A few weeks ago, Kevin Pietersen announced that he was retiring from ODIs and, by necessity due to a clause in his contract, T20s. He was also unhappy with the ECB not allowing him to continue to play T20s. At the time I defended him and I stand by that. England’s ODI schedule is insane and KP is one of the few players to compete in all three formats. I think the ECB could have been more flexible. Unfortunately, it was reported in the Telegraph today that Pietersen has dropped his seemingly reasonable position and instead gone with a crazy egomaniacal one.
There is no conceivable justification for wanting to miss two Test matches to play in the IPL. He cannot claim that he needs a rest, he cannot claim that he needs to spend time with his family. The IPL may be a Mickey Mouse tournament where luck plays a larger role than skill, but it still cannot be classified as a ‘rest’. And unless his family move to India I think it will mean more time away from them for KP. This is all about the fact that he wants more money and more time in the ‘glamour’ of the IPL. It also shows a vastly inflated sense of his own importance if he at all thinks that Flower and co will even consider it. They were happy enough to cut him loose from the T20 side the first time; what on earth makes KP think they will agree to take him back at the cost of a ridiculous demand? His arrogance is simply breathtaking; he would do well to remember that it is only because of his career with England that he is at all valuable in the IPL.
Taking it as a certainty that Flower will only delay in refusing Pietersen’s demand for as long as it takes him to stop laughing, it will be interesting to see what Pietersen’s next move is. There would seem to be every chance that he will take a leaf out of Gayle’s book and refuse to sign a central contract with England later this year. Whilst it would be disappointing to lose out on such a talented batsman, Pietersen is rapidly starting to become more trouble than he is worth. If he decides that he can get the fame and adulation which he values so highly in the IPL alone then I would simply say ‘good riddance’. He is also more than welcome to go back to South Africa, they seldom if ever play matches that conflict with the IPL. However this saga ends, I think we will soon see exactly where Pietersen’s loyalties lie.