment of an individual or the ludicrousness of ‘that’ dossier. I DONT UNDERSTAND how they cannot remove the man and emotion from the story and see that sometimes his treatment by the ECB was appalling. No England player should endure this. Yet others have, although to a lesser extent.

    KP fanboys seem to be mostly able to admit sometimes he was wrong. I UNDERSTAND…..

    Haters cannot acknowledge that he was ever right/poorly treated, why? I DONT UNDERSTAND………

    Liked by 2 people

    • BigKev67 Nov 25, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      That may be the case if you confine yourself to blogs or comments pages, because they tend to be echo chambers for the more entrenched viewpoints.
      But talking to friends or to people on Twitter, there are plenty of people out there who can see both sides of the KP story, for good and ill – and just happened to come down on one side or another.
      I believe, very sincerely, that dropping KP was and remains the right thing to do. But I have no quibbles in acknowledging his genius as a batsman. Nor that he was treated badly over the captaincy – and appallingly last summer. To deny those things is just to deny the bleeding obvious.
      There’s plenty of blindness on both sides of this argument – but I’m not convinced that was ever the majority opinion amongst most English cricket fans. I reckon if you asked most fans, the overriding emotion wouldn’t be hatred – but rather sadness.


      • Rohan Nov 25, 2015 / 7:44 pm


        Pretty sure I did not mention anywhere about being confined to blogs or comments pages and if you are assuming that is what I do, then I am afraid you are wrong. Equally anyone who reads Dmitri’s blog regularly would realise it is not just a blog or comments page, all of the various MSM media outlets and journalists are commented on in great depth by both LCL, TLG and those of us who post message BTL. Often, contrary to your statement, a great deal of the blind hatred comes from the MSM. Such as the journalist who called KP ‘that pesky fruit fly that will not go away’ although worse has been thrown at him.

        I am really not sure what your point was, other than to assert that dropping KP was the right decision, which I was not commenting on. Moreover, I was discussing that many are blinded by hatred, which is based on a history of events, with regards to KP, that has been warped and twisted by some in the MSM, who are clearly blinded by their dislike of KP. Which now, does not reflect what actually happened, e.g. He has fallen out with every dressing room he has ever played with – clearly not true, but taken as perceived wisdom by many.

        I do agree, however, that the majority probably feel saddened by the whole event, more than anything else.


    • Mark Nov 24, 2015 / 10:08 pm

      Well well well indeed. The hypocrisy of the ECB strikes again.

      So, good quality ODI players won’t be allowed to play in IPL but non ODI players looking for an easy payday will be allowed to earn extra. Just when you think the ECB can’t lower themselves any further they fall another few floors.. Nice and sleazy does it with team England. If your face fits that is.


      • Rohan Nov 24, 2015 / 10:29 pm

        One rule for the favoured, one rule for the ‘face doesn’t fit’ brigade. Double standards, hypocrites and imbeciles…….

        This tells us all we need to know about the ECB and to a lesser extent (but still does not put him in a good light in my opinion) Cook……

        IPL and Strauss’s comments anyone? Exactly………I am afraid there is a trust issue with what Mr Strauss says, you know the details, I dont need to go over it again do I Jonathan…….

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Nov 24, 2015 / 11:38 pm

        How will this one be reported?

        1) Greedy mercenaries risking needless injury in poor standard hit and giggle.
        2) Heroically keeping their white ball skills up in case the call should ever come again.

        That’s going to be a tough one…..

        Anyone know how this draft is going to work? Is it like the IPL auction? It would be a little embarrassing if, having crowed over ‘him’ and his last IPL price, if certain players were left on the bench.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Nov 25, 2015 / 10:27 am

        The ECB will probably intervene to demand that Darling Cook is kept out of the the same team as KP. Cant have their hero exposed to such indignity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine Nov 25, 2015 / 11:58 am

        Cook can’t play T20. He’s not capable of it. What fantasy world are they in?


