Tuesday, August 7, 2012

England sweats as Pietersen apes Sachin

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After seeing Kevin Pietersen bat in his debut series against Shane Warne, I quickly placed him alongside VVS Laxman in his ability to play spin in general and Shane Warne in particular. Both used their feet to him generously, were not afraid to leave their stumps as they advanced down the leg side and both attacked Shane Warne on instinct.

Eventually Kevin Pietersen turned out much different than VVS Laxman; may be because there was nothing inherently common between them in the first place beyond the attacking styles on the surface. Yet his overall mindset and desires are more suited to the Indian setting than an English one.

For starters, he behaves like a star. And he should because he is an innovative batsman and I feel like turning on the television when he is batting

He wants to play more IPL, be with his family, knows people like to watch him bat in Tests, wants to pick and choose his tours and is willing to play only one form of the shortened game. No, I am not picking on Sachin Tendulkar again. This is what Kevin Pietersen wants too.

Kevin Pietersen wants to become like Sachin Tendulkar and the ECB and the England dressing room is fretting because they are worried it will set a bad precedent.

Since when is wanting to be like Sachin Tendulkar bad for a country?

England can transfer Kevin Pietersen to India in return for a few million dollars and you would be hard pressed to find a better mutually beneficial deal in the history of sports.

Whenever a player stands up against the evil administrators, I tend to root for the player. These days, especially in India, even the mightiest of stars; whose very exploits bring in the billions for the cricket boards; are subservient to the boards. May be there isn’t any issue worth their while to take a stand.

Although, I find it hard to digest that India’s stars have nothing to say against the proliferation of 2-Test series, 0 Test away “tours”, the DRS non sense, the Kapil Dev humiliation. In the current business environment though; there is more money to be made by towing the BCCI line for India’s cricketers.

Senior cricketers were better in my time when they made a real difference in how things worked. Gavaskar was always in trouble with the BCCI but fought for better pay. Vengsarkar was not much of a speaker but fought for his right to express his opinions in writing.

When boards all over have embraced outright commercialization of the game at the expense of the game, it is only natural that the players too start thinking like experts with niche skills and demand more freedom in how they want to make their money. When these boards in response try to clamp down this freedom, it only seems hypocritical.

It will only be with players like Pietersen, Gayle and Amla who are willing to challenge the norms, and create disruptions that will demand that the system changes. Hashim Amla in refusing to wear the team sponsor’s logo because it represents something against his religious beliefs is a courageous stand.

Ultimately whether Pietersen; or anyone else; is justified is not the judgment I am making, its that he is willing to stand up and be the Test case for hundreds of other crickets who I am sure must be waiting to see how this ends.

Although I would caution anyone who thinks Pietersen has thought this through. As a leader, Pietersen’s credentials are cloudy at best. His stint as England captain revealed an immature mind in demanding a new coach as soon as he took over. Also no other England captain would have declared at Mohali giving India a victory almost on a platter with the November terrorist attacks serving as the emotional catalyst.

It will be sad if Pietersen’s career ends.

Although, I don’t really think Kevin Pietersen and the ECB will part ways. It’s probably going to end like how Kapil Dev was embraced back by the BCCI; after having read a prepared statement professing his allegiance to the board.

That will be really sad.

1 comment:

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oh did you see Kevin Pietersen? I could not see him that day because I had a double round at work unfortunately :(