Does It Set On Fire, Everything That You Touch


Too soon to do a real valedictory. I’m not feeling overly wonderful, so this will have to do.

Let’s start with the tone deaf.

You have to admire their front. After the Difficult Winter, the pretty much sanctioned demolition of the bloke’s character, ambitions, performance and attitude, both via whisper and outright leaking to journalists who made it their point to revel in it, they thank him now? That what he said about the coming presence of white ball, and especially T20 league cricket, has now been sanctioned by the same organisation? That we were denied a couple of extra years of potential genius because he had the brass neck not to conform to the Flower doctrine and making his points known. That Cook was backed unequivocally during years of performance dip, yet the slight trending down of KP was treated as if he was ready for the OAP home. That they allowed Downton to make that craven decision, and then put it in the hands of someone who called him a “c**t” live on air. And only now, when the corpse is in the coffin, so to speak, you say thanks.

I hope KP is considerably more charitable than I am.

That England Cricket showed their face today, so to speak, and followed it up with a clip of his 2005 hundred, to say thanks is symptomatic. The England cricket team is just not grabbing the attention of any of us at the moment. A man who grabbed attention, who polarised opinion, but who played sensational innings was dealt with by the head office with all the aplomb of me on a skiing holiday. While England prepare for a series in New Zealand, with a team with luminaries like James Vince impersonating a test player, we thought we could kick out our exciting player with a 45+ average. What a time to be alive.

Pietersen was obviously massive fuel for my fire, both here and on How Did We Lose In Adelaide. We’ve been over the ins and outs of the 2013-14 aftermath to death. But fundamentally that incident shifted my cricketing axis. From unconditional support for the team, with a healthy indifference to cricket administration, from watching the cricket egging on our players, I suddenly felt horribly conflicted. I couldn’t get excited about England cricket putting some ethical dribble over actual performance. I couldn’t get over how the media fell in line, parroting the ECB line, and in many cases glorying in it. I couldn’t get over how KP was made to keep quiet while his contract ran off, but the ECB could leak like a sieve. And most importantly, and this matters so much more now, the penny dropped – the ECB did not, do not, and will not, give one single shit what you and I think. When it came to a massive decision, put in the hands of an utter imbecile in Downton, and the furore followed, you were told. “Shut Up”. “Nothing to do with you”. “Outside Cricket”. A profound effect not just on me, but on a lot of us who piped up when we were being told to pipe down. Where we impertinent to question the great and the good. Now, with the ECB showing its sheer disdain for its own members, do you have anything to say? Do you not realise the points we were trying to make? That the oft quote that KP was the symptom not the illness was and is correct? Don’t rage about their high-handedness now when you were tickety-boo with it in 2014 and 2015.

Sure, some of the critics I had, still have, think I am obsessed with Pietersen. Yes, I liked him as a player. Yes he has human flaws. Yes he can be arrogant. But four years on do you really know what went on in that dressing room on that tour to say why he needed to go? You’ve never been given it straight, because we might have to focus on what others did to precipitate it? Flower can still preside over a disastrous A tour but nothing ever really gets said, outside of Dobell who says Flower might admit he went too far, by the press. No, his is a dignified silence, while KP’s silence during the 2014 summer was punctuated by persistent snide digs at a so-called propaganda machine. Yet you, some of you, had a pop at me for the temerity I had in asking why. Because you were so blinded by your hatred for him that reason or the need to know went out of the window. And, deep down, you’d rather England lose without him, than win with him.

That KP’s final game was for Quetta Gladiators in Sharjah, dismissed for 11 by a bloke who has been accused of chucking again, shows the pitiful nature of the sport today. England’s test team slides into irrelevance, a 4-0 Ashes defeat is shrugged off like a minor case of the sniffles, and one of our greatest ever batsmen is finishing out a career in a garish purple outfit in an Emirate outpost. There will be tributes, many of them out of the side of the mouths of the media, but the one thing I will always be thankful for is that I saw him in the flesh, I saw three excellent test hundreds, I saw him in two 300 run partnerships (belying the not a team player bollocks) and I got to watch a lot more of him on TV. And without him, we would have lost the 2005 Ashes.

I don’t do greatest evers, I leave that to clickbaiters. But I’ll be all over the media’s response to this. The fact is that many of us lost a bit of our love for England cricket in the wake of his dismissal. These are passionate cricket fans the sport in this country needs to keep not alienate. His retirement today is a reminder of why. Arguably one of the most important players in English cricket history packs it in, and the repercussions will remain.

Have a great retirement, and thanks for the memories. To the critics. Thanks. You did us proud. I hope you are proud.



84 thoughts on “Does It Set On Fire, Everything That You Touch

  1. nonoxcol Mar 17, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    Bravo and thank you for everything.

    And now, watch your hits go up….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Vickster Mar 17, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    Well said. Four years on and my anger still burns. Screw the ECB.


