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Posted on | November 19, 2012 | 4 Comments
Kevin Pietersen must now stop making excuses and go out and bat and win games for England.
When someone has a special talent such as Kevin Pietersen it is a shame for that person not to be allowed to express it on the world stage for us all to enjoy.
Cricket is a unique sport. When you bat and bowl you are on your own.
Nobody can play the shots or bowl the ball for you. But you are also an individual within a team framework. There is room for talented people because nobody wants to watch 11 robots. There is even room for awkward so-and-so’s as long as everyone is clear about the team objective and the individual doesn’t put ‘I’ before ‘team’. You do not even have to like each other or go out and socialise with everyone. In fact it is a good thing that the players want to spend some time away from each other because nowadays they are together an enormous amount of time travelling, practising and playing. But when Alexandre Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers their motto was exactly what it should be in cricket: “All for one and one for all.” I think Kevin has forgotten that. Everyone deserves a second chance so I am glad in some ways that we are going to see him bat for England again. It is quite obvious that during the summer his hubris got the better of him. He came back from the Indian Premier League with bags of money and hangers-on telling him how fabulous he was and it all went to his head to a point where he thought he could and pick and choose when he played for England. I do not think his agent or his advisers did him any favours because whatever advice he was given, it took him a hell of a long time to apologise to Andrew Strauss, his team-mates and the English public. It took him a month to get to Strauss and two months to issue the apology we heard on Tuesday. Suddenly he has realised if he does not play for England he will be tarnished forever. Sponsors will soon disappear and he will be forgotten. His best friends and advisers should have been telling him immediately it all blew up: “Apologise, hold your hands up and say you are sorry.” If people were telling him to do that, he was not listening. And if they weren’t telling him, he should sack the lot of them. The England and Wales Cricket Board has not made it easy for him. It played hardball while the press he received was terrible. The public also did not buy into his view that he was bigger than the team. At one point it was suggested he blamed a parody Twitter account for all his troubles. He thought his team-mates — Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad — were behind it. But that was just a smokescreen to divert attention. He was the one who sent the texts to the South African players and rocked the boat. There is someone on twitter called Fred Boycott. David Lloyd comes into the commentary box to tell me something funny that Fred Boycott has tweeted. I do not do Twitter. I do not know how to find it. It is partly flattering but it is water off a duck’s back and I don’t care. Move on. That is how Kevin should have treated it. It is part of being in the public eye. If and when he returns to the side the senior players will have to make an effort as well. There will be no problems with the juniors because all they want to do is play and be picked. But the senior guys have to meet him halfway. Kevin cannot expect them to forget all the issues that have brought this to a head. But they need to find it in themselves to forgive him. He needs to show he is worthy of a second chance, because he will not get a third, and his attitude needs to be a lot better. It is quite obvious by giving him a four-month contract, the ECB sees this as a trial period. For it to work, Kevin has to grasp it cannot be everybody else’s fault. In the past he has fallen out with South Africa and left, the same happened at Nottinghamshire and Hampshire. Now he has fallen out with England. There is always this honeymoon period with Kevin and everyone he plays with loves his runs and ability. But then it seems to go wrong and now he should ask himself why that is the case. What changes? Well, it is him, not other people. The puzzling aspect to the past few days is the confusing statements released by Kevin and the board. Kevin said he wanted to apologise to “my team-mates, all the England supporters and the ECB for the situation which has arisen over the last couple of months.” We knew before Tuesday he had already apologised to Strauss. The ECB also said it was satisfied that Kevin did not convey messages that were derogatory. So what was he apologising for if he didn’t do it? Those of us around the game know some of the things that have been going on this summer. The messages he sent were leaked by the South Africans. Eventually, when those players sit down to write their books, we will get to know what Kevin said. I am absolutely sure he is still smarting over the way the ECB sacked him as captain. To do it over the telephone was awful, although I have since learned Hugh Morris felt he had no other option because the decision had been leaked to the press. It was then agreed Kevin could resign and save face. But Kevin has to get over that and move on. From now on Kevin has to accept responsibility for his words and actions. No more problems. No more excuses. Just bat and make us all happy watching him.