Well Done David Collier

I had previously thought that the England management had made themselves look as stupid as they possibly could with the Kevin Pietersen affair, but that was before the latest gaffe with remarks made by ECB chief executive David Collier.

For Collier to say that the South Africans provoked Pietersen into sending those messages is totally stupid in my view. Even in the unlikely event that it is true, the ECB can never prove it. It just makes them look stupid and like they are trying to blame someone else for what happened.

Could it be that this a pathetic attempt to smooth Pietersen’s path back into the dressing room? To say to the other players, that it was the South African’s fault what happened? If this is the case, does Collier think that the England players are stupid enough to fall for this?

Does anybody else really believe Collier’s take on things, that the South African’s deliberately set out to take advantage of a rift in the England dressing room and make the split even worse by sending texts to Pietersen, to provoke him into responding in such a negative way about his team mates that they could release the information to the media and cause even more trouble?

Am I naive in thinking that this all sounds a bit far fetched? Personally, I don’t blame the South Africans for not being at all happy about this.

Like I have written above, it just makes England look stupid again. It makes us look like sore losers, that we have to come up with excuses that it wasn’t our fault we imploded.

David Collier doesn’t normally say much. I’m not sure if this is because he is a quiet man, or because he has to be kept quiet because not the most sensible remarks come out of his mouth.

Either way, I can’t really see what this has achieved, True or not (I believe not), it was best not said at all in my opinion.

Pietersen and the ECB, it’s time to put an end to it all.

The fact that there is a fairly important Test match due to start on Thursday seems to be going largely unnoticed at the moment such is the furore over the Kevin Pietersen text affair.
According to reports, Pietersen contacted the ECB on Tuesday and apologised over the text messages as he wishes to put things right before it’s too late for him to be named in the World T20 squad.
Personally I hope that this apology will put an end to things and see Pietersen reinstated into all three sides and a line drawn under this whole sorry affair.
I’ve heard and read so many contrasting views over the last few days, such as the ECB were out to get Pietersen and the texts were all the ammo they needed, he needs to apologise over the texts, why should he apologise for the texts, they were just banter, it’s all KP’s fault as his ego is too big, the other players are jealous, etc ,etc.
For me I think if the ECB stand firm over this and don’t pick him, they may well see public opinion start to turn against them if results on the pitch go wrong.
There are plenty of different interpretations of what has happened here and there are also plenty of past incidents that don’t seem to have been treated with the same level of firmness by the ECB.
Stuart Broad may claim he had nothing to do with the parody twitter account set up by his friend. It may also be impossible to prove he knew anything about it (unless he gets grassed up by his mate who ran the account), but people will draw their own opinions on this.
If he is guilty, it’s a very bad misjudgement by the captain of the T20 side, and could it be argued a possible sacking offence?

Either way, people could interpret it as one rule for Broad and one rule for KP. Pietersen was certain a (so called) team mate was behind it, and for it too be a good buddy of a team mate, says enough too me.  
In the recent past it could also be argued that Graeme Swann was allowed off the hook when he publicly criticised his team mates in his book. It would rightly be argued that he didn’t slag them off to the opposition during a game, but even so, it wasn’t clever and he could and probably should have been disciplined over it.
Again, is this one rule for Swann, and one rule for KP?
The ECB have also allowed all these leaks over the Pietersen affair. They also watched him back down in humiliating style on Youtube last Saturday, before dropping him and further humiliating him.
The South Africans have played down the texts as banter, the ECB haven’t requested to see them. By not doing so, they are surely leaving themselves open to the accusation of judging Pietersen without all the facts.
The ECB need to be careful here, all these incidents could eventually make them look to be the bad apple in all of this.
My own personal view on the ECB is that they have managed this in an appalling manner. Their job is supposed to be to manage and I don’t see where they have managed here. Prevention is better than cure and they have failed miserably to stop this getting out of hand.
That’s not to say Pietersen is totally innocent, as I don’t believe he is. I’m just trying to present a balanced argument here, as we don’t appear to be getting one at the moment.
Pietersen’s camp must have behind the persistent rumours that he was going to quit 50 Over cricket for the 12 months or so prior to him doing so. Who else’s interest would it have been in to keep spreading that story around?
He also can’t quit ODI’s one minute, and then say he wants to play the next. His press conference after the 2nd Test was stupid, the text messages (banter or not, and I don’t believe they were banter) were totally brainless.
He is far from innocent in all this. But the point I’m trying to make is, he’s not the only one.
So it’s for these reasons that I hope the ECB see past all the crap and just get back to selecting the best side for England. If Pietersen can come back into the fold and be professional, then why can’t the others be professional and accept him.
They don’t have to like each other, just respect each other and play as a team again. 

