Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Leaving out Kevin Pietersen is a sign of weak management

In 1974 and 1975 England left out John Snow, their best fast bowler, because he was thought not to be a good team man.

Snow was one of my favourite players and at the time I held the England captain, Mike Denness, but it later turned out to be the fault of the chairman of selectors, miserable Alec Bedser. He may have been a great bowler in his day, but by then he was a dreadful moaner.

When the time came to select the party to tour Australia in 1982-3 the selectors picked three off spinners, so desperate were they not to include the 'difficult' Phil Edmonds. It was a ridiculous decision - a sort of secular version of the Year of Three Popes.

"Can Eddie Hemmings and Geoff Miller bowl out Australia?" the BBC asked us, trailing the final day's play in the second test at Brisbane. To no one's great surprise they couldn't and Australia won by seven wickets.

The third offie on the tour, incidentally, was the saintly Vic Marks.

Today comes news that the England management has decided that Kevin Pietersen's international career is over. Whoever takes over as the new coach will have to manage without one of England's best players, whatever his opinion of him.

Leaving out strong characters in favour of lesser but more tractable players is not a sign of strong management. It is a sign of weakness.


Gawain said...

The point is not that Pietersen is difficult in the dressing room, though he probably is, but that on the field of play - most recently in Australia when, almost alone, he showed mastery of the bowlers, he has shown himself to be reckless, selfish, headstrong, egotistical, macho and irresponsible in situations where the good of the team called for patience, restraint and responsibility. While, as Marcus Berkmann said, cricket is not a team game, but one for individualists who recognise that ten others must be present; Pietersen has taken that maxim too far and let his team and his country down. A flawed genius, a Coriolanus if you will but one who it is better for the team that he leaves.

Jonathan Calder said...

Other batsmen - notably Ian Bell - got out to silly shots in Australia. Only in Pietersen's case was it seen as a moral failing.

At Melbourne Petersen played with all the discipline you could ask and took the bowling of Johnson. What happened? The other batsmen got themselves out to lesser bowlers at the other end.