It’s Time To Stop Watching English Cricket

Kevin Pietersen after training at Adelaide Oval

Kevin Pietersen after training at Adelaide Oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a time to draw a line and move on. And, quite frankly, I’ve had enough of English cricket.

It was bad enough to sit through the Ashes, the worst tour in the history of English cricket. Now the “management” has decided to sack the most talented player, Kevin Pietersen, without a word of explanation. And they expect us to keep watching?

Unless I get a proper explanation, I’m cancelling my Sky Sports subscription, I’ve made my last journey to Lord’s. I don’t see why I should waste any more of my time and money.

What are we supposed to stay for? To watch Alastair Cook running around the pitch like a frightened schoolboy on the verge of tears, because his big moment as team captain isn’t working out?

The England “management” like to run English cricket as a business — the buffoonish Giles Clarke has been running around making empire-building deals with India while his product, the English cricket team has been falling apart. Well, in business terms, what England have done is moronic. They’ve fired their star player, the main attraction, the man who brings the crowd.

And in cricketing terms, it’s mystifying. England were woeful in Australia. Their brand of attritional, dull cricket was found out and disembowelled by an aggressive Australian side full of flair. And now the England “management”s response is to fire the one England player with flair, the one batsman capable of playing an aggressive game. The plan, then, is clearly back to the attrition. No thanks. If I want to watch “entertainment” of that calibre I can slap a new coat of Dulux on the wall and watch it dry.

Perhaps KP has done something to deserve this. But if he has, then tell us. This is not about blind support for KP. England supporters are not unreasonable people, and if he really has done something heinous enough to justify it, we’ll accept his sacking. What many of us can’t accept, though, is just being told that those in charge know best.

We have, after all, just been forced to endure a tour in which England were humiliated 5-0. A key batsman had to leave mid-tour with a “stress-related illness”. The best English spinner of modern times quit mid-series. The best English keeper-batsman in a generation was dropped. The most promising English fast bowler in years has apparently fallen apart so badly he can’t even be selected, and he, too, went home early.

Something is clearly very wrong with English cricket. Those in charge are not doing a good job.

Andy Flower, thank God, is finally gone, though the ECB has the nerve to say it’s because he can’t do the limited overs as well. As an England supporter, I feel insulted by that. Flower just presided over the worst tour in history: they should have given him the bum’s rush.

Alastair Cook, the school prefect captain, who just weeks ago nearly resigned in tears in a press conference, is staying on, despite spending the winter giving a very public demonstration of his unsuitability for the job. As a supporter, I feel insulted by that.

And now the star batsman has been fired without a word of explanation. As a supporter, I feel like I’m being treated with contempt.

In the sort of language beloved of the people who run English cricket, those of us who pay to watch are “stakeholders”. Tell us, then, what KP has done. Tell us why we should trust the captain who got the side into this mess to get it out again. Otherwise, why should we bother watching any more?

It’s not as if it’s going to be a great loss. It was hard enough watching Andy Flower’s dour, joyless England side when they were winning. Now they’re losing it’s no fun at all.



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