Tag Archives: Kevin Pietersen

Moores … Flower … Moores … (Flower) – Joining the Dots


The present succession and set up in Team England was always planned. Boof’s Australians merely brought forward the date of implementation.

Outsiders and disrupters should not underestimate the advantages held by an Establishment. Within any Establishment there are resources of talent, connections, favours to be called in, cash, time and the pervasive imperative of continuance, all of which can in the hurly-burly seem opaque to onlookers.

The Moores/Flower relationship is deep. It is built on affinity, especially of approach and thinking. Geography also helps. Moores lives close to the National Performance Centre at Loughborough University. His son plays for a nearby club. Flower still treads his well worn path between the nutritional dining centre in the EH Building and the drab Sixties block overlooking the Haslegrave pitch in which the computerised analysis goes on … day and night.  It’s the Bunker.

Theirs is so firm a friendship, their thinking so close, their planning so meticulous that they are in theory and practice interchangeable, as they were and are once again. Of course, when combined as they were briefly and are now once again, they are a mighty outfit.

The Lancashire squad were never in any doubt through February, March and April, that Moores had ‘gone back to the England job’. Bets were made and won at eye-watering odds. It was extraordinary that professional reporting failed to see through the ‘noise’.

Giles Clarke had needed little persuasion to see the value of Flower released from the day to day grind of travel and actual play to spend more time designing the ‘future’ and preparing the next generations of players. For one thing it helped retain Flower who is seen as a precious resource to be carefully husbanded. His retention was a prime driver throughout the last few years and remains so.

Ashley Giles was never a serious contender. He was always there to facilitate Flower’s requirements as the Director’s inclination and ambitions took him deeper into strategic and forward planning.

For Flower, it became more and more about the power of ‘leadership’ (in management speak) to maximize the exploitation of talent – both the talent of others and ones own talent; leadership as self-actualization.

Had Pietersen fallen under a bus last summer the return of Moores would quickly have followed. The Pietersen Problem was merely a delaying factor for The Plan.  But success from wherever, even from Pietersen,  underpins an Establishment and time is always on its side. While Pietersen’s position was strong, The Full Plan would remain on hold.

Cook could see that Pietersen was by now a short term time limited resource and, as a young capatain, he placed greater importance on the medium to long term. If Cook ever had doubts, they did not last the winter.

More Leicestershire influence arrived in the shape of James Whitaker, born in Skipton in 1962, but educated at Uppingham, from where he joined Leicestershire CCC.  For generations Uppingham has produced the colonial officers who kept the Empire going. Pleasant, intelligent, likeable and importantly ‘onside’.

Whitaker is also the perfect partner for the new Managing Director, Paul Downton, five years older than Whitaker, but produced from a similar mould.  Educated at Sevenoaks Prep School, Sevenoaks School and then on to the University of Exeter. A former employee of Cazenove & Co.

Plum Warner and Lord Hawke would have thoroughly approved of these two.  But, beside the charm, they have their own view of where England cricket should go. They look a good foil with their cavalier backgrounds between the young  Millennial ‘blades’ and the puritan fathers, Flower and Moores.

Whitaker and Downton’s admiration for Flower and Moores might be similar to May and Dexter’s respect for, say, Close and Illingworth. They do their job very, very well. They keep the Establishment’s share price buoyant. And as long as they do that, they’ll keep their jobs. It is the old relationship between the son’s of the Founder and the professional managers on the board of Lord and Sons Ltd.
Downton may have weathered a sticky ‘AGM’ with small shareholders questioning the KP decision, but they are marching on … all of them, for the time being in harmonious lock-step.  They believe the Firm has in the Flower/Moores/Farbrace line-up world beaters.

It is therefore an error to see the last six months as a series of contingencies brought about by Johnston’s form, Swann’s shoulder, Pietersen’s lack of personal skills, or Jonathan Trott’s sad difficulties . These are but ripples on an incoming tide.

Time will tell whether the Firm will regain their short era of market domination. But the strategy is irreversible.  Interestingly, it heralds an era of cricketing management closer to that of 1932, than of 2002.  Of course if the business as structured fails, it will be wide open to a take-over, perhaps by those upstarts who made their money from the East India Joint Stock Company.




