Pietersen takes crisis in stride to raise his standing

first_imgSportblog Share on Messenger Facebook Twitter Facebook Share England cricket team Reply | Pick Share on Facebook recommendations Report newest When Kevin Pietersen admitted this week to sleepless nights as he wrestled with the demands of leading England back to India, it was enough to bring a slight wince of concern. One captain of recent vintage, Andrew Flintoff, has already suffered rapid overload because of the demands of captaining England. It does not bear thinking about that Pietersen might go the same way.What prevents too much concern is that Pietersen is a fearful embellisher, a man who naturally delights in the power of theatrical exaggeration. So admiration for a team-mate is expressed in terms of love and affection, a half-decent display is fantastic. We can conclude therefore that Pietersen’s sleepless nights are actually just a bit of tossing and turning. England should quietly check it out all the same, because anything else would be a reason to protect him before it is too late. A fortnight off before Christmas, however, is not an option.Almost without comment, he is well on the way to becoming the most powerful England captain for a generation. Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain were tough cookies, but they were answerable to Duncan Fletcher, the coach. Pietersen makes no such concessions to Peter Moores. He talks of “my team” and he won the argument for a less intensive training regime than in New Zealand last winter. And, in a major political crisis, while Pietersen has held counsel, Moores has remained in the background.England’s start under Pietersen was perfection: he made a hundred in his first game as captain against South Africa at The Oval, but from the outset the most noticeable aspect was how enthusiastically England responded to his leadership. He then led England to an overwhelming success in the one-day series. King Kev clearly had what it takes. Share on Twitter | Pick 0 1 Facebook Chinmay Twitter Share on Twitter Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment Share on Facebook Share There is something of the cocky kid-brother about Pieterson. Convinced he can do anything and talented enough to pull off most of it. That was fine as a cricketer and as a person, but as a captain his ability to learn, notice, adapt and exploit will be what defines success or failure, as it is with every other captain.This is where I’m… not worried… but… sceptical? He just doesn’t seem one for plans B and C. I’m sure he can cope with the demands of captaincy but can he plan, plot and scheme?If Fletcher were still coach, Pieterson’s cheerful camarderie would be a good foil. But Moores seems to think he’s a disciplinarian, which leads me to ask…Who is England’s strategist? Email (optional) Share on Twitter India cricket team Share Share on Twitter Share Share on LinkedIn Pieterson would have been a great captain in Football (you could say he is England’s cricket equivalent of Stevie G)Yeah, Stevie G but obnoxious. Personally, I don’t like Kevin Pietersen – he’s crass, up himself, and it still occasionally confuses me when I see a lot of refernce to KP, which is also my initials – but he’s doing a bloody good job. 0 1 Share via Email | Pick Facebook Report Report 0 1 Report Reply Show 25 First published on Wed 10 Dec 2008 19.01 EST oldest Report Report England’s captain Kevin Pietersen is surrounded by security at Chennai airport Photograph: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images Reply Share on Facebook 1 Twitter Share on Facebook Reply Twitter Share on Twitter Cameldancer Reply blogposts | Pick Reply 11 Dec 2008 20:43 Share on Facebook Finelegs – agreed, I think Pieterson can improve the performance of the England team by eliciting a more whole-hearted effort from the players. However, that will only help us beat the likes of the Windies and Kiwis. To beat India, Australia, SA and Sri Lanka something more will be required.Pity then that our next three series are India – WI – Australia. (Are Sri Lanka still coming early next summer?) weiguin FineLegs Facebook AndyinBrum I think David has it spot on here. I’m not a big fan of KP as a person and some of his platitudes and all-round campness make me wince. (on the other hand, the unrehearsed nature of his comments is a refreshing change to Moores’ polished nothingness).Personal views aside though, his performance so far has been decisive and impressive.In my view, KP is a fine example of how much the on-field nous of a captain is overstated in comparison to the chord he strikes in the dressing room. That is why I don’t share Cameldancer’s fears.Learn, notice, adapt, exploit… all skills have been shown by the previous incumbent, Vaughan, but brought us a largely uninspiring period since he returned from injury.What England need is not someone who can judge when to bring in a backward short leg or some part time off breaks. It’s someone who can fire up the like of Harmison, Prior, Cook, Bell and get them performing. Our problems generally surround the collective failure of the batting unit – that’s got nothing to do with the tactical acumen of the skipper and everything to do with imposing the right mentality on the team. zephirine | Pick 11 Dec 2008 23:53 BillyMills: or it might mean “despite the fact that you’d have thought the $20m prize would have made them get off their arses and put some effort into a paltry 40 overs” . 