Wednesday, January 08, 2014

ECB Chairman Giles Clarke will decide on Andy Flower v Kevin Pietersen

In an article in the Daily Telegraph Nick Hoult argues that it will be the new MD of England cricket Paul Downton who will sort out the Andy Flower / Kevin Pietersen spat. I doubt that.

When matters last came to a head it was not Downton's predecessor Hugh Morris who sorted things out - it was ECB Chairman Giles Clarke. Clarke believed that Pietersen was essential to the team in the build up to back-to-back Ashes series. So his (KP's) indiscretions during the South Africa tour of 2012 were forgiven by Clarke who fought tooth and nail to get him back in the team. Flower opposed this as did Andrew Strauss and it came down to a straight choice between Strauss and Pietersen. Strauss went and Flower had to consider his position. He, with some reluctance, chose to stay. So Pietersen won that skirmish but the cost to England cricket was considerable. Flower was not the same man afterwards. Cook was given the Captaincy too early. Hugh Morris's position was undermined as all the decisions were taken above his head.

Paul Downton may nominally have to wrestle with the problem but the strings will be pulled by Giles Clarke. Pietersen has certainly had "support from the ECB hierarchy" in the past. Will he have it again even if this time it really does lead to the departure of Andy Flower?

It was clear that Flower was unhappy with the "rehabilitation" of Pietersen in October 2012 - an initiative which was the personal action of ECB Chairman Giles Clarke. Clarke sacrificed Andrew Strauss to return KP to the team prior to the tour of India. This threw an unprepared Alastair Cook into the Captaincy. In India, and through the 2013 season, Cook was learning his trade – successfully it seemed at first. But in the 2013 home Ashes series his batting form started to slip (Just 277 runs at 27.7) but he had some luck to help him and steered England to a rather fortunate Series win. We all know what was then to happen in Australia - an unmitigated disaster for Cook and England.

Andy Flower should probably not have accepted KP back into the fold in late 2012. If he had dug his heels in then Strauss would not have retired precipitately and though England would have missed KP the batsmen they would arguably have prospered in the absence of KP the individualist.

Giles Clarke will already be back in the fray trying to keep both KP and Flower on board. He succeeded last time, but at the cost of turning Flower into a much less effective coach than he had been before. I suspect that Flower is just too well paid to walk away which must be deep down what he feels like doing. I expect another stich up with the usual ECB weasel words and that Pietersen and Flower will both be there at Lord’s in June. Whether they will be speaking to one another is another matter.


No comments: