Pietersen has an ego, as we all know, but is his ego so disruptive that he shouldn’t be in the team? Not at all.
Ian Botham had an ego, Shane Warne had an ego, Cristiano Ronaldo has an ego. Would these greats of team sport have ever been axed from the team? Not at all.
Pietersen is without doubt one of the greatest English players of all time as well as one of the most entertaining. His statistics speak for themselves really. ‘KP’ ,as he is known, is fourth on the list of English test run scorers, as well as being fourth on the list of English ODI run scorers and top of the list of the English T20 run scorers.
KP has won four Ashes series, helped England become the number 1 test nation and was Man of the Tournament at the 2010 T20 World Cup. His attacking, flamboyant and somewhat unique style has definitely got the best of most bowlers over the last 10 years and sometimes his reputation alone has scared the opposition bowlers into bowling out of their comfort zones.
There’s been a lot of talk about the politics of cricket in the England camp over the last 18 months, and Kevin Pietersen has been at the centre of it all. After the ‘Textgate’ scandal in the summer of 2012, where Pietersen sent text messages about his teammates to his South African opponents, Pietersen’s place in the England dressing room has been hanging on a knife-edge. Since his re-integration to the team, Pietersen has scored 1105 runs @ 36.83 with two hundreds and eight fifties, but he has won a test series in India and won an Ashes series as well in that time.
From what I have seen, on Twitter and from Cricket Journalists, a team meeting was called and during which Pietersen ‘misjudged the mood’ and ‘heavily criticised the coach’. Flower found out what Pietersen had said and tensions blew up over a meeting between the two in a hotel room in Sydney.
Paul Downton, Managing Director of the ECB, was debriefed about the events by Flower then talked with senior players and coaching staff before ‘sacking’ Pietersen earlier this week.
Darren Gough, ex-England quick bowler now with his own radio show on Talksport, has said “I’ve spoken to KP and to other players and he has never had a better relationship with the team than he has at this time. He says it’s the best team environment he’s ever been in. He gets on with everyone.” Which makes this ‘sacking’ ever more controversial.
Pietersen has some very high-profile supporters behind him with the likes of Prime Minister David Cameron in his corner alongside the belligerent Piers Morgan via Twitter. The social network is playing a great part in this debate, with #BringBackKP trending in the UK the other day
My personal opinion on the matter is that no team is ever going to get on with each other 100% of the time, and if you have someone as valuable to the team performance as Kevin Pietersen, you should do all you can to make him want play for you.