Was Pietersen made a scapegoat for England`s Ashes debacle?
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 09, 2014, 21:54
  
After a humiliating tour to Australia, where England lost all the thirteen matches out of fourteen played across all formats of the game, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) decided to take some harsh decisions. And the first player to face the heat was none other than Kevin Pietersen, as they decided to drop the mercurial batsman from the upcoming Caribbean tour and subsequently from the World Twenty20, only to put a full stop at his illustrious career.

ECB’s decision seems, as if had been taken in a hurry. At a time, when England cricket is already going through a tough time, it’s undoubtedly an introspection time for the Board. But it doesn’t mean showing doors to a senior batsman of KP’s stature, that too once and for all. Especially, at a time, when England has already faced few big blows.

Of late, England have lost a coach in Andy Flower, their best spinner in Graeme Swann and a temperamental batsman in Jonathan Trott (whose career is still uncertain), al
l that within just a tour or one can say within the span of 100 days. In fact, England’s Test skipper Alastair Cook is under scrutiny as well after England’s worst Ashes defeat.

Senior players, who have served the country for almost a decade and have played crucial roles in taking their team right at the top in the ICC Test rankings in 2011, have retained the Ashes on three occasions, need a bit of backing from their board. Especially, with a side like England, who had been playing their best cricket in the recent past, where they defeated the same Australia in their own backyard.

And if, ECB thinks that seniors are responsible for the recent debacle, then why only KP was being at the receiving end, why not skipper Cook, what about Ian Bell and James Anderson? They haven’t performed either in the forgettable tour Down Under. The decision of putting Pietersen’s career at stake doesn’t look wise, and it seems as if KP has been made the scapegoat for England`s debacle. And even if it was a high time for the board to take this bold step, then the way it showed the doors to the flamboyant batsman, is surely an unprofessional approach by any means.

A batsman, who has been the highest scorer for the country and the backbone of the team, in almost all formats of the game for nine long years, was ousted, in the worst manner possible. His illustrious career has come to an end without a farewell, which he certainly deserves. Premature end of his career shook him badly as he stated after being told about the shocking news: “I believe I have a great deal still to give as a cricketer. I will continue to play but deeply regret that it won’t be for England.”

KP has been a true entertainer on and off the field. He has a personality and an attitude that can easily catch attention. From his 6.4 inch frame to his unique hair styles, to his unorthodox but entertaining batting style, he made himself a public figure quite swiftly, which also helped him increase his fan base all over the world. KP is to cricket what David Beckham is to Football. He loves to remain in news for all the reasons -- either good or bad. Undoubtedly, his cricket career has always been under the clouds of controversies, but his on-field talent always overshadowed his mischiefs.

In his nine-year long stint with the England team he played 104 Tests, 136 ODIs and 37 Twnety20 matches. During the 2005 Ashes, Pietersen was the driving force as England got the better of Australia and was even appointed as the skipper of the team in 2008, though for a brief period. He once again played a crucial role in 2010 Ashes; when England went on to beat Australia Down Under after almost 25 years.

Many cricket pundits are of the view that it’s all over for the South African born player, as he is no more in the scheme of things for ECB. But at the moment, as no one seems to be capable of filling the big boots of Pietersen, it would only increase the problems for the ECB. One can only hope, that the board will realize their mistake soon and give a second chance to this Pietermaritzburg born middle order batsman to entertain the cricket world with his slightly unorthodox batting style for few more years.

First Published: Saturday, February 08, 2014, 21:54


(The views expressed by the author are personal)
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