London: Concerned over focus shifting from winner-takes-all clash at Lord’s next week between England and South Africa, former all rounder Ian Botham wants Kevin Pietersen issue to be sorted out quickly as it is hogging all the limelight.
Pietersen had warned on Monday that next week’s third Test at Lord’s could be his last game for England following an ongoing contractual dispute with his employers and what he called dressing-room politics.
Botham said: “I’m at a loss to know why, after a pulsating game of cricket between the two best teams in the world, the focus is not on a winner-takes-all clash at Lord’s next week. That is where the eyes of the cricket world should be, not on disputes between Kevin Pietersen and the ECB.
“Those sorts of things should be dealt with in private between the people involved, not in the open in the run-up to a huge Test match, that I for one am really looking forward to. It reflects poorly on the team, poorly on the game and poorly on everyone involved. It must be sorted out like grown-ups.”
Writing in his column for The Daily Mirror, Botham said whether Pietersen might be playing in his last Test match next week should be the England team management’s problem and they are the ones who need to sort it out.
“It is what they are paid for. The issue here is for managing director of English cricket Hugh Morris, selector Geoff Miller, coach Andy Flower and Kevin Pietersen to sort this out. Together with the captain they need to sit down and thrash this out for the good of the team.
“They should not be airing their dirty laundry in public. It should be done in a civilised and mature way between Kevin, his management and the England team management. This group of people should have already got together and tried to get it sorted. The management is paid to manage and the players are paid to play,” he wrote.