  11. thebogfather Nov 24, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    If anyone missed it first time, the KP programme is on again ITV4 tonight at 10pm


  12. man in a barrel Nov 24, 2015 / 11:35 pm

    we will just have to count how many careers are butchered by Strauss….Billings and Buttler should go to the IPL and/or Big Bash, regardless.

    However, you know they will flog an unfit Stokes to death, destroy his shoulder and then cast him adrift. I hope this is one of my nightmares…please….please let them save Woods.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Nov 25, 2015 / 10:34 am

      Everyone wants to play for their country. That is normal. But I’m surprised players want to play for the charlatens who run English cricket. They are treated like shit. They are leaked against to tame propagandists. And as you say, worked into the ground for money for the ECB. Who then ban you from playing elsewhere.

      I look forward to the day when the best players in England tell the ECB to go f… themselves, and play elsewhere. Not going to happen of course but I can dream. I don’t view team ECB as the national team. It’s a private club not a national team.


  13. Sherwick Nov 25, 2015 / 12:10 am

    So, it comes down to this:
    1. Giles Clarke does not want KP to play for England again.
    2. His minions in: the ECB, the England team and the media carry out his wish… and get rewarded for it.
    3. I suffer because I am not allowed to watch my favourite England player, since (and probably including) Randall, Botham and Gower, play for England any more.

    Sad. It used to be fun, but that’s gone now.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. d'Arthez Nov 25, 2015 / 3:42 am

    Amla loses the toss again on a bat-first surface. No Steyn either for South Africa. 3 spinners, and one pacer for India, 2 pacers and 2 spinners for South Africa.

    It may seem premature, but I’d be surprised if India have not won the series after this Test.


    • SteveT Nov 25, 2015 / 11:01 am

      India all out 214, is this another raging bunsen?


      • dlpthomas Nov 25, 2015 / 11:21 am

        214 is probably a good score


      • SteveT Nov 25, 2015 / 11:30 am

        Looking like it, SA 11-2, Ashwin and Jadeja in business already.


      • d'Arthez Nov 25, 2015 / 11:46 am

        This is more similar to a Day 4 or Day 5 pitch than a first day pitch. If a parttimer like Elgar can look like Murali in the first session of the match, you’d have to wonder what Murali would have done on this pitch.

        And you have to wonder what a chaseable target would be on Day 5 (we won’t get there though). I’d venture to guess that 50 would be barely manageable. Let me just put it this way: Galle was censured for less.

        Even my Indian friends think this is a bit too much, and does not really resemble a traditional Indian wicket on day 1. We saw this in Mohali as well.

        But maybe this is effectively what Graves want. Or maybe even more extreme: do away with the batting and bowling all together, and make it a coin tossing competition. That leaves an additional 30 hours or so, that can be spent on previews of the tosses, and more time for advertising too!


      • SimonH Nov 25, 2015 / 11:49 am

        “make it a coin tossing competition”.

        Yes – but then there’s be an element of chance and that’ll never do. Why not simply award matches to the country with the most money?


    • d'Arthez Nov 25, 2015 / 1:35 pm

      How about a weighted coin tossing competition? Toss 450 times and multiply the outcomes by the “revenue generated” factor. That way you can have close series between say New Zealand and Bangladesh, while of course confirming that England will always beat South Africa (which is enough to make Mike Selvey be an automatic proponent of such a system). It would also ensure that England will be competitive in the next Ashes down under.

      I said it to an Indian friend, that South Africa needed to get India out for about 150 – this was around lunchtime, on a day 1 pitch, to stand a decent chance of winning the game. Now, what is wrong with this picture?


      • Mark Nov 25, 2015 / 5:58 pm

        I have to be careful what I say about all this because I get into trouble on here when I complain about pitch doctoring. It seems to get some people very upset. Although it only seems to be when its their country that is doing the doctoring. I am English, and I accuse my own country of docturing pitches, so when I accuse other countries of the same its not through some one eyed nationalism.

        I know that many people believe that home sides should prepare conditions to favour home advantage. I understand that, and to a degree you can’t do anything else if it’s the natural way of the home conditions. But how far do you let it go? If Test matches are not making past 2.5 days then it seems an unfair test of bat and ball. Also once you go down this road you end up with tit for tat as each nation begins its own Arms race of pitch doctoring. “You prepared a turner for day 1, so we will give you a bright green seamer.”

