Knives out at the ECB


Well, that was quite the 24 hours, wasn’t it? Here’s the Beeb’s Tom Fordyce:

There’s something terribly English about the whole sorry shaboodle. Just as the Australian team looks to be at its weakest in a quarter of a century, with a home Ashes series just around the corner and barely a ticket left for any of the five Tests, English cricket has taken careful aim and shot itself in both feet.

Other countries lose their head coach. Others lose captains. It’s to be expected. But it takes a special kind of skill to lose both coach and captain on the same morning.

I could have told you this was coming. In fact, I nearly did. But I didn’t expect it to work out this way. Of course, there had been talk for a long time about Moores, the product of the Fletcher coaching setup, being out of his depth, and what might loosely be called sources close to Pietersen hadn’t missed the opportunity to play them up. But then again, since KP had been a good boy of late, people had tended to forget his fallings out with South Africa and with Nottinghamshire. It was probably inevitable that he was going to fall out with the ECB sooner or later.

If I could offer Pietersen just a little advice, it’s never to let Shane Warne talk him into a game of poker, because he does seem to have a tendency to overplay his hand. A smarter captain, or a less egotistical captain, would have worked the dressing room, got a consensus of the players, then gone on a diplomatic offensive with the ECB. If it’s true what Aggers was saying on the news, that he reckoned he had the team solidly behind him but then it turned out he didn’t, well, that just proves he didn’t do his groundwork. Not to mention going into print with the split and, if reports are to be believed, handing the board a back-me-or-sack-me ultimatum. Look, Pietersen may be England’s best batsman by a mile – a fact he’ll be the first to remind you of – and therefore have a guaranteed slot in the team, but any fool could have told him that if you say “back me or sack me” to your employers, there’s a better than even chance you’ll be sacked.

And to provoke this over such a dopey issue as demanding Vaughan’s inclusion in the West Indies squad… No, no, no. If Vaughan wants to play for England again, his first priority is to get some runs for Yorkshire. Vaughan himself has said so. Anyway, there’s supposed to be a panel of selectors to pick the squad, of which the captain is one. If Pietersen reckons that the captain can select the team on his own, someone should remind him that Lord Hawke has been dead for seventy years.

So now the ECB do the sensible thing, what I would have been tempted to do in the first place, and hand the captaincy to the team’s other South African. Meanwhile, you have a team that’s coachless, factionalised, with plenty of potential for a disgruntled Pietersen to make trouble, and a tour coming up in two weeks. Dear God, shambolic barely begins to cover it.


  1. January 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I’m disappointed. I was looking to you to draw out the parallels with the shenanigans inside the central committee of the SWP…or perhaps your last couple of sentences were a lightly encoded attempt to do so?

  2. organic cheeseboard said,

    January 9, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I can’t imagine all those journos who called KP ‘the strongest england captain for a generation’ are particularly happy right now. i actually think Vaughan went too early, despite his poor form, and collingwood’s simulteaneous exit didn’t help at all either.

  3. Andy newman said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

    “But it takes a special kind of skill to lose both coach and captain on the same morning.”

    Which reminds me of the old problem of the selctors, who though that can’t bat, can’t bowl made you an all rounder.

    And I still thank Pietersen is a potentially great captain, if he could have stuck to the captain’s job of tactical decisions on the field of play, and pastoral management of the players.

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