Incoming ECB chairman, Colin Graves, has hinted that there may be a chance for Kevin Pietersen to return to the England setup.1 I would love to see Pietersen in England colours again but doubt that it will happen, in my opinion too many things will have to change. Let’s take a quick look at the situation.
Giles Clarke will soon be the first president of the ECB. We have been informed that Clarke’s role will be restricted to representing the ECB at ICC meetings. Can we be sure that this will be the case? As long as he has any influence there will be no return for Pietersen. Giles is on record as saying that there’s no way back for Pietersen.2
Andy Flower, the ECB’s technical director of elite coaching (whatever that may be), is known to be anti Kevin. How much influence does he still have? He will most likely try and block any return for Pietersen but it’s possible that he could be convinced to allow it as he would not be directly involved in working with Pietersen.3
Paul Downton, the ECB’s managing director, can be said to be completely irrational about Pietersen. Unfortunately that doesn’t change the fact that he is steadfast in his believe that Pietersen was and is the only problem in English cricket. This would appear to be a him or me situation and Downton is in the pound seats. As recently as Dec 2014 he has said that there is no way back for Pietersen. Then again, he unconditionally backed Cook as World Cup captain less than a week before sacking him.4
Peter Moores, for Pietersen to return he will most likely have to lose his job as coach of England. Their previous when Moores was coach and Pietersen captain of England is well known.5
Thus we have at least four people at the ECB who will oppose any return for Pietersen. Of these at least two, Downton and Moores, will have to lose their jobs before there will even be a remote possibility of such a return occurring. This being the case one may well ask why did Colin Graves make this statement? This question can only be answered by some speculation.
First possibility, England had just been thrashed by Sri Lanka. It has become pretty much the norm over the last 12 months that a Kevin Pietersen story surfaces whenever England do badly (which is most of the time). It could be no more than a diversionary tactic to try and relieve the pressure on the team and management. The part of the Graves statement that mentions ‘positive influence’ is what has me leaning towards this being the most likely reason for the statement.
Second possibility, there are a number of people at the ECB that would like to win a round against Pietersen. Thus far all their efforts have been PR disasters. That dossier probably being the worst.6 Getting Pietersen to cancel a lucrative IPL contract due to an empty promise won’t help the ECB in any way but would result in plenty of schadenfreude. That alone may be reason enough.
Third possibility, a less than subtle hint to Moores that his job is on the line. I would think that it’s a prerequisite to any possible return by Pietersen that Moores is no longer the coach. Although others will need some convincing as well he will have to be the first to go.
If I was in Kevin Pietersen’s shoes I would be very suspicious. As I mentioned earlier, the ‘positive influence’ bit leaves an easy cop out considering the perception that a large portion of the public has regarding Pietersen. ‘Positive influence’ is, of course, a load of claptrap but the anti-KP brigade will swallow it hook, line and sinker. When Pietersen is involved people refuse to think. Probably afraid that it may influence their bias.
They are also aware that Pietersen really do wish to play for England again, at any cost. They could use this in their favour. Deciding to forsake the IPL and CPL for a chance to play for England again may not cause any financial harm to Pietersen but it would give the ECB the satisfaction of knowing that they have won a round. Having listened to what Pietersen has been saying I would think that he will be quite prepared to play county cricket at a reduced rate or even for free. His desire to play for England trumps finances.
Final thought for now, if Pietersen does decide to play County cricket and can’t come to an arrangement with Surrey, I would suggest giving Yorkshire a try. A professional setup with a coach that will be able to inspire Pietersen to new heights.
- As reported on the BBC website. ▲
- As reported on the Cricinfo website. ▲
- The Flower Pietersen Ashes situation as reported by the Daily Mail. ▲
- Downton reported as saying ‘no chance for Pietersen’ in the Telegraph. ▲
- Pietersen vs Moores as reported on the Reuters website. ▲
- Read about, and download, the dossier CricBuzz. ▲