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Pietersen's gamble too far

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Tom Fordyce | 12:43 UK time, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Kevin Pietersen always has been a man to chance his arm.

Perhaps no-one should be surprised that someone who happily switch-hits one of the world's best spinners for six risked his job as England captain in a who-blinks-first contest with Peter Moores and the ECB.

This time, however, the gamble has not paid off. After a mere three Tests as England skipper, the reign of King KP appears to have come to a rapid end.

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.

It's less than six months since Pietersen began his captaincy with that blistering century and win in his first Test in charge, less than four weeks since he was praised to the rooftops for his handling of the team in leading them back to India after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Even then, however, the whispers were circulating.

Pietersen was unhappy with Moores' boot-camp approach to training. Senior players were unhappy with Pietersen's leadership style. Pietersen wanted Michael Vaughan back in his team; Moores did not.

Something had to give. Coaches and captains have to respect each other, if nothing else.

England's rebirth after the low point of home defeat to New Zealand in 1999 came about in large part because of the relationship forged between skipper Nasser Hussain and coach Duncan Fletcher, and continued with the mutual admiration society of Fletcher and Michael Vaughan. When coach and captain saw things differently, as Fletcher and Andrew Flintoff did during the last Ashes series, results went downhill fast.

What no-one foresaw was that Pietersen would be the one to go. While his record as Test captain was perfectly average - one win, one draw and one loss - his star was still in the ascendancy.

He was averaging 52 in both Tests and one-dayers as skipper, up on his numbers before his appointment as captain, and clearly relished being the man in charge.

As his former Hampshire and England team-mate Shaun Udal says, KP wanted the job as England captain "very, very badly".

Moores, having lost four of his seven series as coach, was supposed to be the man in danger.

That both have lost their jobs leaves England rudderless, drifting slowly towards the rocks at exactly the time when a firm hand at the tiller was required.

They leave for the tour of the West Indies in exactly two weeks. In that time the ECB must find a new captain and a new coach, reunite a team seemingly split in two and then convince the rest of the country that this time they've made appointments that will work.

What now for Pietersen? This is the first real set-back he has suffered since leaving his native South Africa in 2001.

The captain's job was the pinnacle of his career. Having lost it once, he's unlikely to be offered it again.

Will the siren call of the IPL now drown out his loyalties to England?

His adopted country must hope not. Pietersen's Test average is better than anyone else's in the team. In the last Ashes series, he scored 490 runs at over 50 an innings. Without him, a middle order which is already patchy starts to look positively threadbare.

England cannot afford to lose him as a batsman. And even if he does commit to the cause - and Pietersen has always been intent on becoming the best Test batsman in the world - how does his ego cope with being demoted to the ranks?

Whoever takes over as Test captain could find himself in charge of a team that contains four previous captains - KP, Flintoff, Paul Collingwood and Vaughan - with his star batsman bursting with resentment.

Then there's the one-day team, thrashed in its last five matches, tactically exposed, so far behind the pace this winter that it became embarrassing.

The likely Test captain, Andrew Strauss, is not in the one-day squad for the Windies tour. Unless the selectors decide to perform a humiliating about-turn, that means a return to split captains, something which has failed every time it's been tried in the past.

Pietersen's singlemindedness and self-belief have been key to the success he's enjoyed as an international cricketer. Unfortunately they may also now have contributed his downfall as England skipper.

Ricky Ponting must have gone to sleep in Sydney wearing a smile the size of the harbour bridge.


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  • Comment number 1.

    If England can't make it without saffa ring ins, they don't deserve to make it anyway. At least this way English cricket keeps its pants up. I also suspect that anybody who claims they didn't see more ego grief in KP's future as captain is no scholar of human character.

  • Comment number 2.

    Not sure how much Pietersen really did want the captaincy, and this ultimatum gos to prove that i feel.

    In a passive battle, he was always going to be the victor over Moores, so why not wait for Moores to be sacked. Instead, he's forced the hand of the ECB into an unavoidable situation.

    That isn't the kind of wisdom and England captain should be displaying

  • Comment number 3.

    England have just lost potentially their greatest captain.

    Even when they lost, they lost with character. That confidence and attitude of a WINNER was slowly trickling down to the rest of the team (even if it meant a short term lack of success, but hey, things can't change overnight, despite what Agnew might think).

    Unfortunately, the English officials just don't want to be winners.

  • Comment number 4.

    Stupid time for this saga to happen. IPL beckons Pietersen, although given the chance he might take up the captaincy again - just the kind of thing the ECB would do!
    I say get rid of Collingwood and Bell who have been dead weight for England recently, and bring in Rob Key and Owais Shah. Rob Key is attacking from the front which England lack and he is the most experienced candidate having won T20 with Kent etc etc.

  • Comment number 5.

    This is a good news, KP was not a good captain, he's our best player and should be left to do his job...scoring centuries.
    The 2nd Test's 2nd innings apart, KP has not done that great since the SA ODI series last year!

    Moores was not up to the job, no harm in it but he was promoted far too early and Moody should have been appointed......the ECB mesed up!

    Strauss is a good captain, did well in Pakistan and lets get Key and Shah in the team..not just the squad!

    Strauss (cp), Key, Cook, KP, Shah, Prior,
    Flintoff, Broad, Harmy, Anderson/Jones and Swann

    No room for Colly (Bell dropped) in a 5 man attack, Freddie is not a number 6 batsmen anymore.

    Colly would be picked if you wanted a batsmen heavy side, like last Test in deciding series if draw is required (e.g. 2005).

    As for Ricky Ponting, he is a terrible skipper, he still sets fields for Warney and Mcgrath! They struggled against an injured saffer side; at the end of an awful 5th day pitch in Sydney! They got spanked in India and at home by SA and they will be lucky to win a Test match in SA in February. Johnson apart, the other bowlers don't look good enough and are very inexperienced. Even with Stuart Clarke, Lee and Jacques/Rogers picked…I still think we would win.....but England MUST get the selection right!

