KP, Trust and Unity

It’s a shame, that at least for the short term, the ECB and Kevin Pietersen aren’t together anymore. They do seem to deserve each other right now.

One party drops certain players based on derogatory private texts they haven’t seen, and another releases a hammy video the night before selection decision instead of just making a call, or sending a text.

Right now the sticking point seems to be that KP may or may not have sent a derogatory text to the South Africans. He’s not publicly stated that the texts weren’t derogatory. And the ECB have had enough.

And as Hugh Morris says: “The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust.”

Trust is the key word there.

When KP walked into meeting after meeting with the ECB only for his private communications to be leaked to the media, where was the trust then? Where was the unity? What was the purpose?

No ECB employees or board members were dropped for their behaviour.

And I’m no KP sympathizer. KP has played this as badly as he has ever played any left-arm finger spinner. Publicly, he’s looked like a buffoon. Privately, he’s whinged and moaned. And in meetings about his future he’s been naïve and bullish (if you believe the leaked information). Almost every piece of action he has taken has been easily mocked by his critics. And this is a man of many critics.

Yet, for all his faults and missteps and badly premeditated actions, the reason for him not playing in this next Text is a private communication between him and a friend. A member of the opposition, perhaps, but a member of the opposition that he smashed around the park last weekend.

KP has essentially been suspended for doing what every single one of us has done in our life, complained to a friend about our boss.

It seems about as petty a reason to drop someone as you can find. He didn’t break the law, he didn’t publicly abuse anyone, and he performed at the absolute maximum of his abilities, he just also had a private sulk.

What of other private communications? Should Giles Clarke, Andy Flower and Hugh Morris state publicly that in no conversations with anyone, via text, email or over the phone have they ever said anything derogatory about Kevin Pietersen? Trust.

Or should they just announce that in a show of good faith they are instigating an independent inquiry into who leaked the information?

We all make mistakes, and both sides have made a meal of this consistently, so why not just have a meeting with the aggrieved parties and let them chat about it. Keep the details of the meeting private. Let those upset by possible naughty texts explain why. And let those who feel that he can’t trust his employers to confront them, and perhaps even apologise for being a bit of a tool at times.

I doubt he’s the only player in this English team to complain about Strauss, Flower, Giles, Morris or the selectors. Has anyone checked Graeme Swann’s phone to see what he told his friends after being dropped for the last Test? Or did he even test the trust of the team when he released an autobiography that criticised Samit Patel and Pietersen?

The treatment of Patel in Sri Lanka was not exactly all about trust and unity, now was it?
Maybe even Strauss, in a moment of madness and completely out of character for him, said a mildly derogatory not expletive-laden comment to a friend about KP over the last week.
Strauss and Flower are proud and intelligent men who have succeeded in life and lead men well.

Are they really so easily upset by the fact that their most enigmatic and highly strung player might not always love them?

There isn’t an office, art collective, acappella group, or community farm in the world that doesn’t have people who at one time or another don’t get along. It’s what happens in jobs when more than a few people work together. You’re brought together to do a job, it’s nice when you make friends at work, but regardless of what Christian ads from the mid 90s showed, we don’t always get along. What people generally do is work around personalities and just get the job done regardless.

Let’s not say that sport is different. Shane Warne openly despised his coach; there was no need for texts. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant hated each other as they won three straight championships. Their hatred even has a wiki page. But they made it through. And Victoria Pendleton hasn’t always pleased her team-mates.

The ECB has to recognize that it’s their job to manage their players, KP’s failure is their failure too.

The ECB has decided to put the personal squabbles first. Only they know how bad this rift is, until they leak it. But by overlooking their own mistakes and focusing on the real or imagined ones of KP it is leading their team into a must win Test match without their in-form match-winner.

It’s not just trust in Morris’ sentence. It’s unity of purpose as well. To be the best in the world. And because of their own and KP’s actions, the lack of trust has led to them abandoning their best chance of winning this Test and staying on top of the rankings.

The ECB want to be No. 1 in the world, KP wants to be a legend. Surely they’re both more likely to do this together than apart.

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8 thoughts on “KP, Trust and Unity

  1. davender says:

    The ECB dropped him on the pretext of alleged texts which were harming team unity.Graeme swann wrote a book openly criticizing KP and Samit patel and continues to ridicule anybody he wants.But he is the golden boy and surely he will never harm team unity ever.

    Lesson for any outsiders playing for ECB is either to be as brilliant as KP so you can earn your livelihood from cricket elsewhere (IPL) or else keep your head down and keep getting tossed over.

  2. Tybalt says:

    If it isn’t one thing with KP, it’s another; I have no doubt that if given an inch he’d take a mile. He’s a knobhead. But he’s a knobhead that the England Test team needs and if the ECB can’t make the England Test team a priority in terms of its elite cricket program, well, they’re fooked.

    With things having degenerated to this extent, the humiliating failures of the winter are put into sharp relief, aren’t they?

  3. Roger Cable says:

    Jarrod, this is an excellent piece of work. For once, someone has seen the wood for the trees in this issue.