100 Reply | Pick | Pick Twitter Report Share Wed 10 Dec 2008 19.01 EST Reply 0 1 Comments 29 Share Share on Facebook 0 1 unthreaded weiguin Report Share 0 1 November 1 England are beaten in the final of the Stanford Series, despite the $20m prizeWhat an interesting use of the word “despite”. What on earth is this supposed to mean; that the size of the pot should have meant that it was England’s by right? Facebook 11 Dec 2008 23:36 cricfan: your comments are just insulting and worthy of no response. the one minute’s silence was a mess. why do you have to turn this into some nationalistic points scoring? if you are going to do it, do it properly, with a certain ceremony and dignity and clear announcements.mikedaniels: yes i remain totally happy to say that nasser hussain and michael vaughan were both “answerable” to duncan fletcher in many aspects of their work and i am sure they would agree. eacxh had their onw areas of responsibility — i did not suggest that they operated under duncan’s shadow. that does not deny your accurate point that they had a successful symbiotic relationship. the two are not exclusive. perhaps answerable is not the ideal word, but they would both agree that ultimately duncan fletcher, as the coach, was in charge.. In the case of KP it is striking how that balance has shifted..weiguin: perhaps you have misinterpreted! the liberal sentiments they happen to offend include mine. it was a neutral sentence. i’m delighted your liberal sentiments are offended so best not be guilty about it and read criticism were none is made. i would rather eat my own children than write for the Daily Mail. at least you are slagging me off from a sound political perspective ho hum. i dunno: you spend 15 years writing vaguely left wing stuff (as far as that is possible in sportswriting) and one double-meaning sentence and you are accused of being a Mail sympathiser. Facebook Reply Share on Facebook Cricket Reply Twitter Topics 11 Dec 2008 22:55 Share on Twitter weiguin | Pick | Pick Share on Twitter expanded BillyMills Shares00 MikeDaniels Reply 11 Dec 2008 17:33 11 Dec 2008 17:54 Twitter Reply Twitter Share 12 Dec 2008 2:55 Threads collapsed Reply Report Reply View more comments Chinmay Share on Facebook Share Twitter 0 1 Share on Facebook Facebook Report Facebook 0 1 | Pick Share on Facebook England in India 2008-09 David Hopps – Are you really suggesting that Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan were “answerable to” Duncan Fletcher? The catalyst for England’s revival from 1999 onwards was the partnership between Hussain and Fletcher, backed by the ECB introducing Central Contracts. Hussain was the man in charge of the team. Fletcher was, certainly initially, unsure of how he would be accepted in the dressing room as he had no experience in Test Cricket. He introduced a number of things into the organisation of the Team support structure and brought his vast playing and coaching experience to the table to act, as he has said he thinks the coach should act, as a consultant to the team and the captain.Hussain was key in introducing into the team the desire and commitment to improve both physically and technically and Fletcher was able to support him in that. Vaughan came into that environment and continued the work until his unfortunate and untimely injury.Nasser Hussain was by far the strongest captain in terms of being able to determine the path of the England team of the past generation.To suggest that Hussain and Vaughan operated in the shadow of Duncan Fletcher is nonsense. They built good working relationships with a talented coach who was able to help them realise their desires for the team. Of course Fletcher would have an input into that but to suggest that Fletcher was the prime mover is to imply that Hussain and Vaughan were subservient to Fletcher and their inputs were minor compared to Fletcher’s.I suggest you would get short shrift from both Hussain and Vaughan if you wanted to put your theory to them.And, as far as I am aware, the Coach does not appoint the captain, therefore he is not “answerable” to the Coach. Hussain was also in post before Fletcher was appointed. Share on Twitter Share Share 11 Dec 2008 23:16 Facebook Chinmay, I know, I meant it’s an old question because it was asked about Vaughan and Hussain too, and people have been saying it ever since KP got the job. Should have put ‘a player’s game’, it would have been clearer.I see you don’t count ODIs as matches:) 0 1 Share on Facebook Report Share on Facebook 11 Dec 2008 18:13 50 11 Dec 2008 10:36 Share on Twitter oh grow up crikfan.A minutes silence should be just that, a minute of silence, with the fans told its going to happen so that they can pay their respects. Not just wonder why the hell the players are all stood around looking slightly gormless (or more gormless than usual in regards to Prior).Yes I’m grumpy, yes I’ve got a cold and yes I’ve not had much sleep and yes I think you’re a liverpool fan because you appear to be trying to find something/anything to take offence at, whether there is anything there or not. Share on Facebook All JimmyMightFixIt comments (29)Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion. Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Since you’re here… zephirine Share via Email Twitter In considerable heat and luxury on the island of AntiguaThe well-paid English cricketers confronted the West Indians whose earnings were more meagreA large prize of twenty million dollars was on offerFrom a Texan person with a taste for publicity and a seemingly bottomless cofferBut far from buying pink Ferraris and having lots of expensive funEngland got thrashed like a redheaded stepchild and hung out to dry in the Caribbean sun.Sorry Billy, the best I could do:) Apologies Mr Hopps, off-topic a bit. Facebook | Pick Share on Twitter 0 1 Twitter Reason (optional) Report Loading comments… Trouble loading? 11 Dec 2008 19:16 Share on Twitter So that’s Ms K.P.Hieroglyph, then? A very fine name.I think the Kipper has done well over the recent crisis, but I’d expect him to – as David Hopps points out he has a somewhat theatrical personality and won’t be fazed by dramatic situations. I want to see how he gets on when England has a run of dull, drab losses and everyone in the media and blogosphere starts carping and snarking at him. It would have happened already without the events in Mumbai. How well can he take that kind of criticism, without getting paranoid and/or making daft decisions to try and make something happen? But he may be fine, he’s had plenty of criticism in his life after all.Today’s showing raises the old question about the captaincy affecting his game, too. 11 Dec 2008 19:18 Report Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Report Facebook Report 11 Dec 2008 16:59 Share on Twitter 0 1 11 Dec 2008 23:07 Reply 11 Dec 2008 18:33 Share on Twitter Report Share on Twitter Report | Pick Facebook 0 1 His decision to walk out on South Africa in protest at racial quotas, rather than fight for his rights in a problematic post-apartheid environment, will always offend liberal sentiments, but he puts his unexpected toughness down to precisely that experienceOk, so criticising someone who jumped ship the moment the nation tried to implement racial fairness after a period of Apartheid is namby pamby Liberalism gone mad. How many of the South Africans clogging up the bars, and sporting institutions of this country would be here were institutional racism still in place in South AfricaIdiotic sentiments, awful article.I wish nothing but ill on this dark period of English cricket and cannot wait for Kevin to throw his adopted country under the bus the moment its interests conflict with his own (IPL!!)David, please naff off back to the Daily Mail. Reuse this content,View all comments > Report The keenest cricketing tacticians remain unimpressed with Pietersen’s nous. He tends to captain by committee, as slow over-rates show, and some of his bowling changes in the India one-day series lacked logic.In the praise of KP, David Hopps can write only 3 lines. imagining or dreaming the criticism (of England team or media) has never been easy.David Hopps:if you really, really interested in writing about something other than cricket or India tour, you have been advised lots of options earlier by many.No wonder, you are best pointing out the bad side of opposition, you are worst when it comes to view the other way. I have yet to read any imagination in criticism of England losing 5-0 of the level the criticism or tarnishing of other trivial things which only English journalist find out easily. So are you saying you are from the very gentleman side of the world of journalism?Such shoddy writing, and saying something in OBOs behind curtains: “That has to be the most badly-run minute’s silence for a long time. The players trooped out and there was no announcement of any sort. Most of us on the other side of the ground caught onto what was happening when it was virtually over. Indian organisation, or lack of it, at its worst. If you are going to do it, do it properly.”Either you are really out of mind or you really are yearning to get back home. To say-if you are going to do it, do it properly-considering the situation in which players are playing cricket, is very disgraceful towards the people who lost lives. Very disgraceful. Share 0 1 Share on Facebook | Pick zephirine 11 Dec 2008 22:33 Twitter Reply 0 1 0 1 Today’s showing raises the old question about the captaincy affecting his game, too.”Old question”? For heaven’s sake, this is his second match as captain, and he hit a century in his first! Please select Personal abuse Off topic Legal issue Trolling Hate speech Offensive/Threatening language Copyright Spam Other Twitter 2 Share on Twitter 0 1 | Pick England in India 2008-09 Read more Twitter Share Share Pieterson would have been a great