Filed under Uncategorized

Hard Grafting Team Man Revealed

Leave a comment

February 23, 2014 · 8:19 pm

Pietersen’s Ashes: Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.


The view inside KP’s head (and others ??) on arrival at Perth 25th October 2013:

1. Trott mentally unfit to travel.

2. Cook’s issues outside off-stump unresolved.

3. Compton not there and not there because of a Flower tactical & cultural decision, not performance.

4. Carberry an unknown qty in Australia & at Test level.

5 Prior in difficulties.

6 No acceptable reserve keeper of Test standard).

7. Bairstow known technical batting issues against pace and bounce.

8. No Morgan.

9. Bopara Test cricket ????

10 Tremlett, Surrey Team mate, lack of pace obvious to KP (and others?).

11. Rankin  and Finn – he (and others) are batting each day against them.

11a) UPDATE While Onions was left behind. (HT Ross Whelpdale)

12. Swann, no dip, no drift, no turn. Essentially, gone as of the Oval.

13 Panesar

14 Broad injury questions.

15 Worried about effect of burden on Anderson.

16 Vice Captain, Prior, see 5 above

17 Cook’s tactical rigidity.

18 Flower’s grinding strategy exposed in summer.

19. Gooch’s brooding presence.

20.  KP not part of the think tank – fielding in the deep.

21. General air of authority and intransigence.

22. Root needs development time at 6 (coming in after Pietersen).

23. Bell best at 5 (ditto after Pietersen).

Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

KP Batsman – In Case It Is The End

I see your hair is burnin’
Hills are filled with fire
If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar
Drivin’ down your freeway
Midnight alleys roam
Cops in cars,
The topless bars
Never saw a batsman…
So alone, so alone
So alone, so alone

Kevin Pietersen is a rockstar in a world of pop. He is cricket’s Jim Morrison. Soaring poet among pedestrians.  Eagle in a coup of flightless hens.  Stranger among the familiar.

The End
This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of everything that stands
The end

No safety or surprise
The end
I’ll never look into your eyes again

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand
In a desperate land

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain
There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the King’s highway
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway West, baby

Ride the snake
Ride the snake
To the lake
To the lake

The ancient lake, baby
The snake is long
Seven miles
Ride the snake

He’s old
And his skin is cold
The West is the best
The West is the best
Get here and we’ll do the rest

The blue bus is calling us
The blue bus is calling us
Driver, where are you taking us?

The killer awoke before dawn
He put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall

He went into the room where his sister lived
And then he paid a visit to his brother
And then he walked on down the hall
And he came to a door
And he looked inside
Yes son?
I want to kill you
Mother, I want to. . .

C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end

It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me

The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

C’mon England, take a chance

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wild Futures and Better Thinking

Above the cliffs to the east of Looe, in Cornwall, there resides an established colony of Woolley monkeys living as close to the wild as can be made possible thanks to the wild futures charity.

This is where, nearly fifty years ago, Len Williams, father of John, the classical guitarist, began taking in the rescued pet ancestors of the present inhabitants, plus a few wandering Homo Sapiens eager to drop out of the hurley burley of the market economy and give the cooperative life-style a go.

Len’s creation was a challenge at that time to every zoo in the world with their cages, fences, moats, electric restraints and behaviour distorting confinement. It was a sanctuary, in deed a wild future, in which the Woolley monkeys could rediscover their woolleymonkeyhood. A world without fences.

Third Man and the Squire made a number of visits to The Monkey Sanctuary in the hot summer of 1976; enjoying their chance to sit at the feet of the great conservationist, who liked nothing more than frightening the hell out of Homo Sapiens he selected for trial.

In anything but usual zoo behaviour, Len would select an unlucky visitor, e.g. your scribe; rattle his tin of Golden Virginia in which he kept grapes as tidbits, and then encourage the alpha male of the pack to protect him (and those grapes) from the marauding stranger (a TM urgently trying to remember the appropriate submissive gestures used by Woolley monkeys).

The Squire reminded TM of these visits and humiliations when they both witnessed their all-time favourite batsman, Kevin Pietersen, poked and jostled through the symbolic bars that confined this wonderful freedom loving animal in a press conference on the eve of the fourth test at the MCG.

“Those who visit zoos and torment the animal ‘exhibits’, Third Man, are generally displaying their own ignorance and ineptitude. Put simply, the press are not fit to tie the Pietersen boot laces and because they know this in their feeble hearts they delight in his degradation and captivity.”

