On The Front Foot: Will Andrew Strauss spill the beans on Kevin Pietersen in his new autobiography?


Andrew Strauss, England's admirable former captain, is well on the way with his autobiography. It is to be published in late summer and it is certain that the first place to which most readers will turn is the index, to check under the letter P for Pietersen, KP.

Strauss had a long and auspicious international career but its end was marred by the Pietersen imbroglio late last summer. The key chapter has not been written yet and Strauss, tough but scrupulously fair in all his dealings as England captain, will think long and hard before putting pen to paper. Not only the facts but also the tone must be precise. It was instructive, as well as a pleasure, to sit on a panel at the Lord's Taverners spring lunch earlier this week as tribute was paid to Strauss.

When the Pietersen question was inevitably put by the Taverners' president, Chris Cowdrey, the answer given by Angus Fraser, friend and former Middlesex team-mate of Strauss and now the county's coach, was unequivocal. After last summer's shenanigans, said Fraser, he would not have selected Pietersen to play for England again. Tellingly, it brought the loudest round of applause of an affectionate afternoon. Pietersen will doubtless return to England's team later this summer when his poorly knee has recovered, and the side have demonstrated again this week that they are the poorer without his batting. But when this era in English cricket is reflected on in the years to come. it is Strauss who will indubitably be cast in the role of hero, Strauss who will be seen as a true icon of the game. When he comes to write the chapter that everyone wants to read he might remember that.

You could have bet on it

What fun the Indian Premier League kerfuffle would be if it were not so serious. To nobody's surprise three players, including the Test fast bowler S Sreesanth, have been arraigned by Delhi police on charges of spot-fixing. Rumours about the probity of the IPL have circulated since its inception, and three years ago the International Cricket Council's former head of corruption, Lord Condon, warned of its susceptibility. Part of the trouble is that the IPL is as much social event as sporting, invitations to its post-match parties a must-have ticket. The Indian Board have reacted by holding an "emergency meeting" today, four days after the scandal broke. And the Australians have created turmoil within the crisis. David Warner, Test opener and IPL player, reacted vehemently to a piece by the eminent sports writer Robert Craddock on the IPL's shortcomings. Part of Warner's opening tweet on the matter said: "Talking shit about ipl jealous prick. Get a real job." His language was unrestrained throughout. Craddock's colleague, the hard-hitting reporter Malcolm Conn, waded in. One of his highly readable tweets in a long exchange said: "You lose 4-0 in India, don't make a run, and you want to be tickled on the tummy? Win the Ashes and get back to me." Cricket Australia have announced an inquiry into Warner.

There's the catch

Peter Fulton has joined Neil Hawke, Jeff Crowe and Jeff Dujon in becoming the 300th Test victim of an England bowler. It was apposite that he should be caught by Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson's friend and occasional broadcasting sidekick. When Fred Trueman removed Neil Hawke for his 300th wicket in 1964 he needed the help at slip of Colin Cowdrey. The two men were neither friends nor broadcasting sidekicks.


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<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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