Blame Pietersen

England can’t sack Kevin Pietersen, not if they want to rebuild quickly.  He is rarely out of form and too good to become a patsy for the Ashes debacle.  Pietersen’s only extravagance is occasionally playing without ideas.


That bully arrogance is no reason to get rid of him.  Simply, England needs Pietersen coming in at number four.


Forget the off-field controversies.  Few players get through 104 Tests without off-field infractions.  Unfortunately Pietersen doesn’t have the personality to handle controversy well.


And he has shown, on occasion, virtually no responsibility.


His captaincy was short-lived.  A battle of will with the coach led to both of them being sacked.  The message from the ECB, don’t take sides, obviously wasn’t heeded, because Pietersen sent texts to the South Africans, telling them how to get his captain, Andrew Strauss, out.


He was suspended for playing double agent.  His texts were treasonous and unnecessary information.  If the South Africans didn’t know how to get Strauss out, it is their own stupid fault.


Pietersen’s problems, on-field anyway, is all about stupidity.  In the Ashes, he barely played to the situation.  During the Boxing Day Test, he did better, but slogged himself out when he could’ve batted with the tail.


He was predictable in getting out too, succumbing to basic traps he didn’t, or couldn’t be bothered working out.


There’s a man at long on, I’ll belt a six.  There’s a man at mid-wicket, I’ll clobber it over his head. Siddle again, he couldn’t bowl an underarm…




Pietersen bats to his temperament, that’s the way I play, yet haphazard doesn’t always work.  When England was in trouble, haphazard was humiliating.  Too often he had to knuckle down and didn’t.


Whenever Pietersen got out, it seemed wasted talent.  Although Australian’s were pleased to see him gone, it robbed us of majesty, because Pietersen is great to watch at his clubbing best.


During the Ashes, Pietersen spread his wickets around, falling three times to Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle and twice to Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon.


He was no bowler’s bunny, but every bowler’s stooge.  He was bowled twice and caught eight times, four times while taking on the fielders.


But the analysis shouldn’t stop with Pietersen.  He topped the scoring with 294 runs and his average of 29.40 was second only to Ben Stokes.


England’s top order consistently failed.  Ian Bell scored 235 runs at 26.11, while captain Alistair Cook hit 246 at 24.60.


Talk of Pietersen’s sacking, therefore, can’t solely be based on his performance.  If the England dressing room is leaking information, and Pietersen is a candidate to be sacked, then the problem has to be issues off the field.


So let’s blame Pietersen for Cook’s poor form and the catches England dropped.  Pietersen’s presence forced Jonathon Trott home with a stress related illness.  Graeme Swann’s retirement was Pietersen’s fault, because some players have their heads up their bums.


Jimmy Andersen couldn’t swing the ball because of Pietersen.  Matt Prior, too, can point his inept gloves at Pietersen and say, it’s your fault.


If Pietersen was an unstable influence off the field, he should not have toured, but he was selected because he remains one of England’s best batsmen.


Of course, he is not without blame.  At 33, Pietersen is too young to play silly and too old to know better.  He has scored 8181 runs from 104 Tests at an average of 47.28, which are stellar numbers.


Unfortunately, the last two years have seen his average dip below 50.  And considering experience and age, Pietersen should be a leader, a trusted lieutenant.  Instead, he is almost disregarded.


Much has been made of Cook barely consulting Pietersen on the field, when things were tough.  Nothing has been said about too many cooks spoiling the discussion.


Apparently England’s coach, Andrew Flower, has a thorn for Pietersen, yet both men have insisted that is allegedly wrong.


Michael Vaughn, a former England captain, said Pietersen should be made vice-captain.  It’s a neat suggestion.  Give the man some responsibility and see how he bats.


Cook remains unequivocal.  There will be no announcement about Pietersen or his future until a thorough review of the Ashes was completed.  Somehow, poor batting, bowling and fielding needs assessment beyond the brief, and all the blame somehow points to Pietersen.


The age-old mantra, blame the captain and blame the coach has become blame Pietersen.  Cook and Flower, despite the criticism, seem entrenched.  No one can suggest a replacement for them.


The trouble is, no one can suggest a replacement for Pietersen either…




About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Terrific analysis Matt, One of your best pieces. Pietersen underperformed, but he was still the only player I feared when he came to bat at the end of the series. By then Cook and Bell were standing jokes, and Prior had long since past into irrelevance.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great analysis Matt but you can certainly make a case that Pietersen should never have been picked again after the Strauss treason stupidity . We all know his ability but for the majority of the series he managed to make Watto look intelligent . For any player who is a disruptive influence in a touring party especially ( which by a number of accounts Pietersen is ) they have to win games to gain begrudging respect.
    Englands dressing room would have been silent and deep down v angry as he committed his next act of idiocy . I think they are going to need a committed group all going in the same direction while they rebuild I can’t see Pietersen can be a part of this .
    I concede Matt that your article is fair and balanced and your reasoning that Pieterson should remain is sound . We will agree to disagree Thanks Matt

  3. Agree wholeheartedly, England’s woes are bigger (much bigger) than one man deserves to bear. Reading this brings to mind an old Australian folk song that I haven’t heard in over 20 years called Blame It On The Kelly’s.


  4. matt watson says

    Hey Rick,
    I was thinking about ‘Blame it on the Kelly’s’ when I started to write this…
    Nice one.

  5. Good observation Matt. For me it brings to mind ‘Blame it on the boogie’ …

    Don’t blame it on the captain
    Don’t blame it on the bowlers
    Don’t blame it on the Aussies
    Blame it on the KP.

    Don’t blame it on the pitches
    Don’t blame it on the sun light
    Don’t blame it on selectors
    Blame it on the KP!

    He just can’t, he just can’t, he just can’t control his bat (etc)

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