captain in Football (you could say he is England’s cricket equivalent of Stevie G), but I have doubts about him as a captain in cricket, which requires tactical nous in addition to inspiration and leadership. Sportblog Share Fair point, zeph, fair point. Maybe we should write them a $20m ode? Share on Facebook 0 1 Twitter | Pick Report 11 Dec 2008 17:36 Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Share Twitter David Hopps Facebook 0 1 | Pick Share on Pinterest Almost unnoticed, KP is fast becoming the most powerful England captain for a generation | Pick Facebook Twitter Order by oldest David, Thanks for agreeing that “answerable” was not the best word to use. The relationships between Hussain/Vaughan and Fletcher were, as you say, symbiotic. Your comment seemed to be implying an employer/employee relationship which did not exist then and does not exist now with Pietersen/Moores. I feel you are damning with faint praise the efforts of Hussain and Vaughan as captains. I don’t necessarily think they will agree with you that they thought DF was in charge of the team. If you get the chance to ask them, please let me know what they say.Many coaches/commentators are of the opinion, as is Duncan Fletcher, that the man in charge of the Team is the captain. The Coach facilitates the work/role of the Captain. Pietersen is, quite rightly, moulding the Team and the team’s modus operandi to achieve the goals that he wishes the team to achieve. That’s not to say that the coach and other team management won’t influence Pietersen’s thinking, but the team is Pietersen’s, not Moores’. I hope that they will be supported in their work, not lampooned if results don’t go their way, as progress will, inevitably, be uneven. 0 1 Share on Twitter Share on Twitter MikeDaniels Facebook Report davidhopps Facebook Reply Facebook Report 0 1 25 Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter Share 0 1 BillyMills Reply Share on Facebook Kevin Pietersen | Pick Reply Share Facebook Share Twitter | Pick 11 Dec 2008 21:28 And as for doing well in a crisis.Come onThere is but 1 reason Pietersen, Flintoff and Harmison (who hilariously came out of 1 day retirement to watch Priors missus get felt up in Antigua) are back in the sub-continent: the moolah on offer from the IPL. If this is not the case, and if the England team are actually showing solidarity with the people of India, then i look forward to seeing the itinerary of Englands upcoming tour to Pakistan. Even the sceptics were impressed, confining themselves to the sage reminder that the real test of Pietersen would be when the defeats started. The implication was that it would only take a couple of losses before he had a fearful tantrum and caught a fast plane to nowhere.It can safely be said that such a test has now been passed. Pietersen has had to contend with England losing the one-day series in India 5-0, and seemingly heading inexorably for a whitewash before the last two matches were cancelled, and then the fallout of the attack on Mumbai. To date he has survived everything with near-impeccable judgment. He has behaved in a manner of which few suspected he was capable: he listened, he assessed, he made a rational response.His decision to walk out on South Africa in protest at racial quotas, rather than fight for his rights in a problematic post-apartheid environment, will always offend liberal sentiments, but he puts his unexpected toughness down to precisely that experience.”It’s been tough,” he said yesterday, ahead of today’s first Test at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. “I don’t mind when the going gets tough because it is more satisfying when you do well.”There is no doubt that Pietersen has an actor’s appreciation of “performance”. He connects with the crowd, and he also understands the image-creating moment. That is not to accuse him of dishonesty, merely to recognise that he knows how to connect. While Flintoff marched out of – and then back into – India with grim expression, a sportsman in unfamiliar territory, Pietersen’s instincts were faultless. He left with a seriousness appropriate to a tragic situation, but when he returned to Chennai he gave a thumbs-up signal to the crowd from the team bus. He might not have known, but it was the same thumbs-up gesture given by Indian commandos when they had cleared the Taj Mahal hotel of the last of the terrorists. Without as much as a single word, it quietly signalled defiance.Pietersen has also liberated England’s players. They might still be losing more than we would like, but their spirit has been strikingly good. Even Flintoff, who was never a soulmate, now speaks fondly of the relaxed atmosphere. Vaughan encouraged England to express themselves, but Pietersen’s very persona gives them permission to do just that. He liberates them from their anxieties.The keenest cricketing tacticians remain unimpressed with Pietersen’s nous. He tends to captain by committee, as slow over-rates show, and some of his bowling changes in the India one-day series lacked logic.Pietersen has assessed the nature of India with remarkable skill. When he