Some Praise for the ECB

I have just read an article on the Daily Telegraph website, in which they claim to have knowledge that the ECB is going to ditch the ‘blind auction’ process for the rights to stage test matches and replace it with ‘set fees’ instead.

I for one have been critical of the ECB in the past for their financial management of English cricket, but when they do something (I believe to be) right, I am happy to praise them.

I obviously don’t know the true economics of the counties involved, but it seems fairly obvious that the blind auction system was a recipe for disaster in the long run.

Counties couldn’t continue to invest in their grounds in the way Edgbaston, Old Trafford, etc, have done recently, without knowing if their efforts would be rewarded with a test match. I would imagine that the other option was to try to ensure you had a test match by making a massive bid that could put the whole financial future of the county at risk.

What good would it have done to carry on like that? None.

So it’s good to see that apparently the ECB have listened to the counties and changed the process. It dosen’t go into great detail and say how a potential stalemate would be resolved if there is 2 or 3 bids for a test, but that is for another day.

The future of cricket as we know it could have been at stake if the previous blind auction had continued (bloody hell, I’m starting to sound like Giles Clarke!).

The article also says that the ECB board is likely to discuss market research results into restructuring the county game. If I remember rightly, there was a recommendation last year that said the T20 group games should be cut down on, if this is one of the issues on the agenda, I would welcome this too.

I know it’s hard for some of the smaller counties, as they rely on the T20 competition – and I’m not suggesting hanging them out to dry, as they are equally as important as the bigger counties are.

The counties already rely on ECB handouts, so surely they need to look at the structure of the handouts and rehash them to ensure that the counties that do rely on T20 aren’t left short. Surely they must recognise that there is a risk of overkill with T20, so it is an issue that needs to be resolved for the long term good.

All this sounds to me that the ECB are listening to what the counties are saying and heading in the right direction, for this I applaud them.

A good day for County Cricket

Last nights T20 final was a good example of what is good about the county cricket circuit. The ECB took a risk by competing against the opening day of the football Premier League season, but it appears to have paid off as the day was a complete success.

Despite some dodgy weather, the public were treated to a great final, going right down to the wire. The game had everything, some big hitting, good and indifferent fielding, good cricket from exciting young prospects like Danny Briggs and Jos Buttler, along with plenty of drama and a classic tight finish.

It shows the ECB that we do still have a good product in this country, one that should be looked after and treated with more care and respect.

We cricket fans, are sick of seeing Giles Clarke and co just looking to fill their boots with wheelbarrows full of cash at the expense of the long term good of our game.

There is a competition here that is still alive and needs revamping to make it even better, rather than flogging the life out of it as has been tried this year. Lots of players have spoken out about the endless matches this summer, and it has clearly been overdone in the group stages.

Whether that is down to the county chief exec’s or ECB, I don’t know. But someone has got to get a grip and sort this out, and sooner rather than later. It’s time to be more realistic, current economic conditions means the public can’t afford too much. The sort of ridiculous ideas like having two T20 competitions need to be put to bed once and for all. And the greedy idiots who come up with these stupid ideas should be booted out of cricket.

I’m not pretending the solution is an easy one. If they drag it out over the season, it makes keeping the big names from the T20 world of cricket harder to retain for the duration of the tournament.

If they do it in a 3-4 week window – like they did at in the early days – then it would be easier to keep big names for T20. That would also give the ECB the option of opening up the competition to more overseas players, like in India.

There would appear to be a resistance within county cricket to compact it like this. All the talk seems to be of Friday night fixtures over the main course of the season.

I like the sound of the fast, furious compact competition, let the counties sign 4 to 5 overseas stars for the duration of T20 and get it over with quickly, leave the public hungry for more. At the moment it is overkill.

Yesterday’s finals day showed the public are still interested, and the cricket action lived up to the public expectation. Lets see what next season brings.