  • Comment number 6.

    I'd like to know what really caused this.
    I suspect it's KP's ego in large part.
    I can just imagine him thinking, whenever Moores made a comment/decision,whatever, "what the ---- do you know about it? you never played international cricket". He would have more respect for someone with a great playing record or even proven international coaching experience.

    Options are limited. Long term I think he'll be back as captain when the dust has settled in a year or two.

  • Comment number 7.

    i find it hard to fathom the depths of idiocracy of the ECB!

    we have one of the best cricketers in the world in KP and yet the board decide to treat him with contempt when he makes his wishes clear. he wanted MV back in the team and understandably so. KP is an inexperienced captain about to undertake a tour of the windies and wanted the reasurance that an experienced senior player would bring to back him up.

    i appreciate that MV has been off form however the guy is a class cricketer and still has a lot to give to top class cricket.

    come back fletcher, all is forgiven!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Comment #1

    If you don't want "saffa ring ins" I take it Strauss won't have your vote for Captain. Similarly, Prior nor Shah have a place in your team. England has always had players from other countries in there ranks, and I don't believe Pietersens dedication to his adopted country is in question.

    I do find it impressive how in a dispute between 2 people the ECB manage to side with neither. This just makes English cricket look more of a laughing stock then it already is!

  • Comment number 9.

    it is laughable that this news should be classed as 'breaking news' on BBC News 24.

    it isn't news at all

    it's irrelevant and useless news

    a tedious sport. a minority sport pumped and hyped by a media that deems cricket to be important.

    A media dominated by posh boys from grammar school who see cricket as the true epitome of englishness and therefore saturate press to exhaustion

  • Comment number 10.

    "Whoever takes over as Test captain could find himself in charge of a team that contains four previous captains - KP, Flintoff, Paul Collingwood and Vaughan - with his star batsman bursting with resentment."

    So what? This is a problem only if the players have inflated egos over and above their real worth. Dhoni's team vs the Aussies had Sachin, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly ... all ex-skippers. And yet the team conducted itself magnificiently and Dhoni's gesture of asking Ganguly to take over the reins for 30 minutes was simply fabulous.

    KP's bloated ego clearly indicates he wouldn't have been successful as skipper at any rate. And the ECB have at last displayed their courage and forthrightness by delivering a blunt rebuke to KP. I think this will only help the England team in the long run.

  • Comment number 11.

    Who cares-its only cricket-probably the most boring sport on the planet next to F1 and synchronised swimming.

    Play more hockey.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm not entirely sure why people feel that this is Peter Moores' fault. Pietersen is the one that precipitated the whole situation and exacerbated it through his column in the News of the World.

    I'm not saying that Moores is necessarily up to the task but this whole mess does not seem of his making.

  • Comment number 13.

    Spot on, for the most part, but I take issue with the statement that split captains have 'always failed'. Can you cite statistics showing that the teams have been more successful under a single captain than under split captains? The ECB's preference for a single captain is based purely on their whim rather than what's best. The other test captains are also ODI captains because they are good enough in both forms of the game. England may not be so fortunate, but that doesn't mean we should be scared of split captains as a concept.

  • Comment number 14.

    Whilst Andrew Strauss is the easy option, is he the best? With Ian Bell's poor form, I think Rob Key as captain and No. 3 would be a better bet.

  • Comment number 15.

    No doubt KP and Moores had their faults but the ECB is soley to blame for this mess. I do not believe for one second that KP and Moores resigned of their own will. The ECB should have done everything possible to rectify the situation and allow time before taking any action. I can understand them being angry with an ultimatum and I believe this led the ECB to force the resignation of KP.

    Even now the dirty dozen cannot issue a statement.

  • Comment number 16.

    #11 I find hockey the dullest sport on the planet, but I respect your right to enjoy it. But you won't find me on the hockey forums spouting off about how boring it is and urging people to get into cricket.

    So get lost.

    Same to you #9 - if you're not interested, don't click on the link

    "it isn't news at all
    it's irrelevant and useless news"

    so is it news or not? make your mind up.

  • Comment number 17.

    Pietersen is confident, agressive, positive and single minded, all qualities that the ECB lack in abundance.

    The problem with English cricket is the relation between captain and coach in the selection process. Either one or the other has to have sole responsibility for selection, not some sort of vague, gentleman's understanding, blame the other one if its wrong policy that typifies the ethos of the English cricketing establishment. The coach should select the team, as in football or rugby, and the captain should captain on the field, whether he agrees with team selection or not.

  • Comment number 18.

    The morning just past has been a bigger balls up that the entire 5-0 whitewash. Anyone got Vaughan`s number?

  • Comment number 19.

    Rob Key brought in as captain?!
    Yeah right.

    I'd rather have Chris Cowdrey

  • Comment number 20.

    I am fan of K Pietersen I do not understand why the coach is still there.

  • Comment number 21.

    Absolute joke. That is all.

  • Comment number 22.

    The ECB created so many problems for themselves by asking that golfer to compile that stupid report.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Under Moores the batting of Bell, Cook, Collingwood and Flintoff has gone backwards, Harmison has gone downhill, and Broad and Panesar are not fulfilling their enormous promise. We are better off without Moores. Pietersen had to go too because senior players were split between the two men; unless your dressing room is right behind you then it's unwise to force issues. How ironic that Moores was right on the immediate issue (Vaughan should not return - Boycott says his footwork is late to the ball which is why he has scored no runs, and sadly you don't come back from that).

    This need not be a disaster. Strauss can captain as competently as he did as stand-in, and it scarcely matters that someone else will be in charge of the one-day squad. KP will continue to bat magnificently, and we can recruit a better coach. The pressing issue is to forge unity on the imminent West Indies tour. The Ashes depend on that. As for the ECB - cricket was better run by MCC.

