Thursday, 29 January 2009

The departure of Captain Kev

"I am extremely sad and disappointed to have to relinquish the captaincy at such an early stage, especially in a crucial year for English cricket, in such circumstances and particularly when I feel that I have much more to offer the England team as captain."

What a calamitous affair the Pietersen captaincy termination turned out to be. Just when we thought England had found the Beckham of cricket to lead the country, and a fresh start for the national team, it all came crashing down in the most ludicrous way. His captaincy lasted barely five months.

From the very start, Pietersen said he was going to captain England 'his way'. He tried to encourage players not to think too much about what they were doing on the pitch, and the stress that comes with it, instead, to just go out there and play.

Whatever he said initially, it certainly worked. The remarkable test triumph over South Africa, and the 4-0 drubbing in the ODIs led us to believe that the new captain could spark some life into the England team. It left him and fans in a state not disimilar to that of the picture used for this blog. This, of course, was short lived.

The farcicle performance during the Stamford 20/20 showdown in Antigua, and the Indian tour defeats proved to be very difficult and pressurising for Pietersen. He blamed the loss in Antigua on offfield 'nonsense', involving floodlight problems and a kerfuffle over some of the player's wives. With regard to the whitewash in India, very few excuses could be offered. However, Pietersen should take huge credit for leading the team back to India following the teroroist attacks in Mumbai, proving that he was doing it his way as he promised from the start.

Before he agreed to captain England, he talked with coach Peter Moores to clear the air of their differences. But as we all know, their problems were never really resolved and their differences in how they wanted the team to be run clashed. This, along with the intense media pressure, and fall-outs with the ECB, forced Pietersen to step down as captain and Moores to be fired.

The way the whole matter was dealt with was abysmal, and the organisational managers of English cricket have a lot to answer for. Of course, the timing of it all was horrific as well; just before the tour to the West Indies and the summer ahead with the Ashes. Someone had to take on the arduous task of the England captain though. Step in poor old Andrew Strauss. Thrown in a the deep end again; having captained before during Michael Vaughan's injury period. He is going to need a lot of luck to take on the role of leading his country to victory against Australia, and perhaps the harder task of working with the ECB.

When Pietersen was introduced as skipper, there was a great sense of hope for the future. Now that hope has been squashed, I, and probably many more, have very little enthusiasm or confidence in England finding the form of the 2005 Ashes series any time soon. Vaughan's leadership, alongside Flintoff and Pietersen's match winning performances seem a distant and blurred memory.

Kevin Pietersen said it is a 'crucial year for English cricket', and the current tour of the West Indies will prove to be a good gauge in measuring just how ready England are for taking on Australia.

1 comment:

  1. Pietersen - great hitter, left or right handed but he is so full of himself! Must be a great bloke on a night out - not!

    Anyone has to be a better skipper although WI A have smashed hundreds - can Strauss pull the team round?


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