So, Kevin Pietersen isnt to everybody’s liking. As a person he is brash, outspoken, arrogant and a bit of a cock – we all know people like that.
As a sportsman, he is up there with the most exciting, the man who puts bums on seats, makes you watch every ball because you know something is going to happen.
Pietersen has in all likelihood played his last game for England. People are currently rejoicing in the streets at that news, champagne corks are popping in press boxes – although that may be people celebrating the Olympics.
All parties come out of this badly. Pietersen’s faults are manifold and oft-listed. The ECB decided, in the form of scarcely concealed leaks to the media who salivate at another Pietersen story, to put in the public domain private and confidential contract negotiations with their employee. It is no surprise Pietersen hit out in his infamous post-Test press conference.
The worrying aspect of this whole affair is the reluctance of the press to put into the public domain the identity of the person behind the Genius KP/@kevpietersen24 parody Twitter account and his relationship with a prominent and senior member of the England team.
The links are there for all to see. The Genius KP account was initiated on July 14th and the first retweet was by someone with close links with a prominent England cricketer, as well as numerous other cricketers. The cricketer has tweeted photos of time spent with this person, and the person’s avatar used to be of the two in a relaxed pose.
On the same evening, the England cricketer tweeted a photo of this person in his company, sharing an item of his clothing (not as kinky as it sounds).
All this of course is circumstantial evidence; I am not a journalist and it is not my place to publish. A five minute search would confirm the information above – something you would think journalists could have done in their sleep.
For some reason it seems easier to let the story slide, rather than ask awkward questions of an affair that, if carried out in the workplace, could be called workplace bullying.
I’m sure the England cricketer in question was not involved, and it is all just coincidence, but are there questions that need to be asked by the ECB as employer, and by the ever-inquisitive press?
Pietersen has probably played his last game for England, his cricketing genius will be missed and I’m sure the England & Wales Cricket Board will be happier without his disruptive presence, but sometimes there are two sides to a story.
Of course, the association between the parody account and an England player could well be purely coincidental, but it will nonetheless raise eyebrows.
Why have the press not released the identity of this tweeter?
Could it be that any association between this pisstake and a senior England player might undermine the ‘KP’s fault’ narrative, which the press has been relentlessly pursuing over the past weeks and months?
Why are the press only showing one side of the story, and not asking questions as to whether Pietersen’s teammates aren’t at least partly to blame?
In particular, Graeme Swann was openly critical of Pietersen and Samit Patel in his autobiography, yet not sanctioned by the ECB. More recently, James Anderson’s Daily Mail column this Saturday was scathing of Pietersen, in the most veiled manner – it certainly does nothing but add to the team’s disharmony.
Kevin Pietersen is guilty of a lot of things, but it should be kept in context. As fans, we have been fed the ECB’s narrative by the press, and so Pietersen’s failings have all been magnified many times over. But what about those of the ECB, and his fellow players?
The media’s relentless vendetta may have picked up its intended victim, but as fans, we must be aware of their agenda.
Published with permission from Alternative Cricket...cricket for grown-ups.