Jury of pundits finds KP guilty

Blog Opinion

The court of public opinion has come to order, and the jury, comprising of mostly angry men, has been asked to deliver their verdict on Kevin Pietersen.

The court of public opinion has come to order, and the jury, comprising of mostly angry men, has been asked to deliver their verdict on Kevin Pietersen.

It seems that former England players are the most critical, and have not held back in their defence of the Three Lions' pride. Non-players are more measured, while still finding fault with KP and his alleged text messages.

<b>A case for the defence DEFENCE:</b>

<b>Jarrod Kimber</b>, <i>Cricinfo</i>: "KP has essentially been suspended for doing what every single one of us has done in our life, complained to a friend about our boss.

"It seems about as petty a reason to drop someone as you can find. He didn't break the law, he didn't publicly abuse anyone, and he performed at the absolute maximum of his abilities, he just also had a private sulk.

"What of other private communications? Should Giles Clarke, Andy Flower and Hugh Morris state publicly that in no conversations with anyone, via text, email or over the phone have they ever said anything derogatory about Kevin Pietersen? Trust.

"Or should they just announce that in a show of good faith they are instigating an independent inquiry into who leaked the information?"

Kimber adds: "I doubt he's the only player in this English team to complain about Strauss, Flower, Giles, Morris or the selectors. Has anyone checked Graeme Swann's phone to see what he told his friends after being dropped for the last Test?

"Or did he even test the trust of the team when he released an autobiography that criticised Samit Patel and Pietersen?"

<b>Witnesses for the PROSECUTION:</b>

<b>Mike Atherton</b>, <i>The Times</i>: "The omission of the best player in the team, who only a week ago played one of the greatest Test innings seen in recent times by an England batsman, demonstrates just how far the relationship and trust between Pietersen and the rest of the England team and the management has broken down.

"In his YouTube video, released on Saturday evening, Pietersen announced that 'the mood in the dressing room these last 24 hours has really been sorted out'. Not for the first time, Pietersen's view of the world was at serious odds with others who inhabit his orbit, as James Anderson's own carefully worded column in a Sunday newspaper suggested. Anderson's view was that the selectors had to do what was good for the team, and you didn't need to read between the lines to know what he meant.

"The England management was minded not to take Pietersen's words in his YouTube appearance at face value, except for the reversal of his one-day retirement: neither the insistence that there were no problems between him and his team-mates, nor his gushing love for the team, nor his hubristic assumption that he would be meeting up with them tomorrow. And given his numerous volte-face over the years, who can blame them?"

<b>Nasser Hussain</b>, <i>Daily Mail</i>: "There is only so much mental energy that Flower can have, and if he is expounding far too much of it on Pietersen, then that cannot be healthy for him or England. For instance, was the decision to leave Graeme Swann out at Headingley the result of scrambled brains because of so much attention on one man within the team?

"The selectors should have had a two-hour meeting on Friday to pick the team for the final Test and the one-day and Twenty20 squads to face South Africa later this month. But that turned into a three-day session, essentially because of one man. England have to plan for a must-win Test, but so far it has all been about Kevin.

"Pietersen has made a lot of mistakes in the last week or so, from the content of his press conference after the second Test to his decision to put a video on YouTube on Saturday night without the blessing of the ECB. Why didn't he do a proper press conference with England if he wanted to withdraw his one-day retirement?

"And I didn't hear him say sorry once in the video he put out. He always flexes his muscles when he is at his absolute best on the field but that was a time when a bit of humility might not have gone amiss.

"It just seems that everywhere he goes he wants to move on to somewhere else that will eventually prove to be more lucrative. I am sure the bottom line in all this is his desire to play a full Indian Premier League campaign, but he seems to have forgotten that it is with England that he has achieved his fame and earned his fortune. England have made him, not let him down."

<b>Geoff Boycott</b>, <i>The Telegraph</i>: "English cricket has been thrilled by Kevin's batting for almost eight years now. But English cricket welcomed him and gave him opportunities beyond his wildest dreams after Natal sacked him saying he wasn't good enough.

"Now when he's on top of the world, hugely marketable and talented, he is threatening to walk away unless he gets his way. That doesn't sound right, it doesn't feel right and it isn't right Kev!

"I will always support and enjoy his batting but I would say to him: your talent could not have expressed itself without the opportunities England gave you to play for us on the world stage."

Boycs added: "When players don't grow up in England but come here later in life to earn a cricketer's living many of us ex-players wonder if they are just mercenaries here for the money or do they really buy into Team England.

"My friend Tony Greig grew up in South Africa and joined Sussex when he was 18. He went on to become England captain but then chose the Packer money instead.

"At the time John Woodcock of The Times wrote: 'What has to be remembered is that Greig is English not by birth or upbringing but only by adoption which is not the same thing as being English through and through.'

"Is it the same for you Kev? Was English cricket a means to an end to make money or do you really love playing for England? Only you can answer that."

<b>Jonathan 'Aggers' Agnew</b>, the <i>BBC</i>: "The message to Pietersen is clear: he has to be a team man, fully committed and nothing less.

"Most of the players will think it is the right decision to leave him out. They will know their job is certainly going to be more difficult without him, certainly when it comes to scoring runs, but they all buy into the team ethos. England bowler Jimmy Anderson said on Sunday that the Pietersen saga has been a distraction.

"The irony will not be lost on many that we have this rather sorry saga running alongside the Olympics, where the commitment and delight of the athletes is there for all to see, achieving great things on lottery grants."

<b>Jurors who are UNDECIDED:</b>

Respected cricket writer <b>Stephen Brenkley</b> in the<i> Independent</i>: "Although text messages are nominally private communication between individuals, it beggars belief that Pietersen would be so foolish. But it is not simply what the messages may or may not contain, it is that he apparently sent them to England's opponents. There has to be a