  3. Sri Grins Mar 17, 2018 / 4:53 pm

    Agree with you. Nice article. I was wondering why something was not up and made my comment in the earlier article on nz odi


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 17, 2018 / 5:06 pm

      Fact of life that we are all really busy with work and life at the moment, and combined with a bit of apathy for the game after a long winter, articles may not be as regular as before.

      But you knew there would be something!


  4. Andy Mar 17, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    Well said. I’ve never trusted the ECB or Strauss since this appalling treatment of our best ever test batsman.


  5. oreston Mar 17, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    A classic post, LCL. Long may you run…


  6. Mark Mar 17, 2018 / 5:54 pm

    Years before it all came crashing down in 2014 I remember Nasser saying that no other English player divided the SKY viewers like KP did. 50% love him & 50% hate him. And this was before it all got nasty.

    KP has been proved right. He foresaw the power and attraction of franchised 20/20. And for this crime of wanting his piece of the action in the IPL he was destroyed as an England player. All the nonsense about texting SA players, and fake KP twitter accounts, and dodgy dossiers all stemmed from the England managements determination to stop him having it all. . He could have a central contract or play IPL, but not both. How small minded, and petty?, and these idiots are still at the ECB.

    It is a truly delicious irony that the English cricket elite, and their media lackeys who all demonised him now tell us with a straight face that the ECBs own 20/20 version of the IPL is the only thing left that can save English cricket. You have to admire their front. These people don’t do shame whatsoever. .

    I would like to thank KP for his cricket, and especially his amazing batting. I’m sorry it ended the way it did. However, his departure revealed to anyone with an IQ over 60 the true rotten face of English cricket. 2014 laid bare the ECB, and the English cricket media. KPs international career didn’t just die that year, so did my love for an entire sport.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. OscarDaBosca Mar 17, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    Thanks KP watched you live on multiple occasions. Always a joy


  8. @pktroll Mar 17, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    At a time when the England test team is so lacking in any real verve, it is only more anti-climactic that one player who is the antithesis of the current mob waves the professional game

    Although I am sure a few meaningful platitudes will come his way I’m sure a few others will make mention his last few years of chasing the money when it wasn’t like he had much of an alternative left.

    Was lucky to watch a few outstanding knocks live, none more so than his ton at Mumbai.


  9. Sanket Mar 17, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    KP won’t go down as a test great (in this batsmen-friendly era you need to average 50+ to be considered great), but he was probably closest to a great batsman England have had since Boycott. And he was a hell lot more than entertaining to boot!

    How will people remember KP 20 years from now when the dust has finally settled? I think they’ll remember his 158 at the Oval and the off-field issues will be forgotten.


    • Mark Mar 17, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      Well, KP has been out of International cricket for four years now. Which means he played the majority of his career at a time when there were some very good bowlers about.

      As an attacking batsman in an age of the likes of McGrath, Warne, Johnson (for his one off series of devastation) and Steyn I would say his average is pretty good.


    • Zephirine Mar 17, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      How will people remember KP 20 years from now when the dust has finally settled?

      Well, of course, he isn’t going to disappear, any more than Boycott has disappeared since the end of his playing career. (Was he more controversial than Pietersen, in his day? Maybe.)

      I’ve always felt that somehow, Clarke, Flower, Downton, Strauss thought KP would just fade away once they got him out of the England team, that he’d just stay quiet and count his money. As they will when they retire. As Cook undoubtedly will. But Pietersen didn’t stay quiet, and he won’t.

      So he’s likely to spend the next 20 years continuing to be right about cricket, and continuing to put some people’s backs up. If I was head of Sky Sports Cricket, I’d give him an hour a week, starting now. To do interviews, master classes, reports, whatever he likes.

      Showman, innovator, immense talent, inspires others, really understands the game. That history won’t change. Sometimes really annoying, that won’t change either.

      So, thanks for Phase One, KP, looking forward to Phase Two.

      And good luck with the rhinos.

      Liked by 3 people

      • KidVicious Mar 19, 2018 / 12:12 pm

        I think this may be one aspect of KP that others, and particularly Strauss, just couldn’t get. To KP, cricket is everything (at least from an outside perspective). He just wanted to play at the highest level it was possible to play at, and if he wasn’t deemed good enough or in the right environment to get to the next level, he either moved or worked extremely hard.

        Strauss on the other hand has always been in the right place. Right birth, right club (Middlesex) right background etc, whatever the ECB professes to prioritise. But I get the impression that with Strauss, cricket doesn’t seem to be his endgame (politics, influence whatever). He was just better at cricket than everything else he could do. If he could do numbers he would have been in finance, if he could argue he would have been a barrister, etc.

        The full conflict in personalities seem to stem that cricket was everything to KP, and the means to an end for Strauss. The biggest f’up in all of it is the England CRICKET Board seem to agree more with the latter view.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 12:25 pm

          To a degree KV but I come at it from a slightly different angle.

