KP surely won't be recalled; but that doesn't mean he can't be
News that Kevin Pietersen is keen to play Championship cricket for Surrey this summer might have caused a few eyeballs to roll at the ECB.
If England come back from the World T20 tournament bruised and battered, and then struggle against Sri Lanka, the pro-Pietersen lobby will quickly raise their voices, demanding a recall.
After all, it is a peculiarity of Pietersen's 'sacking' that it was really no such thing. Central contracts may be a golden ticket to the international arena but they are not a prerequisite.
The sacking line no doubt suited both parties at the time of their breach: it heightened sympathy for Pietersen and, from England's point of view, implied there was no way back. There almost certainly isn't. But England are at liberty to pick anyone who is available. Stacks of runs by KP for Surrey may throw the whole debate wide open again.
Can Giles and Collingwood create enough team spirit to overcome England's T20 shortcomings?
The chances of England regaining the World T20 trophy (more icicle than cup) appear to recede almost daily.
Sunday's defeat to West Indies was a bad one, made worse by the news that Stuart Broad would miss the remaining games of the Caribbean tour. And yesterday came confirmation that Joe Root, arguably one of the keys to the team's balance on spinning wickets, would miss the upcoming tournament in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Luke Wright, who has taken Australia by storm in the Big Bash League, currently looks as confused as the Barraco Barner girl - and about as likely to make a big score. Ben Stokes, England's future personified just a month ago, has barely contributed since the squad arrived in Antigua.
Mind you, it's all about the team these days. (Even the Queen was all "#TeamCommonweath" in her annual Commonweath address yesterday.) And with Ashley Giles and Paul Collingwood at the helm, ultimate team men both, who knows what spirit might be unearthed to propel England to T20 icicle glory. They'll have to find it pretty damn quick though.
Taking your chances in the Lord's ballot
The Lord's ticket ballot sometimes has the feeling of a great democratic institution. It isn't perfect and those with the big bucks have an advantage. But the fact that individuals can't buy huge swathes of seating is still reassuring. And the not knowing what you might get - if anything - adds a certain frisson to the proceedings.
This year, I got lucky, with four tickets to the Sri Lanka test in June safely in the bank - in exchange for two hundred of my English pounds, that is. The over-priced beer will flow, Mahela Jayawardene will hopefully bat like an angel and, if everything goes to plan, England will remember how to win.
Is it too ungracious to grumble very briefly at the fact that my allocated tickets are in the Compton Lower Stand? Indubitably. And yet, and yet... It is surely one of the most closseted of all places from which to watch professional cricket: gloomy, cool and concrete.
At least I needn't pack sunscreen or a brolly. It will probably even be too dark to read my manual on how to be more appreciative about life.
How to inspire the next Charlotte Edwards
The Essex County Ground at Chelmsford may have changed since I last went, about a decade ago. I rather hope not. I always liked its homely, slightly ramshackle feel.
England's women will play a T20 against South Africa there this summer, which strikes me as the perfect way to introduce cricket to a four-year-old daughter who has no interest in anything ordained by the playground as being 'for boys'.
The men at Lord's versus Sri Lanka in a test? Not till she's eight at least. Especially in the Compton Lower. Amiable Essex for the women in a T20 against South Africa? I reckon it'll be the start of Roller Jnr’s road to the national team captaincy.
Chelmsford to my memory also has the best ice-cream of any cricket ground so it's basically a no lose situation.
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