All day I’ve been listening to pundits and journalists giving their views on the latest happenings in the Kevin Pietersen saga.
Some have been claiming that the ECB went cap in hand to Pietersen after the World T20 defeats, and that he has won. While others seemed to be of the opinion that Pietersen is being treated like a naughty boy in detention.
For my own take, listening to the press conference that Pietersen attended with Giles Clarke, and watching clips of it on the news tonight, Pietersen looked and sounded anything but victorious.
He cut the figure of a man who had been forced to accept being humiliated again.
What the hell is the process of reintegration? And what on earth is the idea of a four month central contract?
For me this is a further ‘punishment’ humiliation being inflicted on Pietersen, although in fairness to the ECB, Pietersen brought the first humiliation (the Youtube video) on himself.
There was no explanation of why this has taken so long to sort out. The only new thing we have learnt today is that the texts apparently weren’t derogatory, slightly contradicting what we had previously been led to believe.
So what exactly has he done wrong?
On the issue of the texts, if there was nothing incriminating in them, then why would he have deleted them? Personally I find that hard to believe. But Pietersen has assured the ECB that there was nothing derogatory and no tactics were disclosed, and as the ECB set a precedent in taking Stuart Broad’s word that he had nothing to do with the spoof Twitter account, they probably had no choice but to take Pietersen at face value also.
The deleting of the texts brings me nicely onto my next point. The lack of a disciplinary or cricketing reason to sack Pietersen (in other words, not offer him a central contract).
Something tells me, and I include the body language in today’s press conference of both men in this, that the ECB wanted to see the back of Pietersen.
One theory I have is that there may have been attempts towards the end of the season to try and get him to hang himself. For example, was the resting of Broad, Swann and even Andy Flower over the past few weeks done deliberately to try and provoke Pietersen into snapping?
And if he had snapped and lashed out verbally, then surely that would have been the end of his England career as he would have sealed his own fate by making his position untenable. He would have publicly slagged off his coach and team mates, and could probably have been dumped for disciplinary reasons alone.
But without Pietersen committing cricketing suicide, the ECB had no legal way of sacking him.
Without the text messages (or Blackberry messages, or whatever they were), the ECB have no solid evidence against him. All they have to go on is that Pietersen was getting the backs of the other players up.
If they didn’t offer him a central contract, I think that the ECB were worried that Pietersen may sue them for constructive dismissal.
Imagine this case going to an employment tribunal. What could the ECB hold up to use against him? There is no cricketing reason to drop him, and no proof of any disciplinary issues, without the Blackberry/text messages.
I’m no legal expert, but I can’t see how the ECB couldn’t offer him a central contract. And the 4 month contract offer is their way of trying to tell Pietersen that they are in charge of the situation and that he is on probation. Letting him know who the boss is, if you like.
Unless the context of the texts are revealed by the South Africans, then this issue looks closed. In my view it remains to be seen if Pietersen is prepared to put up with much more wrist slapping from the ECB, there must be only so much he can take before he does eventually snap.
No one seems interested in saying what really went on, and in a way I can’t blame them.
One thing I do believe though, is that Pietersen must have a hell of a lot that he will want to get off his chest one day. And when his time playing for England does come to an end, the opportunity to get it all off his chest will be there.
I’m sure it will be some book when it eventually comes out!