Let me tell you something that you probably didn’t know.
The ECB are a rabble. They are Cirque du Soleil quality clowns. They make decisions using the same logic as Paul the Octopus.
However, beyond all these accolades, they were 100% united in a single cause. That cause being the destruction of Kevin Pietersen.
That story has been done to death. You know the lyric. It’s a worn out song about England’s highest ever run scorer being sacked for undisclosed reasons that soon became disclosed with the leak of a farcical dossier. In response, KP released a book and basically took a dump from a great height on cricket administrators and his ex team mates.
Well, today that song reaches its crescendo.
New ECB Chairman Colin Graves has said that if Kevin wants back in, it’s best he start playing County cricket.
Let’s have a quick look at this and break it down a little.
Firstly, and most importantly, Kevin Pietersen was sacked. Fired. Shown the door. Given the pink slip.
He didn’t retire. He wasn’t injured. He wasn’t rested. He was given his marching orders.
I don’t know about you, but I’m yet to work in an organisation where a worker fired for disciplinary reasons is shown a pathway back. Strong organisations move on. This is what the ECB’s wondrous orators in CEO Downton and coach Peter Moores have led us to believe.
There now appears to be some misalignment of message. Highly unusual for the normally in-sync ECB.
That last sentence was sarcasm.
The next piece of the puzzle is to see where Pietersen would get a gig in a County side. I’ll bet my left testicle it is not Surrey, where he was recently ‘released’. Although Kevin will state his presence there all but blessed their playing fields with holy water, privately, Surrey officials have a somewhat different view.
Suffice to say that both sides will be pleasant enough to each other, but KP won’t be offered a spot back given Surrey want to promote ‘younger talent’.
So where will he play? Who will have him?
If I was a gambling man, I reckon it will be a County who is on the cusp of having / not having a Natwest T20 Blast franchise. KP will be a short term play to increase ground patronage and membership. This will be used as leverage against the ECB to ensure they don’t miss out.
However, what about Pietersen himself?
His biggest mistake so far has been to remove himself from the County system. He has had a gap year. One where he achieved some success in T20 circles, but not one where he did anything in a First Class game.
Seeing how strong he is at managing the conversation, and sensing he won’t trust the ECB not to make a fool of him again, I reckon he will pass on the opportunity.
His knee will flare up or his family will take precedence. Something like that.
Whatever the story, Kevin will own the narrative. But the fairytale, although conceptually sound, will never be played out.
KP won’t take the risk on being hung out to dry by the selectors. He will understand that a poor start to the season will leave him in purgatory. He won’t be selected and he won’t be able to quit without looking like a selfish douche.
Clearly, England’s World Cup campaign results have caused Colin Graves to make the KP comments. One day later, and the tactical genius of the move is now being appreciated.
Some will be saying ‘I told you so’ and that this is a reactionary gesture from a floundering English cricket system.
Wiser heads will see that this is just a starting point.
However, it ends with the ECB taking back ownership of the Kevin Pietersen narrative and leaving KP in a position that whatever move he next makes, it will be lined with risk.
Risk, that I’m predicting Kevin will not have the courage to face.