Gentlemen's etiquette dictates that conversation at urinals is strictly forbidden. Yesterday Ashley Giles discovered the one caveat to that unspoken rule: when the match referee needs to talk about Kevin Pietersen.
A quick shake and zip of the fly. Not exactly the preparation Giles would have wanted ahead of his first meeting with a match referee as an international coach. But when Andrew Pycroft bumped into Giles and Pietersen in the toilets at Mohali airport, there was no time like the present and no time for gentlemen's etiquette.
"That was a very nice scene," revealed a relieved Giles. "My first meeting with the match referee. No, I don't think [Pietersen will be fined]. We've got to be careful with reactions to decisions and Andy was right to speak to Kev."
The incident in question was Pietersen's insolent reaction to his dismissal by umpire Ravi Sundaram on Saturday. Pietersen was looking untroubled on 17 from 19 balls in the third one-day international when he bullocked down the pitch to Ishant Sharma. The Indian pace bowler responded with a matador's guile. The short-pitched ball squared up Pietersen, a noise was heard, a catch was claimed, and a finger was raised.
What happened next was, nothing. Pietersen stood his ground. More noise was heard, this time the din of 40,000 fans acknowledging their hometown hero MS Dhoni's take. Still Pietersen remained unmoved. Until he compounded his stand-up protest with a headshake that lasted all the way to the boundary.
Replays indicated it was the cloth of pocket not willow of bat that made the noise. "It's tough for the umpires here," conceded Giles, "it's so loud decision-making is tough. We understand that." Either way, Pietersen is lucky to escape with just a toilet talking-to.
In October 2011, during a Twenty20 international in Kolkata, his dissent on dismissal cost 50 per cent of his match fee and a severe reprimand from the match referee, Roshan Mahanama. "As an experienced cricketer, Kevin should know that when an umpire raises his finger a player should leave the crease without showing his emotions, no matter what he may think of the decision."
Giles did not reveal what Pycroft discussed across the urinals but Pietersen's assumed contrition may have been quickened by memories of this city. In Mohali seven years ago, he was fined 30 per cent of his match fee for dissent. It is an unedifying corollary of the Decision Review System, whether in use or not, that batsmen now believe the raised finger is a mere comma in a sentence on their fate and not, as it should be, the full stop.
Pietersen's team-mate Stuart Broad is another accustomed to losing his match fee but heavy snow in England means he won't be paid a match fee at all this series. He will now join the squad in New Zealand rather than here in Mohali for the final two ODIs. Pietersen will have to be on his best behaviour for those games or next time, peeing in peace will be the least of his worries.Reuse content