How do you react to one of the worst Ashes series of all time and one of the worst ever English cricket tours? Well you sack your most talented player and highest run scorer, obviously. The maverick talent with a difficult personality is an easy scapegoat it seems.
It was clear that changes would be made to the English cricket setup following that humiliating tour down under. First came the announcement that Andy Flower had stepped down from his role as Head Coach. Then the ECB decided, earlier this week, to sack Kevin Pietersen from all forms of national cricket and take away his central contract.
There is no doubting the sheer talent of Kevin Pietersen. He lies fourth in the all time England test run scoring list with 8,181 runs to his name at an average of 47.28. He has the full array of shots in his arsenal and has the ability to break open a match with sensational hitting. His famous contribution to the 2005 Ashes success and the incredible innings he played in India in 2007 provide examples of the greatness that KP is capable of.
What has at times has been questioned is his attitude. His part in the sacking of Peter Moores still wrangles with the ECB whilst the texting scandal left some ill feeling amongst his England colleagues. His decision to pursue the bright lights and big money of the IPL every year lead many to question his commitment to England.
However, more recently KP has outlined his desire to score 10,000 test runs and to continue playing for England for many years. Let’s not forget that he was England’s highest run scorer in that miserable tour down under with 294 runs at an average of 29.40. Yes there were horrendous decisions that led to his dismissal, notably when trying to slog Mitchell Johnson in the fourth test, but that has always been the case. You accept the flaws and the silly dismissals in return for those innings where he gets it right and does things that no other England batsman can even dream of doing.
There can be no disputing the fact that the ECB had to make changes following what happened in Australia. Although sacking your best and most entertaining player stinks of scapegoating and desperation. There are far bigger problems in the England set up than a difficult talent who needs reigning in at times. After all isn’t controlling players with difficult personalties the job of the coach? Perhaps we should try to find a way to get the best out of our most talented player instead of casting him aside.