KP Not Playing But Still Centre of Attention
While we were all watching the Olympics two huge sports stories have been rumbling in the background. Rory McIlroy won the US PGA Championship, his second major at the age of only 23. And the other? Kevin Pietersen falling out with everyone in English cricket.
The Pietersen affair, which has been bubbling along since his retirement from one day internationals this year; came to a head with him being dropped for the final crucial test against his former compatriots South Africa.
How did it come to this? Kevin Pietersen after all was the saviour of the England side in the second test with his ostentatious innings of 149 not out. It allowed England to save the draw and, for now, their number one status in test cricket.
But KP went from hero to persona non grata in a matter of days.
First there was his wining post match press conference in which he complained it was hard to be him. Then it emerged in the press that he had sent “unflattering” text messages about captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower to members of the South Africa team.
But not sent Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers as was originally claimed, if you can believe the official statement of the South Africa team.
Then came a badly timed interview released to youtube just as the nation was triumphantly celebrating Mo Farah’s second Gold medal in the 5,000m on Saturday night.
A video in which Pietersen fielded softball questions, directed by his agent, in a blatant PR exercise that did not address the issue of the text messages; though Pietersen did reverse his earlier decision not to represent England in all formats of the game.
But things had come to a head for the England and Wales cricket board. They decided to drop Pietersen from the final test against South Africa. Deciding to put team morale ahead of the wishes of their best, and most divisive player.
To add a further twist to the increasingly bizarre affair; a twitter parody account of KP has been taken down, perhaps to the consternation of the many England players who followed it’s tweets. The creator of the account has been revealed to be a friend of Stuart Broad.
A fact, friend of KP, Piers Morgan took great delight in pointing out on Five Live as proof that KP is treated differently despite misdemeanors from other players going unpunished.
Morgan’s entry into the fray can best be ignored as a sideshow.
But yet again all the focus is on KP. He will not be playing at Lord’s on Thursday, in what is Andrew Strauss’ 100th test match. A fact that has been lost in the furore surrounding Pietersen. Playing or not he’s always the centre of attention.
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