          KP, for all his faults, and he has many, was a very hard worker. And yes, he was dedicated. There was a great bit in an interview Flintoff did with him prior to the Ashes in 2013/14. Flintoff discussed family and said that when he had his kid he would go home and his child didn’t care whether daddy had scored nought or a hundred. KP leapt on this and said that’s a cop out. That having his kid drove him harder. In a nutshell it explained a lot about the cricket mentality in England.

          To many he should therefore have got on with the ultimate hard worker, Andy Flower. But my guess is that the key difference, started off by Strauss, but then on steroids under Cook and Flower, that the only response to defeat was much harder work. And much of this, and again as a bit of a punt, was fitness not technique. No-one doubts Cook is a fitness freak, out of the Gooch mould, but KP has never been that when it comes to the game. He is about perfecting his batting skills to the nth degree – or it was in his peak. There’s also the English sport obsession with process over practice. Get the process right and the things fall into place. KP was never a conformist. There’s enough clues in the books about this. He was also never a yes man, and England hates a gobby individual, especially if he is “South African” born.

          These things heal with time for the individuals concerned. Strauss, I was told (by someone who knew him) would spit his name (I have no idea if this is true), but KP says things are fine with him now (and does he have a reason to lie now)? I note no fulsome tributes from his England colleagues (which many will point to). The highs will always remain with me – it’s not a matter of being besotted – but the craven way we allowed it to end still rankles and will always be a scar on my love for the England team until the last boil is lanced. There are still quite a number left.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Zephirine Mar 19, 2018 / 3:06 pm

            I think this is a key point. English cricket seems to be run by people who have a career in cricket because it’s what they could do. And why not, it’s how most people end up with one career rather than another. But Pietersen is an obsessive, a genuine cricket tragic. And they never got that, still don’t. They thought he only wanted the money and the attention. I don’t think anyone claims that life with Pietersen in the team was always easy. But it would have been a lot easier if they’d at least tried to understand what language he was speaking.

            Liked by 2 people

          • KidVicious Mar 20, 2018 / 1:02 pm

            Thanks for the responses. I just think he has a personality that clashed with a large part of the England setup, for a variety of reasons. There are others in that side who kept their head down and dodged most of it, Bell and Trott never seemed to fit with the rest either, but KP’s manner just rubbed people up the wrong way. I have no doubt he has to take a large portion of the blame, but I place all the responsibility for the end result on those that couldn’t manage it. KP can’t abide mediocrity, and would call it out. He bruised pride and egos – his famous spat with Moores was purely cricket related but there doesn’t seem a lot of bad blood afterwards (correct me if I’m wrong). But you can look at others and the conflict of interests:
            1. Flower. Dictator demanding absolute control of everything, cannot accept contrasting views from those below him. KP was the way to assert his absolute authority;
            2. Strauss. I’m sure he just wanted an easier life. As I’ve said before, he’s a careerist. KP’s outbursts highlighted the difference between what was good for English cricket versus what was good for the ECB. Strauss only had one loyalty, and I think Strauss wasn’t too bothered about the team’s performance once he could add ‘Captained England to #1 in the world’ onto the CV.
            3. The Bantz brigade (Swann, Anderson, Broad, Prior). Classic bullies, picking on an outsider. Whereas KP saw the IPL as a way to become a better cricketer (yes the cash helped), I think the others were jealous as no one else received offers – I imagine Bopara, Morgan and Shah (and others I’ve forgotten of the top of my head) all copped their fair share of it at the time . Considering the ECB were against it, they were only too happy to brand him as a mercenary. But I doubt there’s a single one that would not have accepted what KP was offered.
            4. Cook. Not a personality clash as such, and this is not influenced by my view of Cook as the post 2014 poster boy. KP has never openly criticised Cook and there has never been any open animosity, but I have a feeling (and I may be overly harsh here) Cook wanted to be Englands highest ever (Test) run scorer, and KP was a threat to that. I don’t think he’d object to KP out of the team for that reason, even if he didn’t openly push for the removal.
            5. ECB. The worst of the lot. One of the biggest problems with KP is not that he’s openly critical in an argumentative manner, it’s that he’s often correct. They could point and laugh at him for being openly wrong, but to continually show the ECB up for bad decision making is unforgiveable.

            I got into cricket in 2005. At least once a year I would attend a test match and always get that extra buzz of excitement when it turned out it was for a day in which we were batting, and KP was either in or still to come. Nothing symptomizes the rise of my obsession with cricket, to the gradual disinterest, than the career of KP. There are many more articulate and knowledgeable tributes than mine, but I am hopeful that when I look back I will only really remember the great career and unbelievable moments, and forget the shit that came with it.