  • Comment number 25.

    England are a severely average team selected by past-their-sell-by-date selectors guilty of appointing a sub-standard coach.

    KP is an outstanding batsman, but certainly not a diplomatist. (see job description).

    So, Australia, prepare for a whitewash*

    *Who whitewashes who(m) will doubtless depend on the soap powder used.

  • Comment number 26.

    In the English game, who has more experience than him? England Lions captain pushing for a place in England side. Please don't ridicule a suggestion without saying who is better!

  • Comment number 27.

    The ECB are to blame for this fiasco, mainly because they made such a terrible decision in appointing a man with such an ego as captain in the first place. It is however a good decision to nip this obviously inept captaincy in the bud. It says everything about Pietersen that he expected the ECB to succumb to his bully boy tactics. If he stays then good but if he goes to the IPL that will tell you even more about his character. Now lets hope we can get rid of his mates who should not be in the team and say goodbye to Vaughan for good.

  • Comment number 28.

    It was inevitable that it would all end in tears. But we are in the pantomime season and English cricket is challenging Newcastle United for top ratings !!

    The culpable parties :-

    ECB for giving the role to Pieterson in the first place when it was inevitable that there was real friction betwenn the two. Also, the appointment of Moores should be looked at as he has no credible playing experience and it was always likely that he would struggle to gain the respect of top international players, especially those with ego's the size of a planet like Pieterson

    Moores is culpable only in that he has failed to deliver since being appointed coach. This may be down to the fact that he was not in harmony with either captain, but gaining their respect is a pre-requisite of the job. If he backed down when Pieterson was appointed then he shouldn't have. Pieterson is a top class player we would all agree, but he is deeply resented by many senior players in the English camp (we all know that).

    Finally Pieterson - who does he think he is ? Yes, he has a batting average of 50 ish, well so does Haydyn, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kallis, Hussey, Ponting - but do they "lord it" and position themselves as bigger than the team, of course they don't. I remember the circumstances around him leaving Notts all those years ago and the spots haven't changed. Of course people will be worried about his toys being chucked out of the pram, well so be it if he does. You just cannot have a guy coming in and dictating in the way Pieterson is obviously trying to.

    In summary, the best decision the EC can make is to dismiss Pieterson given the current circumstances even if their ineptitude led to the situation in the first place.

  • Comment number 29.

    What a mess, the first thing to note is the regularity with which the ECB involves itself in a shambles or handles something shambolically (or both).

    As for the immediate future of the national cricket team, its hard to see it being anything other than a disaster. The best batsmen has had his notable ego damaged, and regardless of the lure of the IPL (which could now become the straw that breaks the camels back if he is asked to choose between the two much longer) he may struggle to stomach going back to being a regular member of the squad.

    The best bowler, Flintoff, appears to have the ear of a number of other members of the squad (most notably Harmison) but harbours a dislike and/or resentment for Pietersen.

    A new coach and captain will have to be brought in, and they will inherit these problems along with a out-of-sorts, mediocre team. The new captain, Strauss or Cook I assume, will presumably have to take on the One-Day and twenty20 captaincy as well. If it is Cook or Strauss to say they are not ideal players for the limited overs versions of the game is something of an understatement.

    But the biggest problem of all is that Australia now look settled and problem free in comparison.

  • Comment number 30.

    As one board member told Cricinfo: "People who want to keep their jobs don't issue ultimatums."

    Sums KP leadership skills up.

  • Comment number 31.

    The Blazers couldn't run a Church Concert.

    Why do we always entrust the sport we love in this country to a bunch of useless Muppets. Cricket, Football, Rugby, even the minority sports are lumbered with glory hunters seeking a seat on the gravy train.

    It's time they were gone, let the players run sport, begone with the parasites.

  • Comment number 32.


    if it isn't news, how can it be irrelevant news??

    Make your mind up!

  • Comment number 33.

    Another epic fail in English cricket.

    The sad thing is the people @ the ECB won't be held responsible because there is no accoubtability.

    Although I suppose a lot of them won't care because County cricket is far more important to them, sod the national team.

    Maybe they can compile another report, ignore the important suggestion(s) and fail again.


  • Comment number 34.

    We had no chance with Moores at the helm - he's worse than useless at this level. KP has done the team a favour - take the positives from this one
    Moores and sling your hook too!

  • Comment number 35.

    Alot has been said of Pieterson's ego but I fear it may be the ECB character flaws that has caused this sorry mess. They should of acted before any "ultimatum" was given, it was clear to see that the coach/captain relationship was dead and buried and a team cant perform with that leadership.

    Further, the ECB need not of reacted like the uppity clique they are afterwards, claiming KP was dictating to them, a word with such horrid connotations, when merely he was expressing the need for change that they should of already identified, that stinks of greater ego than any act of the captains.

    Finally, none of this should be public, for KP to make an ultimatum is one thing, but for it to be publicised is another, Moore's position and Kevin's are untennable purely because of the ECB. And who's in place to solve this crisis...Oh no...

  • Comment number 36.

    Proof (if any were required) that the dimwits at the E (&W) CB are as competent as the buffons at the FA and the dolts in charge of rugby union.

    Worse, not only are they clueless, but they are also spineless. Rather than take a stand and side with either the captain or the coach, they take the easy option of dismissing both!

    Given the choice betwen Pietersen's record as skipper and Moores' record as coach, I know who I would have gone with.

    If there were factions in the dressing room, the simple answer would have been to let KP pick the team, assisted by the coaching staff, as necessary. Personally, I think having Vaughn back in the side would have been a positive move for the upcoming series against the Windies and the Aussies.

  • Comment number 37.

    Nail. Hammer. Whallop!!

    Spot on in your assessment Tom. What a ridiculous state of affairs by all parties involved!

  • Comment number 38.

    Here here #16 I agree, if you don't like cricket I coldn't really care, I wouldn't tell them its wrong to like a specific sport.