        Of course the greatest sides can deal with almost anything. The Australian side could open with MCGrath on a green seamer, or use Warne if it turns. I know this is only in division two of domestic cricket but it is an admission of a big problem. The fact that the ECB is having to come up with a solution just shows you can’t just let home teams create whatever they like.


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 7:45 am

        Seems my assessment was right. Variable turn, bounce, and pace. On a day 2 wicket.

        I am sorry, but even someone with a modest record like Samit Patel would average less than 20 if he consistently played on these wickets. Simply because the only skill that is needed is to bowl in decent areas. The pitch does the rest. And as a batsman you’re left chanceless. Well tossed India. Of course no one will dare to censure this pitch. Galle was censured for way less.

        This will also be the last game of cricket I have ever watched. Well done ICC.


      • SimonH Nov 26, 2015 / 9:21 am

        First time 25 wickets have fallen in the first five sessions of a Test since 2007. I’m absolutely not against pitches giving some help to spin but this is ridiculous.


    • Mark Nov 25, 2015 / 10:56 am

      Reads like an incoherent rant by a silly old man.

      It seems he is still very bitter at the accusation of pitch doctoring against England last summer. That seems to lye behind the piece. According to The ECBs biggest tub thumper this match is an Aussie version of pitch doctoring.

      What is lost on Selvey is this is a completely new format that may indeed need tweaking as we go along. Completely different from ringing up the groundsman after a heavy defeat at Lords and demanding a made to measure pitch for a must win test match.,especially in a format that has been a staple for decades. (Ie day Test matches)

      Just seems like another attempt by Selvey to re write his endless anti Australian twaddle dressed up as a real issue article. As Packer did 40 years ago theAussies are trying something new. Who knows if it will work? It won’t work here though because of light evenings and dew on the ground. So Selvey is probably just envious.


    • SimonH Nov 25, 2015 / 11:01 am

      That comment needs a definite blood pressure warning before clicking.

      It’s tinfoil hat time but I do wonder about some of these comments that appear BTL defending Selvey from commenters with very inactive accounts and who are not regulars on cricket threads. I’m sure they are all from Honest John Citizen types who just don’t like seeing a good man traduced. Of course they couldn’t be traced back to Guardian HQ….. (Yes I know, and there were 20 gunmen on the grassy knoll etc).


      • Arron Wright Nov 25, 2015 / 11:31 am


        What irritates me, in addition, is that none of them (probably because of that inactivity) appear to be aware of:

        a) how long BTL has been that way – since 2012, peaking in 2014 and certainly not ‘just this year’ – and what the trigger(s) were.
        b) the sort of comments he makes about real cricket lovers on Twitter, which have completely nuked any benefit of the doubt
        c) the sort of tone that has crept into his articles, e.g. “bluster and bullshit” regarding the Australians after the Ashes at one end, and at the other an attitude towards Cook that makes Thepoetseye’s towards Bell sound even-handed.
        d) as a timely aside to point c), a lack of empathy regarding the Australians, and Clarke in particular, that sickened me. Compare and contrast that shown to people like Cook, Downton and Moores, whose various tribulations were considerably more trivial.
        e) a self-confessed lack of interest in, and awareness of, global governance issues which are pretty fundamental to those who “put the boot in”.

        Have I missed anything?

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Nov 25, 2015 / 12:11 pm

        His constant snideness about South Africa is really pushing my buttons at the moment. I think he might loathe them more than Australians. Has he ever written anything praising Amla, FDP, Morkel or Philander? All I can remember is he didn’t even know Amla’s place in the batting order. There’s no need to go over his nonsense on Steyn again. No doubt it is just a coincidence they are the other team who pissed on Flower and Saker’s parade.

        Here’s a masterpiece from his back catalogue:

        I’d put it down to the small-mindedness of a small-minded man and not be bothered – but it’s more pernicious than that because it serves the Giles Clarke agenda of progressively downgrading playing against South Africa.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Nov 25, 2015 / 12:31 pm

        Excellent concluding point there.

