With Strauss gone, should England bring back KP?
England cricket chief Hugh Morris met Kevin Pietersen yesterday to discuss the batsman's international future. Our experts give their view
Sunday 02 September 2012
Yes, England should bring Pietersen back says former England Test batsman and Sky Sports commentator, Nick Knight
England's team success in recent years has been built on a platform of ability, honesty, unity and trust. This combination has created harmony.
The player who is arguably the most talented in this dressing room now stands uncomfortably alienated. The questions which have perplexed the game for almost a month are simple. Can the situation be resolved? Will Kevin Pietersen play for England again?
My answers are yes and yes. But there are riders. Pietersen, the protagonist in all this, has become distant from the team in a way rarely, if ever, seen before. To come back, he has to display characteristics which are not natural to him: humility, contrition and remorse. Given that, there is a chance that he will play for England again in all forms of the game, which is what I want to see.
Many may wonder if the retirement last week of Andrew Strauss will have any impact on the discussions. I doubt it. Alastair Cook, his successor, will now presumably be involved and his views and opinions will be greatly valued.
Whether the players themselves become more hardened towards Pietersen as a result of Strauss's retirement is uncertain, but they may feel that the whole affair hastened his decision.
Pietersen may have tested those at the head of the ECB – good, decent, tolerant people – once too often. I believe he can claim to have made many pertinent points about scheduling and workload. Unfortunately, in some ways he wants to create his own schedule.
But it is not what he wants that I have any particular disagreement with. It is the manner in which KP has chosen to put his case. Hard to be certain but it is my opinion that this is where the relationship has broken down: Pietersen's inability to appreciate his employers' dilemma.
But what now for this unrivalled talent? First he must meet his employers and team-mates face to face (alone) in a confrontation that would be initially uncomfortable and awkward, then maybe the two parties can find some common ground.
Pietersen's recent outbursts have lacked thought and clarity, contributing to his ostracism from the team that made him and gave him the opportunity.
This whole affair has divided opinion but everybody would agree that Kevin Pietersen has got to be worth watching again.
This restless character has spent too much time roaming from dressing room to dressing room in recent years. It is time to stop. It may take time, it will certainly require copious amounts of goodwill but let us hope this ridiculously talented player can find his home.
No, England should not bring Pietersen back says cricket Correspondent Stephen Brenkley
Whatever is said about Kevin Pietersen's motives in coming to England to play cricket, it was a brave journey. He was 20 years old, he knew nobody and he was backing a talent that had yet to be revealed.
It was the summer of 2001 and he had played little senior cricket. Indeed, his most significant effort had been an innings of 61no that he played for KwaZulu-Natal against England in December 1999 batting at No 9.
Legend has it that the idea of trying his luck abroad was formed during that match when he got chatting to a few of the opposition. All observers were impressed by what they saw. It took only 57 balls, included four fours and four sixes, and he had Phil Tufnell for breakfast: no weakness at that time against left-arm spin.
It is a neat coincidence that the KwaZulu-Natal side for that match also contained a 16-year-old batsman said to have a big future. Name of Hashim Amla. Pietersen was playing as an off-spinner. He bowled 55 overs and took four wickets, including Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan.
In England, the impression he made was more or less immediate. His third first-class match for Nottinghamshire was his first at Lord's and he made 165no. These are early examples of that unfathomable gift of being able to do it when somebody might be watching.
Seeing him play in those early years in England it was obvious he had what it took. We first met in autumn 2003 when he was about to go on tour with England A to India. It was not an auspicious interview, ending in a harsh exchange of views about his reasons for being in England.
Pietersen may have forgotten but he never seemed to bear a grudge. He has been unfailingly courteous over the years, always sure of his own place in the grand scheme, or at least often telling us how sure he was. Maybe they are different things.
He has had a remarkable capacity to fall out with the teams he has played for and Pietersen has constantly expressed the team ethic without ever quite adhering to it. In a bar in India once, he had just signed some endorsement deal or other and, chatting amiably about it, said: "Show me the money." He meant it.
As time has gone on stuff has happened. He has become higher maintenance. What really hurts in the latest shemozzle is what he might or might not have said about Andrew Strauss, a man who truly did not deserve the barbs. And in the phrase, he has lost the dressing room.
There is a lot of talking to be done yet. But by now that is all it can be. For Kevin there is no way back.
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