    To be honest though doesn't everyone just find the whole situation highly embarisising I have to agree with Tom's sentiment that "English cricket has taken careful aim and shot itself in both feet" lets hope that something good can come from this mess

    I wonder if its worth giving Flintoff the Captains job for a while, he's surely the most respected Man in the dressing room if he bats at 7 maybe that would work Daniel Vettorri manages that afterall

  • Comment number 39.

    one word - disaster. moores was the wrong guy from the start and, in not making a clean break when appointing pietersen as captain, the ecb have yet again created another unsolvable and embarrassing mess. pietersen could have been the man to re-fire (is that a phrase?) the england team but now, much as i respect strauss as a cricketer and, indeed, a captain, his position and authority are under threat from the start.

    the ecb knew what they were getting when they appointed pietersen and, given his talent and personality, and potential to turn this team into champions, should have backed him.

  • Comment number 40.

    If you let Pietersen pick the team without any constrictions he would have had his wife in the team inside a year.

  • Comment number 41.

    Funny times for English cricket... Surely the ECB was aware of Pietersen's mentality and personality when he was offered the job in the first place...? A demand like this may not be wise but it hardly seems out of character for the man! If they wanted somebody to just tow the company line surely he'd've been bottom of the list?

    For the future it's tough to say really... Strauss and Freddie have both stepped up temporarily before but I'm not convinced either of them have quite what it takes to do it full time... I'm a massive Colly fan, but again he won't be in with a shout following previously leading the one day side...

    Vaughn back? or look toward an Alistair Cook maybe?

    It'll be interesting to see how this all pans out over the coming weeks, someone's got to be in charge by the time we land in WI and i personally suspect Strauss has it tied up.

    Let's just hope KP sticks with the side regardless and all of this is sorted out in time for the Aussies arriving...

  • Comment number 42.

    30. At 2:37pm on 07 Jan 2009, Bourne-mouthy wrote:
    As one board member told Cricinfo: "People who want to keep their jobs don't issue ultimatums."

    Sums KP leadership skills up.

    Also sums up the overblown egos, fragile mentalities and "no blame" culture permeating the ECB, don't you think?

    I'm glad Pietersen decided to deliver a rocket to those stuffed shirts...even though it cost him the captaincy.

    If the bigwigs at Cricket HQ can't take a little criticism (or in this case a forceful expression of opinion) then I fear for the future of national cricket in this country.

  • Comment number 43.

    Thank God he's gone, A brilliant player, but the only thing I heard him talk about was pride and passion. Not cricket.

    An ill thought out appointment by the ECB once again. Thankfully though, they've corrected it.

    FIGJAM is great as a player, but a poor captain. Give it to Strauss... which should have been done last time round.

    Can we actually sack the ECB though, (two shocking decisions - Stan the man's crick circus and appointing KP) remove the coffins from the long room and bury them under the square at lords?

  • Comment number 44.

    Whilst there's no I in team, you can, if you look very carefully, find Me.

    KP thought his talent and worth to the team would outweigh some pretty (on the face of it) shabby backstairs politicing, and I bet he's currently wearing an expression on his face similar to the one Graeme Thorpe always used to put on when he missed Courtney Walsh's slower ball...

    Where next? Guess Strauss as skipper, though not long ago he wasn't in the team and looked totally lost with the bat. Would quite like Cook to get it, as Athers did all those years ago, with a remit to go out and build a new team, but doubt it'll happen, especially as Cook probably won't be in the one-day team soon either.

    English cricket is always entertaining - though not always for the right reasons...

  • Comment number 45.

    #9 - I admire someone who finds something so irrelevant and useless yet still finds the time to comment more or less at length on the issue.

  • Comment number 46.

    After the enjoyable article last week outlining Australia's poorer than usual showing in 2008, many of us had to begrudgingly admit that perhaps the days of England's wonderful on-field capitulations were at an end and that is was high time for us to return to the drawing board in order to get oursleves in shape for the upcoming Ashes series.
    What better way then to start 2009 than for us to secure a consolation Test win, retain our number 1 World Ranking and watch on in astonishment as the ECB and their International Superstar attempt to find new and even more inventive ways to impede their chance of success.
    Thanks to all involved.

  • Comment number 47.

    The fact that KP has gone, whether of his own accord or not, means he wasn't suitable in the first place and shouldn't have been picked. I thought at the time it was a big mistake to appoint someone so relatively inexperienced and would like to have seen someone like Rob Key chosen for a couple of years with KP as vice. Key, vastly more experienced as a county captain, a strong character and a very good batsman, whether in 1-day mode or longer would command respect and seems to be a good motivator and an intelligent skipper.
    It is obviously time for some big changes to get the players out of their in-crowd, comfort zone situation where there are guaranteed huge amounts of money by their central contracts. I think the likes of Vaughan, Harmison, Panesar, Collingwood and Anderson should have their contracts terminated and the rest of the players should be warned that they, too, are under threat if their performance and attitude doesn't alter. Peterson and Flintoff seem to be the only world class players we've got and, together with Strauss, seem to put the effort into their game time and time again.
    KP and Freddie must both be millionaires and could both afford to take it easy and go to the IPL for a few years but they don't because they are real cricketers who will, justifiably, take their places amongst the all-time greats in the history of the game.
    What we need now is a new approach, a new coach and captain who can work together and instill some discipline into the team, make hard choices like leaving players out when they are not suited by conditions or are out of form and take the pressure off KP and Freddie letting them just play cricket.
    Please God, let's use this opportunity to start again using people who have only one thing on their minds, making England the best test team in the world!

  • Comment number 48.

    No one is bigger than tean and especially a cricket team.

    It doesn't matter how good he is or thinks he is: KP is not bigger than the national team. Being a captain/leader takes more than talent!

  • Comment number 49.