        I’d never seen that puff piece for dear friend and walking magician Saker before. Good grief, “bang to rights” springs to mind.

        Of course, within a week or so he was blaming an innings and 85 runs (and 18 wickets) defeat on unfavourable bowling conditions and fiendish bad luck. No bloody wonder, reading that preview.


      • Arron Wright Nov 25, 2015 / 12:44 pm

        Oh, and in the comments:

        Graem 18 Jul 2012 8:45

        Slightly Off Topic

        I would like to know exactly who at the ECB thought it was a good idea on the eve of an important Test Series, to leak to a Telegraph cricket journalist selective information concerning contract negotiations between itself and one of it’s contracted players representatives

        MikeSelvey Graem 18 Jul 2012 9:42

        A representive (sic) turning up with a demand does not constitute a ‘ negotiation’ and received short shrift. The distraction comes not from ECB but KP and his reps who put the issue into the public domain. And nothing was selectively leaked. Sometimes, if you ask a question, you get an answer. I possess similar information from different sources as well as that particular one as does Pringle. That is what journalism is about.

        Graem MikeSelvey 18 Jul 2012 10:06

        I think the problem I have is that KP gave his interview where he talked about a change of heart last Friday and Nick Hoult’s article did not appear until Monday.

        The article on Monday led with an unattributed remark which has formed the basis of subsequent stories throughout the media, none of which seem to shed any further light on this story apart from one reputable source which said that the option for KP to play ODIs again in exchange for being allowed to play a full IPL, was only one of a series of options that had been put to the ECB in the negotiations.

        If you ask a straight question and get a straight answer then that surely goes into a story with the comments attributed. If it is off the record, then surely it is a leak.

        Either the person at the ECB was being naive in making the comment that they did or there has been a deliberate attempt to undermine a player’s credibility.

        MikeSelvey Graem 18 Jul 2012 10:27

        We all know that there are three options open to KP: … Everything else is non-negotiable. Nothing has changed. An off the record briefing is not the same as a leak for which the initiative comes from the source doing the leaking. If KP gives a press conference in which he intimates that he is changing his mind, then it is perfectly legitimate journalism to try and find out on what basis this might be.

        Graem MikeSelvey 18 Jul 2012 11:02

        I had assumed that a leak did not have to be deliberate act. When my toilet leaks it is seldom deliberate.

        I don’t wish to criticise Mr Hoult or whoever it was at the Telegraph who is behind this story. If someone at the ECB let slip when they shouldn’t have, then the ECB should have said so. If on the other hand they spoke deliberately, as you imply, then I would like to think that there were a few cricket journalists out there, hopefully at least one at the Guardian, who would be prepared to criticise this person at the ECB for throwing fuel onto a smouldering fire at the worst possible time.

        MikeSelvey Graem 18 Jul 2012 11:28

        Why would I criticise someone at the ECB for answering a legitimate question? Please understand that it is KP who has brought this back onto the agenda at an inappropriate time.

        And so it began…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Nov 25, 2015 / 1:26 pm

        Seeing as he only played 3 teat matches I don’t know what his loathing of other nations is caused by. It’s not as if he was subjected to heaps of sledging from Aussies in test matches. Certain English cricket writers response to Clarkes speech at the funeral of Phil Hughes was one of the lowest forms of petty point scoring I have ever seen. They behaved like jumped up little governor generals from the time of The British Empire.

        I have long suspected that many of these journalists now moderate their own BTL comments, or get a mate to do it for them. When newspapers first started allowing BTL the journalists started moaning about the fact they were called on their work. They got very upity that anyone would dare to disagree with them or point out their factual inaccuracies. Now they just remove anyone who doesn’t toe the line. Not much point having a BTL option.

        Simon, I guess he resents the South Africans being number 1 at a time when dear leader has been England captain. In the last 10 years England finally started to win some test series against Australia after a 2 decade drought. Only for SA to nick in and become number 1. Oh the bitterness!