    We seem to have ended up in exactly the place the South Africans would have wanted us to be. Unfocused, tetchy, uncomfortable and I would guess very nervy. Just what the England team needs when facing a crucial match against the other “best” side in the world.

    A few points. Am I alone in wondering how the “private” texts between KP and whichever South African received them, found their way into the public domain? One of those involved was the World’s best fast bowler, who was unceremoniously and brilliantly carted around the ground by KP in the previous match. What possible motive could he (or they) have had to bring all this to the public’s, and more importantly the ECB’s, attention? Does KP really think they are his friends?

    Let’s face it Kevin Pietersen is a prat. Given two options in any scenario which affect him, he seems to have a World Beating knack to pick the one which gets him into an even worse mess. He also seems to have picked a set of mysterious Advisors from the Planet Zog.

    What on earth can lead them to advise his latest course of action? I know, we’ll put out a mawkish video, which almost, but doesn’t apologise for his errors, and still has him looking inwards in that “Everyone’s Getting at me” way that irritates us all beyond measure. And put it out knowing that this was precisely what the ECB didn’t want to happen. So now you hope you have the British public on your side, at a cost of the ECB spitting blood and guts. And just at the critical moment! Unless I’m mistaken, it’s the ECB and not the British Public, who makes the decision. Brilliant!

    But the point you make about relations within any community group is true. I worked in a largish organisation, and among my fellow Board Members, there wasn’t one I particularly liked. I retired 10 years ago, and not one of them stayed as a friend. But that was irrelevant. You got on with them, because you needed to get on with them – for the good of the organisation. They all had their skills and all added something which the others lacked.

    So what’s different here? With breathtaking incompetence on both sides, we’ve managed to sideline the best match-winning batsman we’ve got, in the most important match we’re going to play for ages! The ECB are clearly displaying one of the several faces they have. They ignore Swann’s disgraceful book, and their own leaking of private discussions, but jump on KP when, as you say, he moans about the boss. All I can say here is Thank God Text Messaging didn’t exist when I was at work!

    Their fundamental job is to manage and nurture the individual skills of each of the players, and they have manifestly failed to do this. Flower and Strauss and the ECB Top Brass, for all their lauded “Man Management” skills, have let this issue rumble on far too long, to the point where acting like bitchy schoolgirls now seems to be their only strategy.

    Good on Matt Prior for doing the simple thing. Ring the bloke up and talk about it. I hope that he wasn’t the only one to do that, although I suspect I might be wrong. I’m sure that many in the dressing room don’t like him much. But so what? Deal with it, you’re paid squillions of pounds to play cricket, and it comes with the territory. Don’t hide, as Anderson did, behind a newspaper column to pour a bit of High Octane Unleaded onto the situation. Has anyone in the ECB felt his collar about that piece? I thought so.

    Quite frankly, if I hadn’t bawled myself into a state of desiccation over the Olympics, I’d be in tears about it all. The ECB looks as if it’s keener to settle old scores, save face and win a power struggle than actually sort the issue out. KP equally manages to display a stunning incompetence in firstly recognising an issue, and then dealing appropriately with it. The Cricketing spectators throughout the world have been denied potentially the most exciting battle World Cricket could serve up today. And Graeme Smith has got England’s most dangerous batsman out of the team, and a completely unfledged young batsman who seems to have a distinct dislike to short pitched bowling, in his place. All in a match England must win.

    If I tried to explain that lot to my wife, she’d burst into hysterics about men running the world, and why we’re in the mess we are! And I’m not sure I would blame her.

  4. James says:

    You make some very good points, Jarrod, particularly around the double-standards with Swann, the importance of trust and the poor handling of the whole situation by the ECB public relations team. But this isn’t an issue of tittle-tattle or bitching about the boss; the whole issue here is of a man who believes the rules don’t apply to him. In any contractual environment, you have obligations on each side (known legally as “consideration”). When one side decides that they no longer have to abide by those rules, the contract breaks down. Sure, the ECB hasn’t covered itself in glory here, but Pietersen is a contracted player and he must follow what the boss says. Wild public pronouncements that demonstrate a lack of respect for your employer and unsanctioned pity-me freak shows on Youtube show that he considered himself above the rules. The text messages are the final straw and a convenient ‘specimen charge’ on which to convict him but don’t get hung up on them. The man was out-of-control and the ECB had to show him who pulled the strings. That’s what happened on Sunday and bloody good on them for it.

  5. skankh says:

    I’m pretty sure KP is just a poes. That’s how he was born and there is no cure. Trust me, I’m South African.

    • skankh says:

      I also think that is the main reason he went to go play his cricket in England. If he was here for all that time somebody would have beaten the shit out of him because that’s just how we deal with poese, fuck meetings.

  6. cricketnns says:

    A great article and very nice title. KP has no trust in the ECB and vice-versa, and he disrupts the unity within the team. Or did England even have team unity to start with?

    @skankh – LOL, looks like I learnt a new word today! But there’s no need to go that far mate, everyone has their bad times and fair share of problems, and KP is in the middle of a tough phase for him.

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