Julian Knight: The Emperor's New Clothes (19/08/12)

Kevin Pietersen needed taking down a peg or two. Not so. Our writer says he's the victim of workplace bullying

Share
Related Topics

Bullying can take many forms, and its victims aren't always meek or socially awkward. Sometimes a victim can seemingly have everything – huge wealth, unnatural talent and a beautiful wife. Kevin Pietersen MBE, for all his bling and brashness, is just such a victim. He has been ejected from the England cricket team, possibly never to return, following a campaign that makes the Borgias look like honest conciliators.

Derided by team mates openly in their autobiographies – no fines or bans for breaking the omerta of the dressing room for Graeme Swann – KP is then publicly lampooned on social media by a hanger-on who is egged on by "team" mates.

This is excused as banter but is really the old schoolyard habit of taking someone down a peg or two. If you were in a workplace where colleagues had gone public with criticism and then castigated you on Twitter you could probably claim workplace bullying. A jealous clique has set about, it seems, undermining KP, and you do that most effectively in English team sport by taking the piss.

KP is used to dressing-room banter, being South African, but is he used to this English trait of knocking those whose panache makes them stand out? Where does banter stop and bullying commence? I'd argue the Twitter account crossed that line.

England's much lauded captain, Andrew Strauss, has been captured by this clique. Some seemingly unpleasant texts sent in a foreign language by KP about Strauss were the final straw, but really a captain should be a bigger man than that. The great 1990s and 2000s Australia team was famously riven with loathing – Shane Warne and Steve Waugh apparently barely spoke but they still produced the best cricket, arguably, the world has ever seen.

OK, Pietersen is what we'd call in the north a bit of a "gobshite", but what Team England should understand is that his brashness may well be insecurity, his bling may reflect his cultural rootlessness. KP is, by a country mile, the finest batsman I have ever seen play for England and he has gone too soon.

Julian Knight is a personal finance editor and author of 'Cricket for Dummies' (Wiley)

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd put the creative industries at the top of the agenda

Christopher Frayling
 

How I’ve backed the winner in every election since 1959

Andreas Whittam Smith
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power