    I'd like the Vaughn from 2005 back and playing for England but I don't think that will ever happen. The captaincy and lack of form took its toll, he's too far on in his career to recover now, damn shame.

    I think you'll have to stick within the current England frame, I don't think Rob Key is the answer, only if he's been selected a few times could he be considered. I don't think it suited Flintoff, especially as he's injury prone.

    Maybe Cook, he's still fairly young but Smith was a baby when he took captaincy for SA.

    Who else is there?

  • Comment number 50.

    40. At 2:49pm on 07 Jan 2009, DWALDO wrote:
    If you let Pietersen pick the team without any constrictions he would have had his wife in the team inside a year.

    Well, given the number of professional cricketers that have been tried and found wanting...maybe Mrs Pietersen wouldn't be so bad! :-D

  • Comment number 51.


    I meant to say, no one is bigger than a team and especially a "National" cricket team..

  • Comment number 52.

    What a riduculous state of affairs the ECB has created for itself.

    It should have been Moores to walk as Petersen is still needed for the team and has proven himself to be both dedicated and able apart from cotninuing to be our only world class batsman.

    But regardless, the ECB should have singled out one or the other

    To lose both is pure idiocy.

  • Comment number 53.

    KP is a gambler who plays to win,who would rather come last than second. He overplayed his hand.I only hope he doesn't quit the England team altogether and go to India to chase the cash.
    Moores was appointed too quickly without enough consultation with senior players. KP probably got the job too early.We may yet see Vaughan back as captain by the summer if he gets some runs in the meantime expect an experienced player namely Strauss to become captain.
    This is at its source a systemic failure of management.

  • Comment number 54.

    No 9 - if its so irrelevant then why bother posting a comment!

    I too think that Pietersen has rather a large ego, but look at Graeme Smith - he has similar personality traits and look how well SA have done in Australia - you need to have a degree of arrogance to be successful in sport.

    I think its a shame, he could have gone on to be the best thing that happened to England for a long time, regardless of where he is from, ( I refer to comment No 1!)

  • Comment number 55.

    I hate people complaining about the 'ego' of KP. What is the problem with an 'ego'? in this country we ridicule people who strive to be the best. Look at the best sportsmen over the years Ali had a massive 'ego' or others like Ronaldo, McEnroe even Woods. Why in this country do we discourage such chracter traits when clearly its what you need to be the best.
    As captain lesser players follow the best, Arsene didnt pick Fabregas because he is the most vocal on the pitch but he is a born winner. I cant see KP following some fringe player like Key. Anyway what good is it being captain if you dont get the players you want to work with.
    Cricket is already a dying sport which is on its knees why take away its only asset.
    ECB is a joke and has as much ability of leadership as the FA.

  • Comment number 56.

    As a South African I still feel some lingering bitterness that KP doesn't play for us. But I have to say he can be a bit of an idiot.

    I still feel he's the right man for the job though...Flintoff is better off without it...Strauss is a good guy but is not really Skipper material.

    One thing you know with KP is that he would have always takes to the opposition no matter what...Graeme Smith is the same and he took a long time to mature but now he has come good. KP would have too...rifts in the team would have worked out if the ECB backed have to ask yourself


  • Comment number 57.

    re comment 8:

    I'm neither for or against saffa ring ins. I Australian, and we have our own problems. I don't care if you brits roll Big Kev in batter and fry him. Do what you like.

    I was just pointing out that there are 10 other guys in the team, and if they fire up as they did the last time they won the ashes, we'll be in for a good series.

    And if they don't, KP is pretty much irrelevant.

    See, KP is not a bad batsman. But he is not some sort of divine cricketer. He is not what the british press made him up to be. And so now he cannot measure up, and is branded a failure by the supporters.

    I think the british press and the grubby gossip readership has got to take a lot of blame for the way their teams suffer individual pressure in the media, for the sake of selling gossip to small minds.

    The one man team is a myth, and you guys (the press and pundits) damage the team by focusing public expectations on this guy, then that guy. Never the team as a whole.

    If an Australian player started acting as big headed as KP, he would have be sorted out in the dressing room by his team mates, not by the press.

  • Comment number 58.

    twinFinn - "probably the most boring sport on the planet next to F1 and synchronised swimming. Play more hockey." HOCKEY?! It makes cricket look like rollerball.

  • Comment number 59.

    Thomshow respect your comments about KP'S ego, don't have a problem with him at all, he's brilliant. But calling Key a "Fringe player?" That's unfair. Key could do a good job as skipper which is not all about the individual's own skill [although that matters]. I remember Brearley skippering Botham successfully and you wouldn't get a bigger contrast in ego or ability than that!!

  • Comment number 60.

    The bad thing is Pieterson will probably still keep his position in the England squad but just not as captain but still getting paid vast sums of cash while Moores will be out of a job entirely.

    There is a kind of irony here that English media sources and cricket players were rubbing their hands together about Australias' demise in world cricket and then just to make sure that things don't go smoothly they decide to have a clash of egos and cause this fiasco.

    Is anyone else thinking that English Cricket players have a bit of a ego trip issue anyway starting to verge ont he same level as premiership footballers?? Premadonnas thinking they are untouchable becaus they played in a $1m match??

  • Comment number 61.

    It doesn't matter how good you think KP is, one thing is certain, you can't have the tail wagging the dog.

    Once a player in any grade of any sport starts to make demands of the administration of the him or me kind, then it's the me that should go.

    As it is KP was not a great captain, threw the first test in India due to negative tactics.
    Has done very little with the bat since becoming captain.

    Strauss should have had the job when Vaughan packed in and should get it now. There is no other candidate in the squad. Please don't start shout for FF, let him stick to what he can do.

  • Comment number 62.

    It's a tragic shambles that couldn't really have had any other outcome at this point.