            Quite a long essay I’ve just written there, I’ve never really commented about KP before; now seemed an appropriate time.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Julie Mar 17, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    Thank you, Dmitri. You have said everything I would have said, only better. KP is not going to go away. He will still be involved in cricket be it coaching young people, commentating or just saying all the wrong things to the media. Our boy was never one to think before he opened his mouth.His love of cricket will always be with him as he moves on to his next challenge. His love of animals will carry him on with his typical stubborness and strength to helping save Rhinos, Elephants and other wild animals from poaching and hunting. As you know, Dmitri, I have always admired and loved KP both as a cricketer and as a man and will now be helping him in his new adventure.


  11. LordCanisLupus Mar 17, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    On a different tack, I recommend those who use Twitter to look at Danny’s discussion with Mr Nash from Somerset.

    A little questioning and our glorious “hero” blocked him.

    These people run our game. They haven’t changed. We’re the little people…

    The old phrase was that if you lay down with the dogs you catch fleas. You can’t call foul now when you were warned what Graves and Harrison were about.

    I’m sure Danny will have a lot more on this. Holding them to account is important, and getting the background and history in context equally so. Those who say no use looking at ancient history are really saying “don’t point out my stupidity”.


    • Mark Mar 17, 2018 / 11:27 pm

      Zero sympathy with these county chairman. The lame….. Captain Oates routine…..”Iam going outside …I might be some time” … wearing rather thin I’m afraid..The fake sacrifices are all for show.

      From the outside looking in they all seem to be happy as long as they are in the money club. “I am all right jack…I’ve got mine.”

      But As soon as they find out they got played like a Steinway piano they suddenly start talking about principles.

      The counties got played, and they sold themselves for a few pieces of silver. They have allowed the ECB to walk all over them. Has it occurred to them they don’t need to be bossed about by the suits at Lords. They could organise things themselves. But that is the problem. They could not organise a piss up in a brewery. They have had years to sort out a solution.


    • Ab Mar 18, 2018 / 10:19 am

      I don’t really care whose fault it is. Far more important is generating some momentum and consensus that the new T20 should be scrapped, and the blast expanded and promoted, test cricket prioritised with home tests on fta tv. It appears that Nash is now an ally.


      • dannycricket Mar 18, 2018 / 11:48 am

        Is he though? His focus is on looking “forward positively and not backwards in regret.” In other words, what’s done is done and the T20 competition will go ahead as planned, with the degraded T20 Blast and no live cricket on UK FTA TV except for T20s until 2025 at the earliest. His focus for change isn’t on any of this stuff, but on the ECB’s governance. It is an important issue that needs addressing, but he can’t acknowledge that many of the problems in English cricket are at least partly the fault of himself (and the other chairmen). After all, his whole argument is that the ECB lacks transparency and accountability and yet he hides and dissembles when anything he has done is brought up. He may be an ally in some areas, but not one I’d trust.


        • stephenfh Mar 18, 2018 / 2:34 pm

          Good questioning. Re the smaller counties voting for the city T20 they are heavily dependent (now) on pooled ECB funds which I gather is a tap that the ECB management can (and does) turn on/off over the course of the year….turkeys will sign up for Christmas if grabbed by the throat in August etc.

          After the Ashes Geoffrey B was talking sense about the businessmen running domestic cricket, a supporting cast of a sort for those at the top of the ECB and a cultural problem for the game. If the city T20 turns out to be somewhere between being misjudged and a debacle hopefully more sense may follow.


          • oreston Mar 18, 2018 / 6:11 pm

            No, it’ll be swept under the carpet as usual and they’ll carry blithely on, hoping no one noticed – which won’t be too difficult because most of the population will have had very little awareness of it and simply won’t care. Large sums of money will have been pissed up the wall and the game as a whole in England will be in even deeper shit. If you’re hoping for a sudden outbreak of accountability at the ECB then I really wouldn’t hold your breath while you wait.

            Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 9:17 am

          Seen to many “converts” on “our side” revert to type when thrown a bone. 2 Cardiff franchise fixtures a year keep you quiet? Jobs a good one.

          Great stuff with him Danny.


  12. Benny Mar 17, 2018 / 10:32 pm

    For most of cricket’s history, it has thrived on and prospered with great players. Only fairly recently has cricket been inflicted with administrators. In that respect, KP is unlucky. He did what English cricket always needs – scored lots of runs, won matches, entertained the audience.

    It would be revealing to compile an XI of players, who disturbed the establishment e.g. Boycott, Gower, KP, Botham, Close …….

    Liked by 1 person

    • hatmallet Mar 19, 2018 / 7:15 pm

      Tbf, I think administrators have been getting in the way for decades. Just look at post-Bodyline and how Larwood was banished. You can probably go even further back than that.


  13. LordCanisLupus Mar 18, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    Cook speaks to Newman and you had better beware.

    Cook is “reborn”. Amazing how when others go through long bad trots in their 30s their eyes are going, but there you go.

    There’s another “I almost quit” load of tosh. We’ve had our fill of those.

