I’ve been busy over ht past couple of days, but now that I have had time to see the full extent of the most recent news about Kevin Pietersen I note that it looks very good. Pietersen seems to have finally realised that his position was untenable and that if he wanted to play for England (and by extension command a high price at various T20 events) he was going to have to bend. Anyone who had noted that he was going up against an unhappy Andy Flower could have probably told him that a month ago, but never mind.
The deal agreed upon is a very good one for both parties. The ECB have very rightly not conceded any of the important ground and demanded (and received) a real apology from Pietersen, not something via his agent. I kept seeing over the last weeks complaints that the ECB were making him apologise more than once, but that isn’t true. He never issued a public apology; his agent did most recently, but that is not the same. Before that, in his YouTube video, Pietersen had never actually uttered any sort of apology. He avoided it as skilfully as a seasoned politician. The ECB were quite right to make Pietersen himself apologise and apologise properly. Mike Selvey described the whole affair brilliantly in the Guardian. Pietersen can now work on regaining the trust of his teammates and demonstrate that he really is fully committed to play for England, something which has been conspicuous by its absence in Pietersen’s actions over the past few months.
The ECB were actually quite lenient, which should go some way to placating those who have been unfairly criticising them over the past few weeks. They are allowing Pietersen to play in the Champions League during his reintegration process which is a surprising show of reconciliation. They are also allowing him to come back for the tour of India, at least on a trial basis, rather than making him wait for the series against New Zealand. (As I have set out before, he is of little use in the sub-continent. But this is a good show of leniency by the ECB and it is for the best not to drag the matter out longer than need be.) Pietersen can certainly have no cause for complaints with the deal, now he must hold up his end and work his way back into the England fold.
It is good for all concerned that this episode seems to be nearing a conclusion. Although there has been a lot of ire directed at the ECB and Flower, it is Pietersen’s fault and Pietersen’s fault alone that it has taken this long. He has finally seen some sense and finally realised that he must abandon his arrogance and ego which have been the source of all these problems. Hopefully now he can complete his penance and return to a stronger and more unified England team. Unfortunately, given Pietersen’s history I would not be surprised if he did or said something stupid to throw everything back into the air.