and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his home counterpart, appeared together for promotional pictures yesterday, in a room far too small and disorganised for the occasion, the Indian media turned the occasion into a scrum that sent England’s security man white with shock. In the middle of it all, Pietersen looked amused, bemused, unflustered and unfailingly polite. He knows there are some things in India that you can never tame. He has been just the man for a crisis. Who would ever have expected that?Highs and lowsJune 26 Named stand-in captain of one-day side after Paul Collingwood is banned for three matchesJune 28 Defeat by New Zealand in first match as captain seals a 3-1 series defeatJuly 10 Makes a century in his first Test against South AfricaAugust 4 Appointed Test captain after Michael Vaughan resignsAugust 11 England win their first Test under Pietersen, who scores a first-innings centuryNovember 1 England are beaten in the final of the Stanford Series, despite the $20m prizeNovember 26 India complete 5-0 series whitewash in one-dayersDecember 7 England decide to return to India for two-match Test series Facebook weiguin | Pick Report Twitter Share hieroglyph Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Share 0 1 collapsed Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Reply 11 Dec 2008 20:38 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Reply Close report comment form BillyMills 2 Reply | Pick Twitter Cameldancer Report crikfan … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. 11 Dec 2008 12:45 Share on Twitter Reply 11 Dec 2008 19:58 0 1 Share 11 Dec 2008 23:42 Well played Andrew Strauss. Good to see. Doubtless there will be a queue of knockers on here later to tell us how it was the worst thing that could have happened, but what more could we ask of the man? Share Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook | Pick Share on Twitter Twitter 11 Dec 2008 19:23 11 Dec 2008 10:48 zephirine Twitter Pietersen takes crisis in stride to raise his standing | Pick Reply And there is nothing unexpected about his toughness, he has proved that decency will not stand in his way when there are bucks to be made.I say again this tour is continuing because of the IPL and the England players didnt get the 500k from Stanford.Priors’ wife did get…. Twitter Support The Guardian Share on Facebook Share on Facebook 11 Dec 2008 9:48 Report Facebook Chinmay Share I see you don’t count ODIs as matches:)I don’t think ODIs outside the WC actually count that much. It’s a bit like track and field event. Or a swimming event. You train hard for precisely one thing — the Olympic gold. Everything else is sort of immaterial. I really don’t care how many Kitply cups or Idea cups or Airtel Trophies India really wins after about a week after it is won. May be this is so because India play a lot of ODI cricket, so much that it becomes hard to remember exactly how many tournaments we participated in.Of course, there are a few iconic trophies in ODI cricket, like the triangular series in Australia (which has now been scrapped) or the Asia cup held now and then, or the almost farcical Champions Trophy, but then, again, I’d swap them all for a test series win against Australia.Perhaps the only ODI series I really watched with sustained interest was the one held in Sarjah, but that’s now gone too.The bottom line is, ODI isn’t actual cricket because, it’s not what you are going to measure a player with after his retirement. Share 0 1 can the next person who disagrees with David Hopps, or indeed any other writer on the site, PLEASE STOP using the words ‘awful’ / ‘shoddy’ / ‘poor’ etc. journalism as criticism.as an article, it scans well, so whatever you think about the sentiment is your subjective opinion, rather than objective lexical analysis. it winds me up no end.crikfan – your unnecessary reference to the dead of the Mumbai terror attacks is more of a slur than anything David could write. if the last couple of weeks have taught us nothing else, they’ve taught us that bickering over the internecine power struggles of world cricket is fairly inconsequential in the scheme of things. so as the previous responder advised you, grow up, you’re pathetic. David, I unreservedly apologise.I do however stand behind the sentiment that KP has not had anywhere near enough flak over his departure from S Africa.It says a lot about the psyche of the man that he feels having a sub chav 3 lions tattoo carved on his arm dispels all questions as to his motivation in coming to England Shame about his batting this innings. What annoys me about journalists is this constant rush to judgement. The fact is that we still know almost nothing about KP as a captain. Come back and write about it in 2 years time, if he’s still in the job. And’ please do not quote the players’ statements; who in their right mind is going to slag off their captain? | Pick Report Share on WhatsApp Facebook 0 1 Sorry there was an error. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Userhelp Reply Cameldancer | Pick Twitter Share on Facebook Report Share on Twitterlast_img read more