    I feel that KP's captaincy is a bigger loss than Moores. The former had IMHO the makings of an inspirational and visionary captain with a good cricket brain, despite being by his own admission quite green tactically. Even now I don't see his actions as evidence that he is out for himself rather than England. Egotism and arrogance is not to be confused with with boldness and strong-willedness, both of which would have been virtues the England team could have used. His handling of the post-Mumbai situation showed the man manager that he could have become. It shows poor judgement IMO to give someone like KP the captaincy and then tie his hands, especially by imposing questionable team selections upon him like the ones we saw in India. KP is quite capable of cooperation and listening to other peoples' opinions - if he respects them. Isn't that why he wanted Vaughan back?

    And let's face it, Moores has been pretty average as coach. Results have been poor and players have gone backwards. Regarding his rigid training style, I would back KP to have a better idea of his and the team's coaching needs than someone who never played at any great level. The best thing England could have done would have been to give KP a freer reign before it got to this. The guy is a winner. England need them.

    However, KP crossed a line by going public. Though I still think it was an excess of strong-willedness rather than selfishness, it was certainly unprofessional and divisive. And without the support of the dressing room, his position is untenable.

    Pity, but if Strauss captains like he did against Pakistan in '06 before being unceremoniously stood down, then all is not lost for England.

  • Comment number 63.

    Pietersen left the ECB no option but to let him go, how could they let him dictate to them over the phone sat by a pool on his holidays?

    Has his record as captain been THAT good yet that he thought he could do what he liked? He has beaten a poor NZ team, won a test against SA when they couldnt be arsed (se result against the Aussies in dead rubber) and been trounced by the indians and Windian 20/20 team.

    I would have had no objection in him demanding this that and the other if this was a year down the line and he had numerous Series wins under his belt (including the ashes!)

    His appointment as captain was a mistake, his lack of cricket intelligence was shown up in India.

    We were underperforming before his appointment, dubious that it improved with his appointment, and doubt it will change much after the new captain is appointed. Hopefully he will be back at some point as batsmen, but hopefully not as captain again.

  • Comment number 64.

    55 - I was not complaining of his ego - a little ego goes a long way as I mentioned about Smithy, it seems that some people do detest the fact that KP has an ego, but without it, he would not be the successful player he is today.

    Its how South Africans are bred to play sport - with arrogance - and as you can see, thats why we are so good at it!

    I too felt bitter that he does not play for SA -but if you got the opportunity to play for England - or any other country that offers you the opportunity, surely you would grab it! If he chooses to go to India now I would not blame him.

  • Comment number 65.

    #35 for me has it spot on.

    If the entire cricketing world could see that they weren't gelling, and it wasn't resolvable, why didn't they take action? And given that they hadn't taken action, how could KP have phrased it better? "I don't think I'm able to work with this guy, what can be done?" is pretty much an ultimatum dressed up in flannel, and KP has never been one for flannel.

    I've not been KP's biggest fan, but to be honest it's hard to imagine how he could have done anything different. Should he have sat on his hands and lost Test after Test until the ECB finished lunch? If anyone else had been made captain, would they want their record and reputation soiled by bad results from a bad working relationship? I doubt it.

    So actually, KP's ultimatum was the statement of fact that we all knew was the case anyway: it's him or me. The word that the morons of the ECB got horribly wrong was 'or'.

  • Comment number 66.

    Why would Pietersen want Vaughan back in the team? He only became captain because Vaughan resigned, and Vaughan was only hanging on at the end because of his captaincy skills. So Pietersen wanted Vaughan, the man not scoring runs, back in the side, but not as captain?

    Makes no sense, but then very little about this story, or English cricket at the moment, makes much sense.

  • Comment number 67.

    Why not appoint Strauss as captain with Vaughan as coach. Could be worth a try.

  • Comment number 68.

    Shame... poor KP. South Africans (and Smith in particular) will bear his misfortune with great fortitude.

  • Comment number 69.


    Now steady on old chap!

  • Comment number 70.

    I reckon the ECB knew that they should sack Moores but keep KP however,

    Hugh Morris is one of Moores' closest personal friends having played together since they were in their teens...

    As such he wouldn't have wanted to be seen to take KPs side so sacked them both...
    But I hope i'm wrong on that one.

    As for split captains, well, it hasn't done India any harm. In fact quite the opposite, MS Dhoni has been honing his craft in the one day arena for donkeys and whenever Kumble couldn't play he stood in and did a marvellous job. In particular just recently when he stepped up to close out the series against Australia in the last 2 tests.

    People have criticised his defensive tactics recently but i don't understand why. He did what needed to be necessary to win the series...

    We would do a lot better if we followed India's recent model of using the one day team as a bit of a feeder for the test squad.

  • Comment number 71.



    Coach:- Anyone got any thoughts on coach?

    Remove Gibson and Flower

  • Comment number 72.

    The other test captains are also ODI captains because they are good enough in both forms of the game. England may not be so fortunate, but that doesn't mean we should be scared of split captains as a concept.


    And if you don't have a single player up to it then it shows a weakened side that is likely to lose anyway, hence the poorer results.

  • Comment number 73.

    I can't say I'm surprised at the cause - the problems between Moores and Pietersen were well-known when the latter took the reigns last summer.

    I can't say I fault Pietersen if he did what he did for the benefit of the team, but obviously this is the aspect that's being called into question.

    I very much doubt that the two's differing opinion of Michael Vaughan's benefit to the team was the cause of these problems - more like the straw that broke the camel's back.

    Pietersen wanted someone in charge who has greater international experience - either as a player or a coach - than Moores, but the way he has gone about trying to instigate the change has left all concerned with egg on their faces.

    This is far from a crisis though. England will field largely the same side who beat South Africa in the last Test of last summer and played well against an India side that dominated Australia. The problem is uniting the squad and focussing them on a single team goal.

    Give Strauss the captaincy for the Tests, Freddie for the ODIs and make Graeme Swann Entertainment officer for the duration of the tour.

  • Comment number 74.