In the Squire’s way of thinking, Pietersen is a more important player in the history of cricket than even Tendulka, Lara, Kallis, McGrath and Warne, because he is one of the five or six batsmen and bowlers who have imagined and played out a revolution in the way a central facet of the game is played.

“To see that magnificent creature maltreated in this way makes me want to adopt the tactics of the animal liberationists. There’s a case for returning in the dead of night with wire cutters and explosives to set him free, TM.”

In the ‘presser’, Pietersen, had resembled ‘Guy’ at Regents Park behind his glass screen, the higher life form looking back on his so called observers with a mixture of bemusement and incredulity.

“How can they know so little?” both wondered.

A more respectful and thus emotionally a more intelligent analysis of these four test matches would focus on the inability of England batsman (excepting Stokes once) to post significant scores when once ‘in’. Thirties, forties and even fifties there have been, but these substantial foundations have been wasted. And for England bowlers not to be able to exploit early successes.

Why? Because Australian bowling, excluding Johnson, has quickly turned negative when once a batsmen has appeared to establish himself. Negative and effective. To the change in tactics by their opponents, England batsmen have … well, have continued blissfully on with their relentless, unintelligent attack.

“Of the two sides out there, only one is playing chess,” Guy would have gestured.

Australian batting also relies on the attack a l’outrance, but where their bowlers, sensing resistance, revert to the defensive line, England bowlers in the spirit of their batsmen blazon on meeting attack with counterattack in battles that they have lost more times than they have won. These poor odds once accepted have gifted Australia enough runs to set up three easy victories.

Even with the great form of Johnson in the mix, it has been judgements over when to attack and when to defend that have been the deciding differences between these two sides: tactical naivety in the visitors and tactical prowess in the home camp.

Australia have been the better thinkers, the higher primates.

Stripped of confidence and, in the case of some, devoid of the technical competence necessary in these confines, England is manifesting the neutered, aberrant, asocial behaviour of captive animals.

Today’s events (Australia nine down for chips) proves rather than disproves the point .of this piece written before start of the play on the second day in Melbourne. It was only a matter of time before Australia’s batting collided with the real world in the form of judicious, thoughtful bowling.

Notwithstanding the second day, England need to find a sanctuary in which to get their brains working again, to find their Englandhood again. TM suggests that, on their return to the Mother country, They all spend a day with the Wild Futures charity and Len William’s Woolley monkeys down in Cornwall.

“Watch out for the alpha male, Kev, he’s meaner than he looks.”

Leave a comment

December 27, 2013 · 8:45 am

Make My Day, Punk! – Pietersen Negotiates T20 Deal with ECB

Kevin Pietersen is a great batsman and a lousy negotiator. 

His technique is ‘take me or leave me’, as he showed when settling terms with his masters over the future of coach Peter Moores.

This time, it was during the recent Lord’s Test against the West Indies that the switch hitter opened and closed discussions with the Board over their decision to ensure that the central contract linked selection for T20 with availability for those lucrative ODIs. 

Third Man was at the back of the Pavilion, waiting for the Squire to come out for a turn round the ground, when he heard raised voices from the Tennis Court dressing rooms.

“Make my day punk!” said a South African voice.

“Au contraire, my dear fellow, make ours,” countered a man from NW4.

Later the following statement was released by the ECB:

“Pietersen, who discussed his position with the ECB during the recent Investec Test at Lord’s, accepts that his current contract will continue to run through to September 2012 but that the contract will be downgraded to reflect the fact that he will only be selected for Test cricket for the remainder of his current contract.

“The terms of the central contract state that any player making himself unavailable for either of the one-day formats automatically rules himself out of consideration for both formats of the game as planning for both formats is closely linked.

“This is designed to reflect the importance of one-day international cricket which is a strategic priority asEnglandlook for improved performances in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.”

He didn’t have to, but, for the record, Pietersen has said in 130 characters, “For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played forEnglandin the upcoming World Twenty 20.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Heavy Roller

What a piece of work is Kevin

How long could YOU spend in an armchair watching the IPL when switching to Channel 401 brings you into contact with an innings by Kevin Pietersen.

Had Hamlet seen KP bat might it not have changed the Prince’s world view?