    “You always doubt yourself,’ he said. ‘That’s a natural thing. It doesn’t get any easier the more you play. When a slightly older player isn’t scoring many runs it’s an easy story to write. Is he going to give up? Is he thinking about it?

    ‘I questioned myself when it got tough. Am I still good enough to play at the real elite level? I knew the hunger hadn’t gone but was it all worth it? Melbourne was as hard as it could be mentally because I was thinking ‘if I get another couple of low scores things are really going to get hard for me.’ So to bat the way I did..’

    Cook’s habit of not quite finishing sentences was, on this occasion, perfectly eloquent. He made an unbeaten 244 at the MCG and now is clearly confident in his ability to carry on as Root’s senior lieutenant as he attempts to bring consistency to a Test team that has failed to match the one-day progress.

    Perfectly eloquent. Plus, not how this is all me, me, me, I, I, I. Wonder what Downton would have made of this?

    Newman ramps it up, Cook hams it up, and on the day KP hangs his boots up, I feel like puking up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Mar 18, 2018 / 12:53 pm

      “Cook is “reborn”. As what? A Fridge Freezer?

      Memo to Newman…….By the time England got to Melbourne they were 3-0 down, and the Ashes were gone, gone, gone. How typical one innings in a dead rubber becomes your defining moment of an entire tour.


      • oreston Mar 18, 2018 / 6:21 pm

        You know better than to think that the context in which he makes his runs actually matters. Ashes already lost? Dead rubber game? A pitch that couldn’t have been any more of a road if it had a camber and cat’s eyes? La! La! La! The Cookie Cult’s not listening!


        • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 9:12 am

          KP makes a big innings in his 30s in between a few low scores and he’s lacking consistency and his career is on the wane.

          People wonder why I get the raging hump with our reporting.

          Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Mar 18, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      Just about the most predictable juxtaposition imaginable. I mean, WHAT a coincidence.


      • LordCanisLupus Mar 18, 2018 / 5:19 pm

        I didn’t give that a thought until Tregaskis mentioned it on Twitter. Maybe I’m losing my cynicism.


        • nonoxcol Mar 18, 2018 / 5:39 pm

          Newman was (sadly) the first person I thought of when reading Sanket’s post further up.

          He disagrees with Sanket on the legacy and memory issue, and will do his level best to prove himself right over the rest of his own career.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 9:14 am

            Given I’ve not seen Cook speak to anyone else then I may be forced to conclude you were right.

            Which speaks fucking volumes.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Mar 18, 2018 / 7:13 pm

          KP retries, and Newman runs a Cook puff piece.

          The more things change, they more they stay the same. Cook and Newman will be locked into a media time vault of irrelevance for eternity.

          Liked by 1 person

          • thebogfather Mar 18, 2018 / 7:20 pm

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Mar 18, 2018 / 7:51 pm

            What was it 39 said about KP? “He went off in a huff.”

            I bet he would not have used that phrase if the prodigy had gone through with his threat of quitting.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 9:10 am

            A heroic man brought down by those who failed to appreciate his stoic greatness and yeoman qualities.

            Will this do?


      • Sophie Mar 18, 2018 / 8:28 pm

        Well, it’s a change from Newman constantly going on about Mason Crane and how questionable Jack Leach is.


        • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 9:25 am

          This is his latest hobby horse? Not read him for a while so missed this.


    • Mark Mar 19, 2018 / 11:56 am

      Perhaps even Cook will get round to giving us his side of the story. You know….. like he said he was keen to do so back in 2014.

      Funny how that never happened.


      • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 12:26 pm

        Can’t wait for his second autobiography. No prizes who will be his “ghost”.


        • Mark Mar 19, 2018 / 12:38 pm

          What will it be called?

          Ten thousand green bottles hanging on a wall.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 10:26 pm

            Working title… No Sweat.

            You do know he doesn’t sweat? Someone might have said.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 12:27 pm

      It’s never without barbs is it? Same with most I’ve read. It is why Andrew Miller’s is so good. He’s not judging, he’s reporting.

      As for the never Kev people. Your loss. Really.

      Liked by 2 people

        • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 6:58 pm

          You are.

          I’m sick and tired of player of great innings but not a great player cobblers. Only Joe Root in recent times averages more for England over a decent length of time and he’s not at 100 tests yet. For the love of god what do we want from our players?

          There. I’ve said it.

          Liked by 2 people

          • hatmallet Mar 19, 2018 / 7:18 pm

            I think it comes from comparing to players from other countries.

            Pietersen is an England great, as you say, few have better records in recent times.

            At a global level, certainly a player of great innings, but quite a few more have a higher average, so it depends how wide you cast the ‘great’ net.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 10:25 pm

            An England great will do for me. But that’s far too much for some.

            Averages. I place Lara as the best I’ve seen, but he’s well below others with better averages. Same with Viv who barely scrapes 50. A debate.


