England went in to the second Test match today distracted by yet another piece of Twitter twittery. It was supplied by one of the previous miscreants, Kevin Pietersen, who took it upon himself to berate the groundsman at the Adelaide Oval for his inattention at the practice nets when it rained on Wednesday.
Pietersen tweeted: "What should a groundsmen (sic) make sure he does 2 days before a test match? Cover the nets when it rains maybe? PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!" Under the 140-character rule that applies to tweets, Pietersen could have added another few exclamation marks.
Since it rained throughout England's training session, they could not have used the outdoor nets in any case and the ground staff eventually put covers on after they had dealt with the pitch on which the Test is being played. Pietersen's tirade was gratuitous and unnecessary and it was possible to sense the exasperation among his colleagues.
He previously ran into trouble with a tweet last August when he announced to the world his grievance at being omitted from England's one-day squad. His post then read: "Yep. Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too.. Its a f**k up!! Surrey have signed me for l..." It showed he had not quite got the hang of it because he ran out of characters before his message was finished.
Andrew Strauss, the England captain, was forced yesterday to discuss tweeting and its merits rather than his team's preparations for the match. He tried his best to defend Pietersen, saying he had not breached the Twitter protocol laid down by team management, but privately Strauss must have seethed
"Generally, he was just frustrated because he wanted to have a long bat yesterday," said Strauss. "He vented a bit of frustration, it's not something we want to get overly dragged into. There are degrees of everything and we don't want anything to distract our attention from what's important. I don't think he realised when he put it on there, he was just frustrated."
England are still prepared to accept that some of their players are obsessive tweeters – although one of the most popular in the country, David "Bumble" Lloyd, ended his prodigious tweeting career in disgust earlier this week, alarmed at the growing use of excessive language.
Strauss, a strict non-tweeter, said: "I wouldn't prefer all of our players to be exactly like me, though. Everyone is different, a lot of the boys enjoy it and it is a good way of broadening the appeal of the game. It allows players to be in contact with people who support the game, so there are some real benefits to it. But it has to be used responsibly. By and large it has been, but we need to make sure there aren't many more incidences of the like we have seen previously."
Why Pietersen did it only he knows. Perhaps he was inadvertently seeking attention after the rest of the batting order grabbed it in Brisbane during the first Test. The kerfuffle deflected attention from Australia's dramatic decision to drop Mitchell Johnson from the second Test.
Johnson, World Cricketer of the Year a year ago, had a dreadful game in Brisbane and he was probably omitted as much for his own peace of mind as that of the team.
"It's obviously disappointing but not the end of the world," said Johnson. "Getting away from all the hype surrounding the series and getting into the nets and working on it like that is probably the best option for me, rather than try to work it out in the game. I was trying to do exactly that in the last Test and it's obviously very hard to do."Reuse content