    'Thank God he's gone, A brilliant player, but the only thing I heard him talk about was pride and passion. Not cricket. '

    Given he was the captain of the national side I would have thought pride and passion would be quite relevant and important and, possibly lacking in some of the players. As a captain you lead from the front and that is exactly what KP did.

    Bad choice by the ECB not to back him but, their consistency is impressive.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ronaldo, McEnroe and Woods are best or were the best in the world so earned the right to strut, KP is merely a good batsman nowhere near the top of the tree.

  • Comment number 76.


    Firstly, your name suggests a tendency to show blind loyalty to regardless of what evidence you have in front of you. Kent fan, by any chance?

    You as for someone who would be a better captain than Rob Key.

    How about any of the 11 players whose place in the side is decided on merit?

  • Comment number 77.

    Unfortunate day for English cricket. They have lost a great player. ECB should have replaced Moores earlier as what happened today was not unexpected.The world has lost a great player. you will get many coaches but you wont get a player of Pieterson's calibre. I hope better sense prevails and Pieterson comes back before the Ashes otherwise I can see an England whitewash.

  • Comment number 78.

    KP wanted Vaughan in the team to give him advice on tactics. If so KP did not have the nous to be captain and should never have been appointed. A talented batsman yes, but also a bloated ego.

  • Comment number 79.

    It's hard to write good comedy.

    KP and the ECB (by appointing such an arrogant, self centred man to begin with) have done it without really trying.

    My respect.

    Although the one critique I do have, given that so much of comedy is timing, wouldn't it have been better if all this had happened after England are 2-0 down in the next Ashes?

    That would have been not just funny, but tragic.


    Are the bookies offering odds on KP finding his commitment to his adopted country suddenly fading, in the wake of such treatment from an ungrateful England (prob how he sees it), and him scooting off with wife and diamond ear rings to the IPL?

    Before the Ashes, just to shaft the Poms.

    It's's not certain...but my crystal ball is showing me a fuzzy vision of what's to come.

    Keep up the good work one and all.

    KP please defect to the IPL so that everything I suspect about your character is shown to be true.


  • Comment number 80.

    The guy is not even English, he is South African and should never have been allowed to play for England. Makes the whole nationality thing a farce.

  • Comment number 81.

    strauss is confirmed as to captain in west indies please let him keep it permanently

  • Comment number 82.

    DWALDO: "KP is merely a good batsman nowhere near the top of the tree."

    Actually DWALDO, he's ranked as the fourth best Test batsman on the planet. Surely that's "near the top of the tree"...?

  • Comment number 83.

    yeh 4th of current batch-he is no ponting lara tendulkar shewag dravid yousuf s waugh gooch gilchrist hayden border sangakarra but to name a few

  • Comment number 84. reminds me of the farce in the RFU in 1995 when the 57 old fart's sacked Will Carling on the eve of the World Cup in South Africa, only for him to be re-instaed a week later.

  • Comment number 85.

    KP is a dynamic cricketer.He wants to win and like his counterparts in the cricket world they all have tremendous egos-its why they are so good.Its therefore not unreasonable to expect a person with such passion for the game to want the very best for the team he captains.He wanted the best players and best coaching staff.Whilst he was captain he got neither,hence why he wanted to make a point and sacrificed himself. Hugh Morris and his cronies are all failed test cricketers,nobodies in their own lifetime and have no idea what makes the great player,how could they?.Its just not good enough to elect a coach from the county circuit who knows nothing about test cricket,the gulf between the two games is vast-its the difference between pie throwing and fast bowling as has been harped on about for years.Only the very best coaches will do at this level and the same goes for the players.Regretfully,English cricket still lives in the past,the same past which Austrailian cricket dragged itself away from 15 years ago.The result was world class players and a world class coach.Even now as the South Africans are on a high after beating Austrailia the truth is even with KP in the England team we couldnt have competed with either side and won.Why?because establisment English cricket doesnt want the "its my turn to be top dog in the ECB"to be challenged. Its a power struggle at board level and nothing to do with cricket and what drives passionate players or gets them into the England team.For that you need passionate coaches and passionate selectors who want to win at any cost-after all who remembers losers?
    I fear that KP will now leave English shores and go where he is appreciated for what he does best.He should have never been made captain because the selectors should have sat back and thought "what if"knowing full well what consequences would have been.Instead their weakness shone through after Vaughan decided enough was enough.I believe Vaughan was also put in an impossible position over a pretty poor coach but even then these selectors couldnt see it.If cricket wants to survive in this country and compete with far superior teams then it has to go through the Austrialian experience or perish. English cricket? R.I.P!

  • Comment number 86.

    R.i.p english cricket-when was it actually born

  • Comment number 87.

    Captain and Coach disagree and results slide? 4 Series defeats in 7 including an Ashes whitewash?

    Seems to me like Moores is the problem.

  • Comment number 88.

    Typical ECB, appoint an inexperienced coach without much thought, then appoint a captain with a huge ego!!! It's was all bound to end in tears....

    The one massive chance we had of winning back the ashes has just been blown out of the water...The Aussies must be loving it...

    How long before KP signs on the dotted line for the IPL? Not too long I think!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    God what a mess! I don't see a natural successor to KP. He wasn't everyone's cup of tea for sure but I came round to him because of his un English (I know, I know but what the hell?) attitude to winning.

    So who will replace him? Not Flintoff. It would be a backward step and he was never the man for the job (see Botham's efforts for a similar example). Not Vaughan. Come on, it can't be a consideration. Nor Key. I'm sure he is a good batsmen (and Captain for his county?) but he isn't in the England team. That would be some promotion no? Collingwood's own place is constantly under threat and his batting would surely suffer with the added responsibility of the captaincy, plus I don't think he really wants it. Cook is far too young and is not a punchy Graham Smith type character. He'd have to deal with a disgruntled KP (presumably) and all the other ex captains in the side.

