Cricketers over the generations have always known one thing.
To be selected for any representative side involves an imperfect balance of luck, results, perceptions, a vacancy that can be occupied and a belief from the selectors that you are the right guy.
Today, the ECB’s new Director of Cricket, Andrew Strauss, added another ingredient.
It’s a fair thing to request.
No team wants to play with a guy whom they don’t want to be around or talk openly with.
A team needs to be united.
It is easy to to find fault with Kevin Pietersen’s character if you choose to.
He’s an arrogant South African born self centered extrovert who sent messages to his native countrymen about how to get Strauss out (which Strauss later acknowledged was not the content of the messages). He wrote a tell all book that articulated his version of events, including a rather blunt assessment of past teammates and the culture of English cricket.
However, this stance is rather narrow.
Teams in all sports require a mix of personalities and it is a leader’s job to manage them.
Cook was unable to do this. Moores was unable to do this. Downton was unable to do this. Giles Clarke was unable to do this.
Rather than acknowledge self weakness, they chose to sack England’s best ever batsman after he had just top scored for them in an away Ashes series.
While on the sidelines, the ECB leaked like the hull of the Titanic. It did everything in its power to own the conversation. Dossiers and false stories of gifts being returned where favourites.
Broken confidentiality agreements.
Andrew Strauss calling Pietersen a ‘c$nt’ live on air.
The problem with this new ‘trust’ stance is that the ECB have displayed little themselves. Their manipulative and Orwellian stance is at odds with its new message.
One who lives in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Strauss says that Pietersen has not been banned from the English team. He just won’t be considered this summer due to trust.
The issue here is that apart from Cook and perhaps Anderson, there is no one left in the team that has an issue with Pietersen.
Isn’t it the team that needs to trust him?
Wasn’t it Pietersen who first alerted the ECB about Trott’s issues. Isn’t it Pietersen whom many a younger player have stated they would love to be like, play like, get mentored by or play with?
It appears that Strauss has allowed his personal feud to flow into the workplace. Is this soft little pettlebush really not thick skinned enough to put English interests before his own pride?
It could be concluded that Strauss has had his feelings hurt, and given his new role, that is clearly unacceptable. As we all now must realise, the feelings and self worth of an administrator come before anything else. Well, at least they do in the eyes of the ECB.
What player would now trust that the ECB understands the imperfect balance that needs to be managed in regards to team selection, when the captain gets two years of chances to make a scratch hundred against a team ranked 8th? Why would the ECB not give a guy who has made 351* the same chance? Pietersen’s 351* for Surrey was against a team in the County second division. However, is that bowling attack any worse than what Cook faced in the West Indies? Was his century over there really so much better than a 351*?
People make mistakes. We are all fallible.
Strauss has proven it. Pietersen has proven it.
However, to use the word ‘trust’ as a shield due to an inability to act as a leader is just another poor choice in a long history of poor choices by the ECB.
To top it off, Strauss is reported to have offered Pietersen an advisors role in regards to short form cricket. You can’t help but laugh.
Remember when the ECB trusted Allan Stanford? That turned out well.