Monday, November 27, 2006

The Harder they Fall

Shane Warne petulantly throwing the ball at KP during the fourth days play could well come to have the same 'key moment' resonance as Simon Jones's throw at Hayden last summer. Obviously there are key difference - Jones was trying for a run out and the ball genuinely slipped - Warne was delberately aiming for Pietersen's head. For Jones and the rest of the England team, the immediate aftermath was the sign that the bullying from Hayden had to stop. The aftermath yesterday was a stunned look from Gilchrist, a stream of abuse from KP and an airly wave of apology from Warne.

From this angle, it seemed like a sign of intense exasperation. A sign that Pietersen is getting to him. Note that all the talk of KP & Shane as 'best mates' has tended to emenate from the Victorian. KP has made a few comments on the subject, but recently has been brushing enquiries aside.

Former NBA legend, Michael Jordan used to have a tactic of befriending any younger opponent who gave him problems on the court. Such was Jordan's legendary status that the opponent would feel flattered to be invited to play golf, or visit a casino with the walking idol. Once the friendship developed, the competitive edge dulled slightly, and Jordan had eliminated a difficult opponent.

You could argue that Alan Border's 'get tough' policy back in 1989 was following the same theory. Mssrs Botham, Lamb and Gower were ready to continue the wining and dining of previous Ashes encounters - Border called a halt to the whole thing, and things have never quite been the same since.

Warne has tried the same thing with KP. Up until about a year ago, KP was probably quite flattered to be associated with one of the greatest cricketers who ever lived, but now the pendulum has swung and Pietersen is the 'Alpha Dog' in the relationship. The other twenty players in the game will recognise this. Australia will worry that their champion might be in decline, and the other England batsmen will get a huge psychological lift.

Few batsmen have ever had the bottle to get in Warne's face verbally, and more importantly the technique to back up words with deeds. Pietersen is doing both and Warne doesn't like it.

Whether he still has the power to do anything about it remains to be seen. The result will have a bearing on the whole series.


Anonymous said...

...and yet...the poms lost, Warne took some wickets and KP didn't get a century... oh well..

Anonymous said...

One would think that KP would have at least summoned the supposed psychological advantage to help him eke out another 8 runs, or at least bat beyond 4 balls when his country really needed him.

So much for mental toughness!

Anonymous said...

At this stage of his career, KP isn't fit to drink Warnie's piss. Get back to me in 10 years and we can look at the relative position each of them hold in the history of the game.

It seemed obvious to me that the ball throwing incident was identical to the Jones/Hayden situation last Ashes series, ie Warne only meant to throw the ball to the keeper, but was off with his aim. I don't know why he should be crucified for the act when for Jones it was only seen as a "we're here and we're serious" type statement.

Anonymous said...

it seems a very specious extraneous reading of a relationship you are not a party to..

perhaps you should write a psychology blog rather than one of a cricketing nature?

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