Kevin Pietersen may have answered the call issued by new ECB chairman Colin Graves that only runs in county cricket will see his England recall, but who is really fooling who?
Aren’t we just watching a huge PR, face-saving, wriggle by both parties to cling on to whatever reputations they have left on the issue.
Graves is reported as stating that only runs for KP in English county cricket would be good enough to force his way back in to the national setup.
It could be argued that Graves was calling Pietersen’s bluff – bringing him out into the open. Did he really expect, or want, him to take the carrot?
Pietersen on the flipside, probably understanding that he was being outed and his desire to play for England publicly tested decided to take the only line that would keep his supporters in tow.
He signs for Surrey, who are obviously delighted to have his talent and runs back. So the man that described county cricket as the ‘muppet show’ is happy to use it when it suits him.
And while all of this is going on England’s Test captain Alastair Cook told cricketbadger.com in the UAE that a KP return is “very unlikely’ and national selector James Whitaker said KP was “not in our plans”.
Cook told us there was little prospect of a second successful ‘reintegration’ for his controversial former team-mate, especially after Pietersen’s criticism of management and colleagues in his autobiography.
“I think it’s very unlikely,” said Cook. “There’s been a hell of a lot of stuff happened, with his book and all that kind of stuff. It’s a long way back from that.”
Just today, Peter Moores told the media as England left for West Indies, that KP “is not on my radar.”
If KP has received promises from England’s new top man, how wise is it of him to make them, when the men currently in the ECB’s employ to make such decisions have polar opposite views?
Did KP ever expect a second chance?
You’d have to argue that writing ‘that’ book suggests not. He burned a lot of bridges in doing so as well as making a lot of money. It read like a parting shot.
“I would love to get county runs,” said KP, who has scored 8,181 runs in 104 Tests for England. No one has ever questioned his immense talent.
“If I can do anything that can help me get back into it for England, then it’s something I want to do. I love playing for England.”
The ECB have seemingly struggled to substantiate why they ‘fell out’ with KP which led to, in his words his sacking, or more accurately his request to have his central contract bought out.
ECB managing director Paul Downton described his ‘disengagement’ with team-mates during the Sydney Test defeat that concluded England’s whitewash in Australia at the start of last year.
It would appear there is no huge, earth shattering ECB smoking gun.
KP didn’t kill anyone, punch the skipper, he simply seems to have been part of a whole series of little events that alienated him from his teammates and management.
If there was a major reason for KP’s subsequent omission from the England side we would have heard it by now.
He has a history of not being a team player.
Has anyone ever been able to really handle KP?
When he left Nottinghamshire after their relegation in 2003 the famous tale is that club captain, Jason Gallian, hurled his kitbag over the players’ balcony and broke his bat after being told he was leaving.
Despite KP’s successful attempts to ingratiate himself with the public when on commentary stints during the recent Big Bash League, rumours came from the Melbourne Stars camp that he was not a popular member of the squad.
People will counter that good managers can get the best out of everyone. That argument rings true, but KP has worked under some of the best cricket coaches around the world and you don’t hear many of them screaming his approval from the rooftops.
So, let’s theorise…
In the first month of the season KP scores two double centuries in the Championship and also adds two or three hundreds to his tally. England return from West Indies without massive success. Will England pick KP?
It just can’t happen can it?
For a start all of the Cook’s, Whitakers and Moores’ positions would become untenable. They’ve publicly stated they don’t want him back, can’t see it happening, or whatever the soundbite of the day was – but the gist has almost always been ‘over my dead body’.
A KP recall would be ECB managerial suicide surely?
He’ll score runs, but does a leopard ever really change its spots?