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Nov 25, 2015 / 1:32 pm

        “An off the record briefing is not the same as a leak”.

        Sir Humphrey Selvey.

        Liked by 2 people

    • paulewart Nov 25, 2015 / 6:02 pm

      This, is priceless:

      ‘The depth of England talent, though, is surely matchless and something seen elsewhere only in the glory years of West Indies.’

      Tell me this wasn’t written in a post-Coke fugue…..What a deluded idiot, particularly given who he played with. Does he really think Graham Onions is on a par with Wayne Daniel or Sylvester Clarke? One-eyed, sycophantic, jingoistic drivel.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. man in a barrel Nov 25, 2015 / 6:16 pm

    They really had the measure of Amla and Graeme Smith in that series! They stood no chance against Tim Bresnan. It was like boys against men. You couldn’t make it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Nov 26, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      “”Swann’s own rise to England ranks was built around a largely self-taught method that centred around giving the ball a rip and in turn getting the drift and bounce to fool world-class batsmen.

      ‘I watched a lot of cricket on TV and always had fairly big hands so I always found it easier to spin it off my second knuckle rather than the first,’ he said.

      ‘I didn’t listen to coaches either. Looking back my greatest strength was that whenever people tried to change my grip I’d nod and smile and think ‘well that doesn’t work, that doesn’t spin it enough’ and ignore them.””


  16. man in a barrel Nov 25, 2015 / 11:24 pm

    agreed…it is the revs that make the flight difficult. In the 1920s, even as great a batter as Jack Hobbs was done twice by full tosses from Arthur Mailey, the revs made the flight difficult to read even for someone who scored 197 centuries.


  17. man in a barrel Nov 25, 2015 / 11:25 pm

    Actually I think that Hammond was done by Bradman in a test….beaten by the drift of a leg break from a part-timer


  18. man in a barrel Nov 25, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    it happened in the Bodyline series. sadly I don’t there is any film coverage


  19. Arron Wright Nov 26, 2015 / 7:39 am

    ICC to pay “small seven” $2.5m (20%) less than originally announced in February 2014.

    I got this from cricinfo.



    • SimonH Nov 26, 2015 / 9:28 am

      Manohar calls the ICC reforms “bullying” and presents a better charge sheet against them than certain ‘progressive’ newspapers ever managed:

      “I have spoken about these issues to Giles Clarke (ECB) and he agreed with me.” Of course he does…..


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 9:38 am

        Well, given the power that Manohar has, he could make Giles Clarke say: “I am a trained pet monkey and I sell peanuts for a living.”

        Let’s just hope it is not a PR-exercise.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. thebogfather Nov 26, 2015 / 9:38 am

    I posted this on my cricket poetry blog, but as no-one reads it, I thought I’d paste it here too….

    Pitches…..How to save Test cricket… (written only slightly in jest…)

    Ignoring (deliberately) the fact that players are unable to cope with a variety of surfaces (a separate debate)- and variety IS part of the game – and also the fact that truncated tours with little in the way of useful warm-up games don’t help matters, It’s obvious to me how to ensure pitches are prepared to enable a contest.

    As cricket is now run seemingly purely as a $$$ making exercise for governing bodies, with TV rights the major part of this, then surely the answer is financial penalties to the boards?

    So, here goes…

    For any test lasting 5 days, uninterrupted by weather, war, or a ficjam monologue, but with no chance of a result then the board reimburses the TV companies 50% of ‘match fee’.

    For any test that doesn’t go into the 5th day, then reimbursements on a sliding scale would apply –

    Over in 2 days – 75%

    Over in 3 days – 50%

    Over in 4 days – 25%

    or some such arrangement.

    This would encourage better pitch preparation, reduce homieism, increase player skills (the boards may start to look after the players and provide decent coaching/practice/rest) and maybe even attract spectators?

    Or not….


    • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 9:43 am

      Such an arrangement could work, provided, that there will be penalties for wickets not fallen in draws. Else we would need 8 days to stand a chance of getting a result other than the draw.

