Not for the first time, maverick England batsman Kevin Pieterson– KP to the faithful- found himself cast into cold oblivion, not too long after his ‘retirement’ in 2012.
This time, though, the media and hundreds of cricket pundits demand an answer. The ECB have maintained an embarrassing silence citing ‘building team ethics’ as their future plan, in which KP doesn’t figure. Captain Cook and the outgoing Andy Flower are the ones that come across as the spineless leaders here, much like Clarke came across as one when his 4 top players were banned in India. But Clarke made amends, built ties and went onto reintegrate Watson, Johnson and Warner into the test side to preside over one of the most dominant summers ever.
Here, their Ashes rivals, who were on top of the world just a year ago after a rare series win in India, are in tatters. A 12-1 torried Aussie Summer was bound to lead to plenty of ruthless restructuring, but dropping their best bet for a series win against India is hardly the solution. His inconsistency, through his career, was also his strength- much like he had demonstrated after a lean year against India at Mumbai, to play quite simply the greatest test innings by a foreigner on Indian soil. His 186 set the tone for the rest of their season.
KP’s wife- Jessica Taylor– took to Twitter to vent her angst against Dominic Cork, the ex-English quickie, who claimed that KP and Cook had come close to a bust-up in the dressing room after the Melbourne Test. Prior, who had led the team’s voice against Flower after the same test, went cold, refusing to come out in support of KP after ECB’s latest scapegoating tactic. Piers Morgan, the famous English talk show host- known more for his broken ribs by Brett Lee Down Under and his incessantly annoying rants- had a point when he singled out Prior’s backstabbing and Cork’s baseless allegations, demanding the truth to be out. Boucher put it best when he tweeted that ‘Times must be good to drop your best batsman!’, a statement that only reiterated the amount of respect opposition teams seem to have for England’s most dynamic cricketer since Botham. Even ex-captain Michael Vaughan couldn’t control himself, openly declaring his contempt for one of the worst decisions ever made by the ECB- without so much as an explanation. Shane Warne, of course, was typically vocal.
KP had his fair share of fallouts, spats and controversies since his debut in 2005, but time and again, he’d come back and prove to the world how priceless he was. He is consistently top-dollar in IPL cricket, and he was the only reason England won their ONLY global trophy- the T20 World Cup- back in 2010. With the next World Cup (T20 next month) around the corner in Bangladesh, England will be nowhere next to the force it once was in this format. To top it all off, Cook has been their worst batsman for the last 4 months, struggling to find any sort of form.
World Cricket will miss the belligerence of the South-African born Englishman the most. His switch-hit is a cult phenomenon, and despite his stubborn reluctance to curve his flicks against Siddle Down Under, he would always be one of the first names on the team rooster in the subcontinent. The overrated Bell, the overhyped Root and the clueless Cook will be the first to agree, knowing how exposed and hapless they will look after forcing the retirement of England’s best contemporary batsman.