What I am interested in is whether KP (one of my heroes) should be allowed to make such comments in public and if not why not? It seems to me that comments which are not offensive/abusive, and are not palpably untrue should be perfectly permissible. The media, including Nick Knight (I dont believe he was complaining or arguing that KP should not make such comments in fairness), are perfectly entitled to comment upon KP, be it his form or other aspects of his lifestyle. Why is he not permitted to do the same as long as it is done in a reasonable fashion? Twitter, in my opinion has greatly enhanced the connection between sports stars and the ordinary fan. It has also provided a platform for debate on an infinite number of subjects where all can comment and participate. I think this is democracy in action.
The ECB rely upon contractual terms with KP which he is now found to be in breach of. This no doubt has much to do with the Sky 4 year contract to show live International and County cricket and which is reputedly worth more than £260 million. Again in my view this punishment is unnecessary and simply introduces a bland dullness to the cricketing scene.
KP has announced his intention to continue with Twitter. Good for him. The ECB should save its ire for more important matters. If Sky is sensitive about this, it should man up.
KP has today announced his retirement 'with immediate effect' from limited overs internationals (ODIs and T20s). What a great pity! He is one of the great entertainers.One cannot help but conclude that this decision is a direct response to the ECB sanction. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The ECB should have a long hard look at itself.
|Death of the Game|
KP is in far more trouble now. He has this week questioned whether he will continue to play for England after the forthcoming vital 3rd test match at Lords v South Africa. Pietersen was Man of the Match at Headingley scoring an amazing 149, but in the post match interviews he spoke of issues regarding his contract and his desire to play a full season of IPL. That issue is all about money and the time required to make it. In other words Pietersen wants to play less for more. Many others, in other walks of life, would feel the same way.
Pietersen is already excluded from the T20 World Cup. He did not make himself generally available for that form of the game and could not negotiate an exception for that tournament. Obviously team spirit and even handedness are prerequisites of a strong team, but as fans (thats me) we are to be deprived of one of the most entertaining and exciting players in the game. For me cricket has lost some of its gloss (there is far too much!), but when I know KP is batting I am glued to the TV.
Anyway I wake to news that KP was sending less than complimentary texts to South African opponents during the last test. The texts were allegedly critical of the England Coach, Andy Flower, and the England management in general. One can quite easily imagine their content. The fact of the texts and a suggestion of their content has leaked out. No doubt the South Africans were happy to cause disharmony in the England Camp. However they have not been prepared to divulge the texts themselves making it far more difficult for the ECB to act. I even wonder whether KP has done this deliberately, challenging the ECB to sack him, rather than choosing to walk away himself. Maybe he does not want it anymore and maybe that 149 was simply designed to prove a point before he disappears. Team spirit seems to be disintegrating with KP a constant problem within the camp. I am gutted that he may no longer represent us. I do though acknowledge that there is more to selection than being the greatest weapon we have with a bat in his hands.
In time the IPL, its pretty meaningless at the end of the day, as is 20/20 generally, except as short term entertainment, will have a lot to answer for. The death of meaningful cricket even.
KP recants and says is now available for England full time in all forms of cricket including ODIs and 20/20. England respond by dropping him. So we face SA in make or break test without our best batsman, somebody who scored a brilliant 149 in the last test. And why? Truly freedom of speech, even the right to make a fool of yourself, has been taken away. When test cricket dies, those who run the game will have nobody to blame but themselves.
However it is said that amongst these controversial texts passed off as 'banter' by KP are stinging criticisms of England Capt Andrew Strauss and opinions as to how to get him out. I doubt South Africa needed that assistance, but nonetheless it is particularly disloyal to offer such opinions. Has KP signed his own test cricket death warrant? If so it is a self inflicted tragedy, but one which will impact on those who love the way he plays test cricket.