      3% per wicket not fallen in draws seems a reasonable enough assumption.

      Would have received a 78% refund.

      I am not a fan of it though, but at least it compensates the broadcasters for 3 day farces.


      • thebogfather Nov 26, 2015 / 10:00 am

        It wasn’t really meant as a serious suggestion, just as a retort to the current situation where money is all, and standards of play continue to fall due to a number of reasons… but the more I think about it, then financial penalties against the boards can be the only answer inn the long run


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 10:20 am

        I know you were not that serious, but as Mark says it is an indictment of where we are – this idea has more merit than what is currently going on.

        Nothing wrong with the odd match finishing in 3 days. But, even in the Ashes in the three day Tests – would anyone have quaked in their boots for potentially having to chase a target of 50 on day 5? I’d venture to guess the answer would be a resounding no. Not so in Nagpur.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Nov 26, 2015 / 10:26 am

          The highest individual score in this match so far is 40. I cannot believe top quality batsmen like Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Dhawan et al are going to take the assault on their averages for too long. Surely?


    • Mark Nov 26, 2015 / 10:08 am

      It’s an indicment of where we are that these sort of ideas have to be put forward Bogfather. The trouble is we all know that rules are only for the little people. So will the big 3 play by the rules?

      There will always be odd test matches that finish in 2.5 days or other matches that if you played for 8 days you wouldn’t get a result. What you want is a balance between bat and ball. That requires groundsman just producing good wickets with no interference from governing bodies. Good luck with that.

      We seem to be moving to a model of home wins for comercial purposes only. If away sides start winning they won’t be able to flog tickets and merchandise to home fans (sorry customers)

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Mark Nov 26, 2015 / 9:49 am

    So, as we stand in the India Vs South Africa match 27 wickets have fallen in just 154 overs. We haven’t even finished day 2 yet.

    I know they want to bring in 4 day test matches but this is ridiculous. Don’t expect to hear any complaints about the pitch from a non big 3 member. They are lucky to get any cricket at all.


    • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 10:17 am

      467/30 now, with 14 overs left to bat in Day 2. Normally in India you’d expect it to be closer to 467/10, with the wicket starting to deteriorate ever so slightly now.

      I’d be surprised if the winning margin was less than 150 runs. Congratulations India, you have tossed well. Don’t think Tahir and Harmer are equal to Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra, but the corrolary is, that the Indian batsmen have had the better of the conditions to bat in (winning tosses), while their bowlers have had teh better of the conditions to bowl in (winning tosses).

      I have just one question: Will Ishant bowl more than 2 overs this match?


      • SimonH Nov 26, 2015 / 10:31 am

        Top score by an Indian batsman in two innings – 40.

        But it’s all about the techniques of visiting batsmen….


        • LordCanisLupus Nov 26, 2015 / 10:36 am

          I haven’t watched a lot, but as I’m off today I have seen a little of this morning.

          Manjrekar making the ludicrous point that the pitch isn’t to blame for too much because people are getting out to attacking shots. Then Rohit Sharma got out, chipping to mid-on. When that ball pitches, watch the wicket.

          As we used to say on ropey club wickets – get busy living…..

          And good grief, this is Pravda TV isn’t it. Not that we can throw many paving stones in our glass house.


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 10:47 am

        We all know that Vijay is not a bad batsman. That Kohli, Pujara, Rahane are good if not great batsmen. Dhawan tends to blow hot and cold, but he is certainly not a bad batsman.

        The highest aggregate for an Indian batsman this match is 52 (Pujara). Dhawan is on 51. The others don’t even make it to 50 – and that is after India had won the toss, so they can hardly complain that they have had the worst of the batting conditions. Also they can’t really claim that Tahir and Harmer are world class spin bowlers, comparable to the likes of Warne, Murali, or Kumble. Far from it.

        Vijay and Pujara are the only ones to make 1 fifty each in the four completed innings India have batted in (no half centuries in the second test for India either). Pujara did it in the third innings of the first Test, Vijay in the first innings.

