His language may have been coarse, but Andrew Strauss was voicing a common view of Kevin Pietersen

 

On reflection, Andrew Strauss might have chosen more decorous language, whether speaking privately or publicly. But his comments about his former colleague, Kevin Pietersen, which unintentionally spoilt the party at Lord’s on Saturday, reveal much about the deep strength of feeling in the English game.

In describing Pietersen as an “absolute c**t” in an off-air conversation with his fellow Sky commentator Nick Knight, Strauss was not issuing an exclusive opinion. He thought that he and Knight were having a private chinwag during a break in the match between MCC and the Rest of the World but it was picked up by a live microphone, as these things often are. Initially it was heard only by viewers of Fox Sports in Australia but soon after naturally went viral on the internet.

The disdain inherent in the assessment, although followed by an embarrassed apology, brooks no debate and offers no room for manoeuvre. Strauss was merely echoing what so many, and probably most people once or still connected with the England team, feel about Pietersen.

It is clear from the tone that Strauss’s feelings have hardened. In the summer of 2012 he seemed to have come to terms with Pietersen’s behaviour, which to those on the outside seemed unforgivable.

Pietersen betrayed Strauss, who was then captain, by texting members of the South Africa team, England’s opponents in a Test series. It was widely reported that he had referred to his captain as a doos, a particularly insulting Afrikaans word.

In his subsequent autobiography, Strauss told how Pietersen visited him at home to apologise after admitting sending what he called “provocative text messages”. Strauss wrote: “I accepted his apology and hold no grudges against him. The far greater issue, even at the time of the Test match, was one of trust.”

During conversations at the time, Strauss was relaxed about Pietersen’s return to the team and insisted that he was largely a good influence in the dressing room. There was certainly no use of the dreaded C-word or anything close to it.

But then came the events of last winter in Australia, when Pietersen yet again became isolated from his colleagues, and was subsequently sacked.

Strauss, retired more than a year by then, was not directly involved but he will have heard precisely what went on in the dressing room. He will have heard that Alastair Cook, his successor as captain, had run out of patience and sympathy with Pietersen.

Indeed, Cook was profoundly affronted by what Pietersen had done to Strauss in 2012 and, although he was willing to have him in the England team subsequently, it is beginning to emerge that he never truly forgave him for his behaviour then.

After Saturday’s unfortunate events, which rather overshadowed what was reported to be a lovely occasion at Lord’s to mark the ground’s bicentenary, Strauss had no wriggle room.

Pietersen’s usual, firmest, if not only ally, Piers Morgan, the TV chat show host, swiftly went on to Twitter to traduce his pal’s critics.

He tweeted: “If KP called Strauss a ‘c..t’ on air, cricket media destroy him. But they’re all ‘feeling sorry’ for ‘poor Straussy’. #Hypocrites”

Morgan may have a point, though Pietersen has had a rather more balanced press than both men concede.

If, however, there is an element of truth in what Morgan said about the differing attitudes to Strauss and Pietersen, he might for once have stopped to think and ask himself why this might be so.

Pietersen was given a handsome ovation when he went out to bat at Lord’s on Saturday, perhaps in memory of some of the great innings he played for England. He repaid it with a fairly crass piece of batting.

Although he has been sacked, Pietersen continues to insist that he would like to play for England again, presumably rather than knock about the world’s Twenty20 leagues. It is not going to happen and, whatever else, Strauss’s comments explain why.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?