          • Mark Mar 19, 2018 / 7:38 pm

            Trouble is that the media don’t rate him as an England great. The so called tributes have been lukewarm towards him. As Dmitri says, it’s all about him as a player who scores great innings, but is not a great player.

            You could probably make that case for every great player. Viv Richards scored great innings, and then sometimes he got out cheaply. Doesn’t have the same ring to it. But I doubt Viv ever said …”It’s the way I play.” That statement really pissed people off long before all the trouble started.


          • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 10:23 pm

            They did a poll of journos and pundits in the Cricketer the other month. He was put in the top three by loads of them. Cook, by contrast, barely got a look in for the top 10.

            They talk out of the sides of their mouths. They know what sells, just as we do. We know KP articles get more hits – even in these dead times – but I will not write what I don’t believe. They knew KP sold papers, got clicks, so there was no reason to be fair, or honest, or even impartial. Ramp it up and let the good hits roll. They played the fools, they hyped when needed, and knocked down with relish. Now they have to back up what they wrote then or we could accuse them of being something or other. Stokes seems somewhat dull in comparison, yet he’s rattled the ECB every bit as much as KP ever did. Do you think they really wanted to play him now, or that they were frightened of losing him permanently to the IPL where he’d console himself with the millions he earns? Where’s the outrage about him letting the team down? Where’s the disgrace that he’s playing that texting got?

            You think we are dealing with honesty (rhetorical question, Mark)? Don’t make me laugh.

            Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol Mar 19, 2018 / 9:46 pm

            I remain baffled by how infrequently any retrospective of Later Pietersen ever mentions the 202* at Lord’s in 2011.

            It did actually happen, right? This innings where the series was still alive and he was dead careful for ages and then dominated; his second double in eight months?

            Then he made 175 three Tests later. Apparently. So I’ve heard.

            His great misfortune, of course, was to average only 45ish in a team rising to no.1, when three other blokes averaged closer to 50. No matter that he averaged 5-10 runs more than everyone else in a mediocre side for years beforehand. He only made the easy runs. Or something.

            Liked by 2 people

          • LordCanisLupus Mar 19, 2018 / 10:17 pm

            One in every three innings was over 50.

            He had a decent conversion rate getting 23 hundreds out of 58 scores over 50.

            He had five scores over 90. 5 more over 80. This wasn’t a few great innings in an oasis of nothingness. It’s garbage. The same as it is for diminishing Root because the sod passes 50 frequently in a team that has nearly nothing other than a 10k player on the decline and a couple of headbangers to support him.

            Great point about the 202. All at sea at the start, got away with a disputed catch, then tore India apart. Interesting match without that hundred. I have a soft spot for two earlier hundreds, one at Trent Bridge to seal a series when we collapsed against New Zealand, and the other in the first innings in Napier when we were in dead trouble.

            He’s the best in my lifetime to play for England. And the only ones close are Root and perhaps peak Gower, and the devil (Gooch).

            But text messages. But it’s the way I play. But the IPL.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Sri.Grins Mar 20, 2018 / 4:47 am

    My old take off on sound of music wrt kp in the guardian almost 6 years ago.

    Since he has retired, am reposting it. Apologies to those who have read it earlier on guardian.

    He attacks a Knight and gets a fine
    Many a time we feel he is not in line
    He waltzes out to left arm spinners
    And gets taken to the cleaners

    He does not have a thick skin
    And that for an Englishman is a sin
    He even has many tattoos on his arm
    Doesn’t he understand the harm
    I even read him praising for God’s sake the IPL

    He is never late for training
    And his efforts for us are amazing

    But he never maintains the stiff upper lip
    Though he catches well at slip
    I hate to have to say it
    But it doth verily seem
    KP’s not an asset to the team
    We should fire him even if we lose steam

    I’d like to say a word in his favor
    KP makes cricket a game to savor

    How do you solve a problem like KP?
    How do you deal with him and pin him down?
    How do you find a word that means KP?
    A mercenary! A petulant child! A clown!

    Many a thing you know you’d like to tell him
    Many a thing he ought to understand
    But how do you make him stay
    And listen to all you say
    How do you keep a wave upon the sand

    Oh, how do you solve a problem like KP?
    How do you hold quicksilver in your hand?

    When I’m watch him I’m confused
    Out of focus and bemused
    And I never know exactly where I am
    Is he going to make us win?
    And turn a crowd from despair to noisy din
    Will he play a shot that sends us in a tailspin?
    And make every armchair expert talk of his cardinal sin
    Unpredictable as our weather
    He’s as flighty as a feather
    He’s a delight! He’s a greedy devil! He’s the kind of talent we never had!

    He’d come in as if on a catwalk
    Drive a Flower to annoyed talk
    He is great! He is wild!
    He’s a riddle! He’s a child!
    He’s a headache! He’s divine!

    How do you solve a problem like KP?
    How do you deal with him and pin him down?
    How do you find a word that means KP?
    A mercenary! A petulant child! A clown!

    Many a thing you know you’d like to tell him
    Many a thing he ought to understand
    But how do you make him stay
    And listen to all you say
    How do you keep a wave upon the sand

    Oh, how do you solve a problem like KP?
    How do you hold quicksilver in your hand?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Miami Dad's Six Mar 20, 2018 / 10:42 am


      That part of his career where he couldn’t even contemplate in his head what to do with left arm slow bowlers was mildly amusing. Watching a true great really struggle with the basics, which was actually more a mental than technical battle – then overcome them – was great. I think we all lived it, as much as we lived the successes, and it’s because every time he got out was a disappointment and detrimental to the match.


  15. Miami Dad's Six Mar 20, 2018 / 10:33 am

    I’m not sure I even have the energy to comment on it any more, so I appreciate the article.

    All I’d say is, given the absolutely belting middle order that England have had in the past 4 years, in all formats of the game, KP wasn’t even remotely missed.

    * smokes crack *

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Zephirine Mar 20, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    I notice that Andy Bull and Andrew Miller both highlight that Pietersen’s attitude to England cricket was never the same after he lost the captaincy:
    That changed him. Afterwards he sometimes seemed to be batting in spite of English cricket rather than in service to it, as if he felt the only thing left to prove was how wrong everyone else was.

    When you think about it, one of the more bizarre things in the saga of KP and the ECB and the media has been the attitude to that loss of the captaincy.

    Other players who relinquish the captaincy for various reasons are subject to interviews and discussions about how easy or not it will be to step back into the ranks.

    But with Pietersen – quite apart from the murky circumstances in which he lost the captaincy – it seems there was an unspoken agreement Inside Cricket that he should never have been captain anyway and we should all just pretend that he never was. It should not be mentioned. He should go back to being a batsman and not presume to offer opinions or exert seniority.

    OK, he wasn’t captain for very long, but he wasn’t bad at it. His man management might always have been iffy but his tactics would certainly have developed, with time. And there’s no doubt he took it very seriously indeed.

    Liked by 4 people

    • nonoxcol Mar 20, 2018 / 3:17 pm

      I wish Andy Bull had written more like that in 2014.

      (still no 202* Lord’s or 151 Colombo, I notice…)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tregaskis Mar 20, 2018 / 7:23 pm

      My recollection is that Hugh Morris asked Pietersen, at the time, to review and report on an underperforming team, which Pietersen took to include the contribution and impact of the coach – but Morris did not much like the feedback. Relinquishing the services of both Moores and Pietersen as a result was as ugly and responsibility-shifting as anything the ECB did in the next five or six years. Let’s not suggest all evil began with Gile Clarke. He just finessed it as a fine art.

      Liked by 3 people

  17. Silk Mar 21, 2018 / 7:32 am

    Oh. I wrote at TFT a rambling rant on the perception of ‘Englishness’ and how, because KP doesn’t have that, or even explicitly rejects that, he (like a number of others) was treated differently.

    For many, if not most, of his critics it doesn’t go deeper than that. (cf. the current ODI Captain and views expressed about him).


    • Mark Mar 21, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      While I don’t doubt there is a small group of England fans who don’t like KP because he was not born in England, and was from SA I don’t accept that is the main reason for the hatred towards him.

      Alan Lamb, Robin Smith, Graeme Hick, didn’t suffer the kind of unhinged craziness we have seen. Tony Greig only became a hate figure when he left to go and play for Packer. Up till then he got treated pretty well as England captain. He wasn’t even dropped after his so called “grovel” comment.

      England also have a number of players who were not born in England playing for them. Stokes was born in NZ, and gets a pretty good press considering his off the field antics. Isn’t it true that Strauss was born over seas?

      No,the hatred to KP was he didn’t know his place, and defied the England management , because they in turn denied him the chance to go and play IPL cricket for a small fortune. Also his individual, some say selfish attitude doesn’t fit the so called more gentler English mind set. We like our players to pretend to be nice, even when they aren’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. jomesy Mar 21, 2018 / 10:26 am

    Was the “Thank you” tweet from the ECB the long-awaited feteing of KP we knew, courtesy of Selvey, was due now the dust has settled?

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol Mar 21, 2018 / 10:43 am

      If I’m not mistaken, that line is from the article that spawned the all-time greatest comments section, isn’t it?

      The whole shambles was almost worth it* just to see Selvey get so comprehensively trashed (and the mods earn their overtime bonus) that day.

      *I don’t mean this, obvs.


      • jomesy Mar 21, 2018 / 1:32 pm

        Correct – and it was a high water mark article wasn’t it. I think it was that article which got me into pre-moderation at the G….for bloody ages and for nothing that I could see was contrary to their guidelines.