    Which leaves Strauss. Who should, in my opinion, have got the job ahead of Freddie last time around and that could have been the making of him THEN but now is a different matter. I think he is too much of a nice chap (see Cook above) and I also think his confidence will have suffered by being passed over twice for the captaincy (Freddie and KP getting the nod ahead of him). Finally he is not in the one day side at present so that's another little conundrum for the ECB to sort out.

    Desperate times for England I fear and what a shame when Australia are looking at their weakest in years. On that, I heard a rumour that Warne could replace Moores. Surely not but not a bad shout!

    Finally to twinfinn and supawireless (11 and 9) and anyone else who hates cricket and finds it dull etc etc, what is your problem? I don't have a go at Hockey on Hockey blogs twinfinn and supawireless
    might I suggest that you stop being chippy and get back to work?

  • Comment number 90.

    We generally agree that moores is a poor coach and a big part of the problem but who would you hire as england coach

  • Comment number 91.

    What KP brings to England is an incredible desire to win. The way I see it he took a look at recent results and felt that there is no way he could go to Australia with the present coaching set up and win, therefore he needed to change things now rather than later. He therefore called the bluff ie. either you give me the support I need to get this team into a winning situation or I back out, but I won't be saddled with results that are contrary to my expectations. His own performance during the captaincy actually improved in terms of averages and he is the only England player on current form who would be considered for a World team. Surely someone within the ECB could have found a way to bridge this problem and if Moores was as compassionate about Englands performance surely he would have figured out a way to smooth things over with his best player, or did his ego also get in the way?

    The next question to ask is whether or not the senior players performances were affected by a desire not to perform under KP's captaincy which would have shortsighted and unprofessional and if thats the case then it has to come down to coaching and ability.

  • Comment number 92.

    No. 86

    Try wiki

  • Comment number 93.


    My comment was purely to emphasise that england have been a supposed sleeping giant for as long as i can remember-they have and never will be the best team in the world! To say rest in peace england cricket suggests england have taken a huge fall-but to take a fall you must reach a height-we are yet to reach a height

    I didnt actually want to know when england became to exist within cricket

  • Comment number 94.

    KP should sign with the IPL. It is absurd that the EPL don't peek out of their mole hills for a few mins, see that it's 2009, and tweak the schedule so the England players, along with the rest of the world's best, can play in India for a month, have some fun, and make some money. Instead, they sign up for the embarrassing in every way Stanford Super Series (which was neither a series nor in the slightest bit super), resulting in their team being front and centre of that collective laughing stock.

    Let's face it, KP was never qualified to be captain. He has precious little (any?) experience leading any team, very few team's best players make the best captains (in part because what they do comes naturally, not from figuring out how to eke out a tiny advantage to make up for their less than top notch skill), and not being born English probably doesn't help in terms of commanding the dressing room. The schedule was a problem as being asked to learn on the job isn't easy when your second and third tests are in India.

    The solution would have been to make Vaughan 12th man, and have him give KP field placement tips from the sideline, when he takes out the water during drinks breaks, and whenever he subs for an "injured" player, which could comfortably be 75% of the time England are in the field.

  • Comment number 95.

    86., the death of English cricket has been forecast many times - why do you think we play for the Ashes? Just remember, we invented the game, took all around our Empire at the same time as improving the lives of billions, maybe reports of England's death have been exaggerated just a little by all those countries with a chip on their shoulders!

  • Comment number 96.

    Nice article.

    Heartening to see the journalists make a volte face and call a spade a spade. While KP was appointed the captain he was praised to high heavens, especially after the win against SA, but he was not really judged on merit.

    I think it was a huge step backward for England cricket the day he was appointed. I am glad they saw some sense and he is not the captain any more. Strauss is a decent appointment, there aren't many others who can be appointed. It is not even clear in this team who can always definitely make the starting XI or even selected for the squad, so at least making a captain will assure Strauss that he will be selected for all cricket.

  • Comment number 97.

    it beggars belief that pieterson was appointed captain in the first place in light of his relationship with the coach.


  • Comment number 98.


    'a tedious sport. a minority sport pumped and hyped by a media that deems cricket to be important.

    A media dominated by posh boys from grammar school who see cricket as the true epitome of englishness and therefore saturate press to exhaustion'

    Oh dear oh dear. Firstly 'posh' kids tend to go to schools that require a fee rather than Grammar schools which don't. Secondly, I think Strauss is the only public school boy in the squad. Thirdly, I am not sure what sure when the press will be saturated until 'exhaustion' but it has a long long way to go. Just imagine the paper mills turning if the FA had sacked coach and captain. And lastly what the hell is a minority sport? Which sports to the 'majority' enjoy? Last time I checked there were a billion Indians who would argue with you.

    All in all not a great post.

  • Comment number 99.

    #91 - I agree entirley.

    Firstly, I didnt like Pietersen as captain, a great batter of course but as captain I wasnt so sure.

    But in my view he must be commended for his actions here (OK not the ultimatum to the ECB), at least he got the balls to do what he did, criticising the role of Peter Moores when many of the players would carry on reagrdless, being 'Yes' men to safeguard their central contracts.

    Its a shame they dont display the same confidence on the field as KP, if they did we might just become a good team.

    For me KP hasnt done it for his own benefit, he must have known he was risking his position as Captain, he has done it for the team, which in my opinion will benefit in the long run.

    We see this ego/confidence (whichever you choose to call it) in his batting style and the results are there to see in his averages.

    So time now to drop the overtried and trusted and ultimately failing deadwood like Colly and Prior and get some young fresh talent in the team, players that are hungry for success and are willing to work hard to achieve it.

  • Comment number 100.

    If anyone wants an insight into the way the management of the ECB conduct themselves try reading David Lloyds' autobiography "anything but murder".

    Not botherd who captains the team but please take Mike Watkinson as the new coach then we can be rid of him.


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