January 12, 2009

Kevin Pietersen’s aggression was just a bit too much


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Excess of anything is bad. Kevin Pietersen has been known for his aggression but the recent events have proved that he has been found wanting as the England captain and he has quit the job.

One of his prime responsibilities was proper coordination with coach Peter Moores to achieve their mutual objective of putting England in the top draw. As things have come out in the open now they had difference of opinion on issues leaving little chance of reconciliation.

Both Pietersen and Moores have been displaced now and England look to a new set of leaders to guide them in what promises to be an action-packed year with the showpiece Ashes battle just months away.

Pietersen’s tenure as captain turned out to be a brief one. He proved to be a mixed bad really. He looked positive at home last summer but he failed to impress in the demanding conditions during the winter tour of India.

The recent events could be a blessing in disguise for England because Pietersen was never a long-term prospect as a skipper. He lacked the wisdom and most importantly didn’t have the patience needed in a successful leader. He had an ordinary series in India where he had failed miserably in lifting the morale of the side.

Andrew Strauss may prove a better captain and England might benefit more with him being at the helm of the affairs. He appears to be more suited for the job primarily because of his temperament.
India, undoubtedly, were the better outfit but England should have offered stiffer resistance. Pietersen’s body language didn’t suggest that he was the kind of inspiring captain that was required to handle the situation.
Individual brilliance and leadership are two different things. There is no one who will dispute his abilities as a batsman. He is a wonderfully gifted cricketer who can take the game away on his own. He is innovative as a batsman who can tame the best of bowlers with his positive approach.

But leading the side required a lot of additional skills that he sadly lacked. He had the passion for doing things completely in his own way. That might have been acceptable in some other teams but that was never going to work in the system in operation in England.
It was the prerogative of the Board to appoint the coach. Obviously Pieterson was the not the captain at the time when Moores was selected for the job of coaching the team so he might not have been consulted on this issue.
Pieterson had every right to have a say in the matters relating to the team but he was also required to develop a working relationship with the coach. You can’t have the cake and eat it too as the saying goes. The disagreements and differences were all but natural. But they should not have come out in the open. Both of them needed, being professionals, to handle the situation amicably in order to prevent the embarrassing situation they got it that ultimately cost them their jobs.

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