  19. Zephirine Mar 21, 2018 / 2:06 pm

    What is both sad and interesting, in this era of fake news, is to see how the ‘news management’ and tabloidisation regarding Pietersen has had such a lasting effect. You still find comments BTL asserting that he fell out with every county he played for, that he texted instructions on how to get Strauss out, that he undermined everyone in Australia in 13/14, in spite of publicly available evidence and frequent, patient, detailed explanations by other commenters over the years that these things simply aren’t true. You still find people saying he was sacked for writing a book that he wrote after he was sacked.

    It’s true more than ever in this Twitter world that a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on, and it also seems that the lies just keep running after the truth has given up and gone home.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Silk Mar 21, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Zeph – I work in climate change. If you think KP has problems w.r.t. false claims which persist on the internet, in spite of patient explaination and detailed evidence, have some sympathy for those of us who work in areas of science which are ‘politically contested’!


      • Zephirine Mar 21, 2018 / 3:37 pm

        Ha, yes Silk, I can imagine!

        There are too many examples from politics as well, but I didn’t go there owing to the very sensible house rules.


    • nonoxcol Mar 21, 2018 / 3:00 pm

      The power of propaganda has never been more obvious in my lifetime (45). There’s a great post on page 5 of the comments below Andy Bull’s piece, comparing Pietersen’s actions to those of certain other Test cricketers, without mentioning names. Few even have this sort of perspective though, thanks largely to the relentless assassination of one man’s character (and the absurd hagiography of his ever-blameless nemesis) between 2012 and 2014.

      Meanwhile, our old friend clivejw has posted this appreciation on Twitter, courtesy of one of the writers safely on our side of the schism:

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Mar 21, 2018 / 3:03 pm

        “the most disgraceful buck-passing and self-preservation I have come across in 36 years of scribbling notes.”
        Mike Walters on the obvious.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. d'Arthez Mar 21, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    So Scotland are eliminated on two umpiring howlers (one against WI and one against Ireland), so Windies (they rebranded) sneak in. Congratulations. Because obviously, the umpire’s decision is final, no matter how ludicrous it is. And obviously it was beyond the ICC to have a form of DRS available. Nah, rather just FIX the tourney, and make certain the ACSU does not bother to investigate. There is simply no integrity left in the scripted entertainment.

    It is also beyond the IC to ensure that no team has home advantage. I am guessing the reason is simply that no country outside the 10 Full Full Members (Afghanistan and Ireland don’t count, they are only nominally Full Members), has more than 1 cricket ground that is up to international standards.

    Now, unless UAE cause a massive upset and beat Zimbabwe (unlikely, since UAE lost all their games in the Super Sixes by massive margins), the ten financial powerhouses of cricket (compared the to rest of the nations) will be in the “Who loots the most money Cup”. You would almost think cricket is a sport, rather than regulated financial doping, just milking of people’s ignorance of the ICC’s machinations. I wonder when people will disabuse themselves of such silly notions.

    Liked by 3 people

    • nonoxcol Mar 21, 2018 / 3:44 pm

      *sees footage*

      Holy shit. Makes S Ravi look competent.

      That’s all I’ve got.

      International cricket is f*cked.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 21, 2018 / 10:49 pm

      Some absolute moron came on and the central case was Adil averaged 42 and Warne 25.

      I share oxygen with that cretin.

      Here is one. Cook averages 46. Bradman 99.94. Ergo drop Cook.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Mark Mar 21, 2018 / 4:42 pm

    I find this line from many of the tributes to be a bit of a cliche…..“KP was a “player of great innings rather than a great batsman”.

    Could some one tell me what the official definition of a great player is? And how many great innings does a so called great player have to make in his career to be classed as great? Or does he not have to make many great innings as long as he keeps his average over 50?

    Also, in judging a great player does one take into consideration the quality of the opposition bowling attacks? KP came in for the latter part of Warne and McGrath. And we saw how good they still were in their last series together in 2007. Steyn was pretty good as well. KP wasn’t able to deal with Michael Johnson’s in 2014 but then neither were most other England players as we got beaten 5-0.

    Finally, a long over looked issue, and one much sneered at by the freeloading pundits is who would you choose to spend your money on watching? The media don’t regard this as important because they happily wave their press pass and get in for free. But do people like to be entertained? While one can appreciate the skill of the plodding opening batsman and understand its a job that needs doing, would you rather pay your hard earned to watch something more exciting?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Mar 21, 2018 / 6:42 pm

      Gooch didn’t have a great career average…


  22. Rohan Mar 21, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Great stuff Dmitri, reminds me of some of your HDWLIA posts and the great sanctuary I found in that place of like minded types, who were prepared to question the status quo. Keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 21, 2018 / 10:44 pm

      Thanks. Seems as though KP brings the best/ worst out of me.

      Wasn’t that lovely of Strauss to be nice this evening?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rohan Mar 22, 2018 / 10:55 pm

        I though Srauss’s comments were a joke. It almost smacked of ‘I’m great me and I’ll give you some feint praise, for which you should be very grateful’…….


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