2oceansvibe’s bi-weekly sports columnist, Sean Wilson, has this week found himself wondering what kind of a team player KP really is, and if “textgate” was just a convenient way for the England and Wales Cricket Board to end their relationship with him.
Most people are dying to know the contents of Kevin Pietersen’s text messages. I’m not. Sifting through KP’s sent items is a punishment I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Apart from the whole invasion of privacy aspect to it, there are other reasons why going through his cellphone records would be wrong. Pietersen strikes me as being a man who indulges in sms language (or txt-speak). I can’t think of anything worse than reading umpteen messages that look like this:
OMFG Strauss wuz such a looser 2day!! Flower a gr8 pain in the a$$!! fml shud hav stayd in SA!!!! Less Politiks!!! lolz CU@ IPL ftw BOOOOOM!!!
However, if dropping a player for what he said in private correspondence is the precedent that the ECB has set, where will it end? Will they organise for Craig Kieswetter to wear a wire next time he meets Jonathan Trott in Earl’s Court to catch the Sharks game? If so, it should only take three Castle Lagers and two leading questions about Andy Flower before an English selector in a van outside takes off the headphones while saying “We got him”.
Anyway, now that the ECB has followed through with its Gestapo approach to give the public information they shouldn’t have had in the first place, one has to ask why Pietersen was sending inflammatory texts about his bosses to the South African camp in the first place? Sure, we’ve all had the odd bitch about our boss after hours, but sharing your misgivings with the opposition while in a test series against them?
It makes one ask what kind of a team man Pietersen really is and what motive he would have. After all, you wouldn’t expect MP’s of the DA to moan about Helen Zille to ANC MP’s while the two parties are thrashing out a parliamentary debate (unless the MP in question would like to jump ship, of course).
The South African camp have tried to diffuse their involvement in the saga by writing off the ‘derogatory’ messages as ‘banter’. Might be true, but a lot of us have used that line when someone’s been caught bad-mouthing someone. It’s kind of like putting a smiley face at the end of a message that might ordinarily start a fight, or preceding saying something really offensive with the words “No offence, but…”
All conjecture about Pietersen’s text messages shouldn’t be given more attention than it deserves though. In all likelihood, ‘textgate’ was just used as a definitive reason for the ECB to put an end to their fractious relationship with the man. South African sports fans have seen this kind of smokescreen before (you don’t really think the Springboks fired Nick Mallett just for what he said about ticket prices, do you?).
It’s tricky for the ECB to figure out how to give their contracted players balanced availability for county cricket as well as the IPL. A solution must be found soon, otherwise you’ll find more England stars leaving in order to make more money in their profession.
The ECB must wonder what cricket has become these days. It’s hard for them to combat a competition where foreigners want to come in as mercenaries to play in teams with just a smattering of young local talent. It’s also hard for them to combat the IPL.
Dealing with Pietersen’s contractual issues and his selective availability for England does seem like a nightmare. In the last few months especially, it’s often come out how the ECB have struggled to come to a consensus with his advisors.
Advisors? If these are the same people that told Pietersen to unretire himself on YouTube mere moments after the nation were celebrating Mo Farrah’s Olympic success, then ‘advisors’ seems to be a misnomer. ‘Entourage’ is probably more appropriate.
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