What did Pi­etersen do?

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

Is Kevin Pi­etersen’s sack­ing from the Eng­land cricket team a man­age­ment fail­ure or an in­dict­ment on a player whose per­son­al­ity proved im­pos­si­ble to han­dle?

On sta­tis­tics, it is im­pos­si­ble to jus­tify Pi­etersen’s treat­ment.

He has scored 8181 test runs at 47.3, with 23 cen­turies. That means he is the fourth high­est run-scorer in Eng­land test his­tory, ahead of greats such as Hobbs, Ham­mond, Hut­ton, Comp­ton, May, Cow­drey and Boy­cott. He is No2 on the list of cen­tury- mak­ers, be­hind Alas­tair Cook.

In the lat­est Ashes se­ries, in which Eng­land were thrashed 5-0, Pi­etersen was dis­ap­point­ing by his stan­dards, with 294 runs at 29.4, but that was still the most runs in the se­ries scored by an Eng­land bats­man. Yet Pi­etersen has been cast out, ap­par­ently for all time.

What­ever he did while tour­ing Aus­tralia, it must have been ter­ri­ble.

Pi­etersen has been a tick­lish prob­lem for Eng­land. The man­age­ment have wanted to run an ex­tremely reg­i­mented set-up, and that has not suited an in­di­vid­ual such as Pi­etersen.

In Aus­tralia, re­ports in­di­cated he was pitch­ing in well to help team-mates and train­ing hard.

Maybe it was as sim­ple as want­ing a scape­goat and Pi­etersen be­ing con­ve­nient. Never mind that Trott, Swann and Prior had al­ready fallen by the way­side.

Team coach Andy Flower and cap­tain Cook should look at them­selves. They have been heav­ily re­spon­si­ble for this dras­tic ac­tion. If there was a prob­lem with Pi­etersen, their man­age­ment needs to be held up to the spot­light.

This sort of thing hap­pens all too of­ten. A player whose face doesn’t fit is dropped for rather spu­ri­ous rea­sons.

In 1949, the Aus­tralian se­lec­tors dropped Keith Miller for a tour of South Africa. Miller was a mag­netic per­son­al­ity and a gen­uinely great all-rounder, one of the three or four best ever.

But he and Don Brad­man didn’t of­ten see eye to eye, so the se­lec­tors, with Brad­man a dom­i­nant fig­ure, dropped him, as ris­i­ble as that was.

Miller was another in­di­vid­ual sort of bloke. He tended to turn up for a day’s play still wear­ing evening wear from the night be­fore, and he as­so­ci­ated with the odd woman or two (in­clud­ing, it’s said, Princess Mar­garet). He liked a punt and a beer.

On the other hand, he was a trea­sured team-mate and tremen­dous bats­man and bowler. His test per­for­mances never suf­fered be­cause of his life­style.

But Brad­man didn’t like him, so he was dropped, even if only tem­po­rar­ily.

Is it like that with Pi­etersen?

It’s tricky. New Zealand’s se­lec­tors are wrestling with what to do with Doug Bracewell and, par­tic­u­larly, Jesse Ry­der, two fine play­ers who keep erring, of­ten when near al­co­hol.

Are they given yet another fi­nal warn­ing, or for­given, or given the Pi­etersen treat­ment and cast adrift?

All I know is that play­ers of the cal­i­bre of Pi­etersen and Ry­der come along rarely.

A good coach or cap­tain should ex­plore all pos­si­ble means of get­ting them on­side, even us­ing un­ortho­dox and rather left-field tac­tics.

That surely didn’t hap­pen with Pi­etersen.

Photo: GETTY

Not wanted: What did Kevin Pi­etersen do that re­quired his ban­ish­ment from the Eng­land team?

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