KP v the ECB

In case you have for some reason been cut off from the world all day and have missed the story about KP (and if so, I’m very flattered that you would come here first), he has retired from ODIs and effectively been dropped from T20s.

I actually think KP ought to be applauded for clearly putting his Test career over ODIs. There is some suggestion (and perhaps not entirely unfounded) that his retirement is from some other conflict with the ECB, but I don’t think there is a need to suggest that. It is clear that there is too much ODI cricket; England have 13 ODIs this summer, seven in India and five in New Zealand over the winter, then ten bilateral ODIs plus the farcical Champions Trophy next summer. KP is one of very few England players who actually play in all three formats and I think it is perfectly reasonable for him to decide that it is not worth the cost to his Test career to play so many ODIs. Hopefully the ICC and national boards take note of this attitude and revise the number of ODIs being played. If even the star players are starting to think it too much of an effort, the format itself may not last much longer.

I think the ECB handled it very badly. They declared that ODIs and T20s were so closely intertwined that KP had to retire from both or none at all. This is one of the causes of the suggestion that there was some other reason for KPs retirement and it is not unreasonable, even if I don’t think it is necessary. I do not pretend to be privy to the ECB’s planning system, of course, but the notion that a player cannot decide to retire from just ODIs seems ridiculous. The tours and planning may be intertwined, but different squads are named and there are even different captains! I do not see how it could be too difficult for KP to play T20s but not ODIs and yet not too much trouble to have different captains in the two formats.

I am not ever going to be the president of the KP fan club, but this time (and actually with the Twitter furore as well) I think he is blameless. The ECB don’t seem to particularly like him and whilst they can be forgiven for that, they are being irrational about the situation and I do not think that is forgivable. They are making themselves and English cricket look bad and I think they need to, if not do a U-turn, at least reassess how they handle situations like this for the future.

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