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England go nuts with KP

Robbo Robson | 15:03 UK time, Tuesday, 5 August 2008

First of all, well done Vaughany. Shows what a bright bloke he is that he ducked out before the selectors had to fire him.

Interestingly, national selector Geoff Miller had no intention of sacking the skipper and was sure he had a big score around the corner. There must be a lot of bloody corners at HQ is all I can say. English Test players seem to have that luxury all too often. Colly's hundred was magnificent but he shouldn't have been playing - the same with Strauss last year. The selectors have spent so long with their fingers crossed, there must be a severe threat of digital arthritis.

Me, I'm not glad to see the back of Vaughan, not least cos that's where the straggly bits of his heinous mullet gather. That hairstyle alone is proof positive that his judgement had become clouded. It has been clear that Vaughan was the best skipper around, not least during his absence in Australia, but his batting has been pretty rank for a while. The gap between his bat and pad has been marginally smaller than the gap between reality and fiction in the brain of the average Newcastle United fan.

So Vaughan goes and his replacement is... Super Kev, a man who gets up more noses than a prop forward's finger; a man whose ego is so large, the rest of him has to live in an annexe; a man who has always felt like he was drafted into English cricket from Billy Smart's Circus (Inter Galactic Tour).

Now I love KP, if only cos he doesn't fit in. His ridiculous switch-hitting has had the MCC duffers slipping off their deckchairs and slopping Pimms down their ties. His glory-hunting's had the old boys of England's past demanding the bloke sit in stocks on the square at Edgbaston while Geoffrey Boycott takes him through some seriously long anecdotes.

But then he defies the stereotypes. The 2005 last day hundred, when he saved a game by hoicking the fastest bowler in the world into the crowd time and time again, was summat no other batsman could've done, even if the residents in the Blue Bell watched the whole thing through their fingers.

Trouble is, how does someone like that, a showman, a big-head, a me-first-you-lot-later kind of sportsman, get a whole team to play for him?

People'll tell you - well Kev'll tell you - that he has a good cricketing brain. Maybe it's time he took it out of the drawer and replaced the one that currently fills up the gap between his ears.


Kev'll also tell you that he'll be instinctive cos that's what got him where he is today. Fair enough but skippers tend to have to think a bit before they get on the park. Flintoff is instinctive too and he couldn't captain a pedalo, let alone HMS England.

My biggest worry with KP - and Moores the Merrier - is that they're so desperately keen to tell you how POSITIVE they are. I'm fed up of Peter Moores grinning away like a blinking twerp every time England come up short. It's like some monstrous, skinny grey reincarnation of Steve McClaren. There's nowt to be positive about when your batters look like they couldn't pull an inebriate spinster at a swingers' party let alone a short ball from Gunter. There's nowt to be positive about when your frontline pacemen wouldn't get an invite to the same party cos they've forgotten how to swing.

I'm not asking them to turn into Frazer from Dad's Army but reality always seems to be a distant concept to these blokes.

I'd like to see the selectors seize the opportunity to draft in a couple of promising players along with Bopara. Rashid for Panesar, maybe? Shreck for Anderson? Denly for Strauss? There's nowt to lose, is there?

Still, who the hell else was there? Strauss? In his current frame of mind, he makes the average Italian football coach look like Evil Knievel. Key? Maybe but you could be back to square one where a bloke's not getting enough runs but he's got a brain. Freddie? Erm, let's just let the bloke get on with it, shall we? Cook? Yes, but he's a little wet behind the ears.

So here we are: the only choice is the wrong one. It's clear that Pietersen is going to fall short when it comes to man management. I mean if KP can be England's captain then what next?

Gordon Ramsey presenting CBeebies ("now kids, it's time for that *!#?ing waste of space Bob the *#!?ing Builder")? Mike Gatting as fitness coach ("One more pasty each, gentlemen, then it's last one to the ice-cream van pays")? Dale Winton as the caped crusader in Batman 7 -Time to Redecorate the Bat-Cave ("Ooo-er! Now I can see why they call you the Boy Wonder!")?

Amy Winehouse as Ambassador to Bolivia? Jade Goody as Poet Laureate? Boris Johnson as London Mayor?

But at the end of the day, you've got to welcome it, haven't you? It's not going to be business as usual with this bloke in charge. At the press conference Geoff Miller looked like the dormouse in the teapot to KP's Mad Hatter, and it is a surprise that someone quite so timid-looking has made quite such a bold choice. Pietersen could be bloody hopeless but he could be unbelievably inspired too. You just don't know. He doesn't know!

So at least it's going to be interesting... As he kept saying himself "Tarm will tell". The word's 'time' Kev, but yes, time will tell. I give him a year, but it'll be a fun one.


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