FanDuel - WFBC

January 08, 2009

Kevin Pietersen: big gamble that failed when going got tough: Insight from ex-England cricket captain Michael Atherton on Kevin Pietersen's "resignation" and the implosion of the England cricket team 6 months before a home Ashes series.

posted by nthdegx to other at 08:00 AM - 8 comments

Also, just when Australia is in all sorts of trouble on the field, English cricket finds another way to shoot itself in the foot. I suppose this will also lead to discussion about the role of the coach. I know some commentators like Ian Chappell see no reason at all for coaches.

However, as an Australian (albeit of English birth) I've always failed to understand how English captaincy works. Pieterson was/is by far the best captain England has had for ages. In Australia over the last 25 years, the captain has job security until retirement (Border, Taylor, Waugh, Ponting). This does provide stability and certainty, and may have had something to do with the team's success. How many captains has England had in that period?

To say nothing of other countries. The politics of management and selection have held sub-continental cricket back for many years. About a decade ago, I remember seeing a Pakistan XI that had five former captains among its members. Not a recipe for effective decision-making.

posted by owlhouse at 04:12 PM on January 08

Pieterson was/is by far the best captain England has had for ages.

You really think so? It seems that the final straw in this argument was that Piertersen wanted Vaughn back in the side because Piertesen didn't feel confident managing on-field tactics without him.

posted by rodgerd at 07:38 PM on January 08

Michael Vaughan was a great captain. He just stopped being a great cricketer. I do think Pietersen had the potential to also be a great captain, and though there is clearly blame on his part, losing the coach and captain at once seems careless of the ECB to say the least. Pietersen was a bold, risky choice, but one you really have to stick to at least once. Let him get rid of one coach if it isn't working. It's when he can't work with the next coach you really have to worry. An unnecessary loss.

posted by nthdegx at 10:24 PM on January 08

You really think so?

Yes, for a few important reasons. First, he tried to win matches. Remember Atherton or Hussain? So negative and afraid of losing. Second, being South African, he wasn't beholden to the establishment in the MCC or the county game - he owed no-one any favours. Which, on he flip side, may have been part of the reason for his downfall. Finally - he was a certain selection in every England team, and would have been for the next decade. He didn't have to worry about his temporary form and being dropped (cf: Vaughan).

posted by owlhouse at 12:31 AM on January 09

And is it just me, or does Atherton have some weird anti-Pieterson agenda running in that article? Lots of hearsay about alleged personality clashes, this source said this etc. Nothing concrete, no real evidence and no attributed remarks. I can't help thinking he's doing some group's bidding, said group having the aim of undermining Pieterson's captaincy by the looks of it.

/paranoia

posted by owlhouse at 12:35 AM on January 09

Well he didn't go as far as to say that Flintoff and Strauss "back stabbed" Pietersen while he was away. The Sun did.

posted by nthdegx at 05:58 AM on January 09

There are people who are born to lead and people who are born to be led. KP always struck me as a weapon to be wielded by a skillful captain - a man whose example could be followed regardless of whether he was captain or not. Captains ought to be secure, steady, calm and in control without being controlling. KP doesn't make me think of those words.

A few times during his captaincy he hinted at some sort of democracy breaking out in the changing room. He admitted there were things he didn't know, so he let everyone play their part in the decision-making process. For my money, that's not captaincy. A prime example of why not came at the Ryder Cup last September. Faldo said with pride that he had discussed the final day's playing order with the team for a couple of hours the night before and they'd made a joint decision about it in the end. What he should have done - what Seve would have done - was march into the team room, tell everyone the order of play and wish them good luck.

Having said all that, it was perhaps rather too meteoric a rise for KP to be made captain when he was. It's hard to really remember why now, but as recently as the early summer of 2005 the only cricket conversation to be had in England was about whether or not he should be selected for the Ashes tests. I came down on the side of "if you can bat, you can bat - the one day specialist is a myth", but many, if not most, people thought it was a massive gamble to put him in the team.

Maybe in another five years he'll make a good captain.

posted by JJ at 07:39 AM on January 09

I was pretty sure when KP got the job that it was going to be a re-run of Botham's stint in 1980-1. A meteoric rise to become the face of the team, and thus the P[i]eter[sen] Principle kicks in. Of course, what followed Botham's resignation was classic sporting redemption. Let's see if that happens this time.

posted by etagloh at 04:30 PM on January 09

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