Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Crawling from the Wreckage

So there we have it - KP becomes the Lady Jane Grey of England cricket captains.

In simple terms, he thought Moores wasn’t up to the job and said so. But obviously it goes far deeper than that.

There's been comment that he should have taken his complaints through the proper channels, but think that through for a second. Who were the proper channels? Hugh Morris - a close personal friend of Peter Moores since they played in the same junior side together over 25 years ago. The ECB committee - the very same people who appointed Moores in the first place. At this time it's worth pointing out that they appointed Moores without bothering to interview anyone else for the job - way to go lads!

For the ECB to have deferred to Pietersen, however correct they thought he was, would have been an admission that their initial judgment was wrong, and, tacitly, that the process through which Moores rose through the coaching ranks was also flawed.

In any event - who's to say he didn't try taking his compliant to the people he was supposed to, and just got the standard establishment brush off.

So, because he realised that the presence of Moores as coach was likely, in his view, to prevent England fulfilling their full potential, he spoke out publicly. I’m not sure if he quite realised the ultimate impact of what he said.

If he did realise, then what he’s done is extraordinary – effectively given up his cherished job as England skipper for the sake, in his eyes, of England getting a better coach (he's played under Fletcher so he knows what a good coach can do) and a chance of beating Australia this summer.

Somewhat inevitably, there has been press speculation of a divided England dressing room - and you can imagine that the ECB spin doctors haven't been doing much to dampen down those rumours in the past few days. I say inevitably, because most of the England team don’t strike me a being instinctive rebels, and a lot of them aren’t particularly confident about keeping their place, so would be loath to do anything to rock the boat – and you can’t rock the boat much more than try to get rid of your coach.

Then there's Strauss’s role in the whole affair. Excuse me if I'm overplaying the conspiracy card here (just point me in the direction of the nearest grassy knoll) but how about this. He was clearly miffed he didn’t get the nod when Vaughan retired. He's part of the cricketing establishment – plays for Middlesex, posh school, posh accent - unlikely to put a word out of place, and happy to toe the party line without fear of him starting any fires. In short - he's a safe pair of hands. Is it too far fetched to imagine him being the source of the 'leaks' about divisions in the ranks?

Handily for the ECB, he scored runs in India, so when they came to announce the replacement he’s someone safe in the side and it's a simple choice that everyone can rally behind.

Of course, KP as the folk hero, Strauss as the scheming villain, Moores as the dumb fall guy and the ECB as the incompetent authorities are handy labels to attach to the affair - and much too glib and simplistic to stand up to much analysis (apart from the ECB label) but, hey, we can have our fun.

When all's said and done though, it's all one hell of a mess.

One small crumb of comfort. Ask yourself who Australia would rather face this summer. A KP weighed down by the cares of captaincy - or one who can devote himself entirely to scoring a stack of runs, and winning back the urn - which was what he was trying to do in the first place.


NeilBD said...

I enjoy reading your stuff - don't agree with much of it, but it's very entertaining!

keep it up.


Mark said...

Erm - thanks!