Sunday, 4 January 2009

Grasping Raspings

The England set-up now looks more like Pakistan's than Australia's. For an England fan, it is very disappointing to see what is happening, especially on the verge of an Ashes series with a vulnerable-looking Australia. I'll do a quick tour of some of the press coverage on the current spat between captain Kevin Pietersen and coach Peter Moores.

Scyld Berry openly takes Pietersen's side. Then he goes on to say 'as [Vaughan] has done it before, he is – at 34 – far, far likelier to perform again than Ian Bell (502 runs against Australia at 25) or Owais Shah, or anyone else currently playing, bar Pietersen.' You fail. Sabermetrics hasn't told us much of anything about the aging curve in cricketers. It's just wishful thinking.

John Stern has more of a 'plague on both your houses' approach, yet subtly indicts Moores with failures on the playing field, lack of influence on the players and a want of tactical thinking.

Nasser Hussain clumsily expresses the view that EWCB boss Hugh Morris must make the two work together or else Moores has to go.

The BBC quotes David Gower basically saying Pietersen's going to win if it comes to an outright choice between him and Moores.

Stephen Brenkley, at The Independent, gives a thoughtful summary of the problem.

However, Peter Hayter implies that Pietersen has given an ultimatum, and that the captain is not the first one to have problems with Moores.

It's all pretty unsightly to the bystander, but the reality is that a mistake was made in selecting Pietersen as captain, since all this talk about a 'clear the air' meeting with Moores at the start of his captaincy suggests the possibility of trouble was there for all to see. Moores has the moral high ground, since he was there first.

No-one ever listens to me about anything, but I think the only decent solution would be for both Moores and Pietersen to resign. Pietersen's sort of ultimatum has to be resisted (it would be even better if they sacked him anyway), but the general tenor of press comment suggests Moores has lost the confidence of the media. This is not good in this day and age, and it would only be a matter of time before they 'got' him. I'd even go so far as to say that the sympathy to Pietersen is probably down to the fact that journos know he's still going to be in the side, even if he's not captain, so they'll still need a quote from him now and then. Whereas Moores generally seems rather reticent around the press, so nothing gained there.

However, I think the heart of the matter appears in, of all places, the Sunday People, normally little more than a football comic. Right at the end.

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