        In terms of batting performance, this must be close to the worst performance ever by an Indian side in India. But it is all about the visiting batsmen, of course …


      • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 10:55 am

        Actually, in series India won at home, 26.59 was the worst batting average they have had. We’re now a touch under 22, and that is with the 80/0 in the second Test. Which was the real anomaly in this series. If you discount that innings, the average is 17.72. Not exactly a statistic that says batting was easy, is it?;filter=advanced;home_or_away=1;orderby=team_average;orderbyad=reverse;team=6;template=results;type=team;view=series


      • SteveT Nov 26, 2015 / 11:54 am

        He’s up to five now. Don’t think he’ll be having any burn-out issues for a while.


  22. SimonH Nov 26, 2015 / 9:54 am

    Good – let’s have four pitches like Nagpur next winter and watch them repeat that. The game is bigger than this ridiculous point-scoring. (The Tweet is in a context of pitch doctoring, obviously).

    Tinfoil hat time again – I’m sure I read somewhere that the BCCI are in favour of ICC-contracted groundsmen and if they wanted to show other countries why that’s a good idea then something like this would be one way to do it.


    • d'Arthez Nov 26, 2015 / 10:11 am

      Moeen will be hailed as a better bowler than Swann or Underwood though. Is that something you can stomach? Cook will be hailed as the best ever opener for making one 50 in 8 innings, and topscoring for the touring side with say 73.

      Are people seriously expect to believe that Kumble was a worse bowler than any of the spinners on offer? That Amla, AB de Villiers, Kohli and Pujara are substandard batsmen compared to VVS Laxman and Dravid (2001, Kolkata)?

      No. International cricket is broken beyond repair. Well done ICC.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Nov 26, 2015 / 10:21 am

      What a Pratt!

      It seems just another pointless attack on SA because as the worlds number 1 side they are failing to do what England did years ago. An England side that included KP who played brilliantly, and then was driven out of the England team. And two spinners in Swann and Monty who out bowled Indias spinners in their own conditions. They are also no longer playing for England Mr Selvey. In case you hadn’t noticed.

      That series has been rewritten as only Cook who was of any importance. Sure he played well but so did other who are never given credit by the one eyed morons who write about the game.

      I look forward to Selvey telling us that Rashid and Ali will bowl England to victory in India next time…oh wait, “he bowls to slowly.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Nov 26, 2015 / 10:27 am

      He really doesn’t want to go there.

      But if we want to score points, count the away series wins since India.


    • Arron Wright Nov 26, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      Four men won that series; three of them aren’t playing any more. Three other key players from the victorious England side won’t even be in South Africa. England’s only away wins against top eight opposition since 2008 have come in Australia and India. The side is unrecognisable from the ones that won there, especially in batting.

      Is he not paid to recognise the significance of these things?

      As for this (below), I think SimonH’s link from yesterday, and the scorecard that followed, is the most eloquent response.


      • Mark Nov 26, 2015 / 1:51 pm

        No, it’s the rankings that say they are the number 1 team.
        You would hope a cricket writer would understand this.


  23. LordCanisLupus Nov 26, 2015 / 10:29 am

    I’m thick. I don’t know what point he is trying to make.


    • Mark Nov 26, 2015 / 11:10 am

      The point he is making Dmitri is Australia doctor their pitches but don’t admit it.

      Why is this so important to him? Because some people, have made the not unreasnoble point that England’s “greatest ever Ashes winning summer” was achieved by doctoring their pitches. In particular some Aussies have made this point.

      This has hurt poor little Selveys feelings because that is a slight on his beloved greatest captain of all time nonsense.

      Selvey has now got a bee in his bonnet about Austrailian pitch doctoring. Hence his ludicrous article about the pink ball being a form of pitch doctoring because the ball requires more grass on the pitch.

      This is what happens when you allow and celebrate the pitch doctoring by one side, and not expect it to escalate.


    • Andy Nov 26, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Looking at his punctuation, (reading it in his thick, sarcastic voice) I read that as saying micro management = pitch doctoring and that Aus do it in Adelaide as well.

      Or he could be seriously saying that micro management is a good thing…..


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