What a piece of work is a man, How noble in
Reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving
how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel!
in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the
world, the paragon of animals. and to me, what is
this quintessence of dust? Man delights me; and Woman too…

We require some awareness of failure to appreciate skill and form. 

In this mini-series between Sri Lanka and England the skill and form has been provided by Jayawardene; at home on the Silk Route, as it passes Galle and Columbo.

But Kevin Pietersen provides something other than failure and susccess – neither man, angel nor god, nearer superman in the Shavian sense.

Can we find precedence? Do we need precedence?  Does exception require contrast or relationship?

His physique sets him apart and into (for now) a small minority (but as sons continue to out grow fathers other will join those ranks). He has the eye of the very good batsman.  Strength may substitute for fine balance.  Because of his other talents it is difficult to isolate and judge these qualities which are so necessary to others.  He may have them, but he does not need them.

His reason is acute.  He has somewhere along the line torn up the coaching manuals and rethought batting from first principles.  Regarding his career is like looking at a scientist test hypotheses, abandoning some leads and pursuing others to their logical conclusion.  His mind is restless, inquisitive, arch, and commercial.

Then, there is his conviction – his extraordinarily developed sense of self-belief – however frail, it has an almost inexhaustible facility to renew itself.

Each of these qualities has allowed him to transform the way cricket can be played – or batting carried out.

Few, so far, have followed him, but they will.  He has done the hard and courageous work, exploring the territory that his physicality has made accessible and which he alone has reached.


What is being described is an impact on the game similar to that of William Gilbert Grace.  That impact is not yet fully apparent.  It is as if we are watching cricket in 1878.  A path has been trodden by one man, but a Golden Age is yet to come.

Above, the alignment of shoulders is captured by the camera and, right, that perceptive cricketer and artist Albert Chevallier Tayler confirms how revolutionary  was Grace’s side-on technique.

Here is Grace in the colours of his own London County Cricket Club.  Watch out for Pietersen starting his T20 franchise.  It won’t be long.)

Until then …

If this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to you a sterrill
Promontory; this most excellent Canopy the Ayre,
look you, this braue ore-hanging firmament, this Maiesticall Roofe,
fretted with golden fire: why, it appeares no other thing
to you, then a foule and pestilent congregation of vapours …

… try a little Pietersen.

Context of the innings:

KP arrived at the wicket with the score 213 for 2 and departed 212 minutes later for 151 off 165 balls ( 16 fours, 6 sixes) at 411 for 6.  His strike rate was double that of the next quickest scorer in the match. He scored 50 off 59 balls, 100 off 109 and 150 off 162 deliveries.


Filed under Light roller

Runs in the Desert

Even the Squire had never conducted a coaching session in a sand storm before.  

“After a game at Slindon, we once spent the night on the West Wittering sands, but this is a first, Third Man.”

Don't those shoulders look better!

KP wisely accepted the pair of Second World War tank driver’s googles purchased on E-bay for just such an eventuality and took guard outside leg stump.

The Squire had shaved a couple of ounces off his bat with an old coffin shaped smoothing plane picked up from Little Baddow on the way.

After a 360km drive from Dubai through the constantly shifting sculptures of some of the highest dunes in the world, the intrepid travelers had found themselves transfixed by the breathtaking sight of the Liwa Oasis.

“It looks for all the world like runs in the desert,” said KP.

“It’s a secret place that you can’t always find.”


Bat & Bowl Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
0/4, 130 England v Pakistan Dubai (DSC) 21 Feb 2012 ODI # 3247
111* England v Pakistan Dubai (DSC) 18 Feb 2012 ODI # 3243
26 England v Pakistan Abu Dhabi 15 Feb 2012 ODI # 3240
14 England v Pakistan Abu Dhabi 13 Feb 2012 ODI # 3238
41 England XI v Eng Lions Abu Dhabi 10 Feb 2012 Other OD
32, 0/9, 18 England v Pakistan Dubai (DSC) 3 Feb 2012 Test # 2034
14, 1 England v Pakistan Abu Dhabi 25 Jan 2012 Test # 2032
2, 0 England v Pakistan Dubai (DSC) 17 Jan 2012 Test # 2030
38, 0/3, 3, 1/10 England XI v PCB XI Dubai (GCA) 11 Jan 2012 First-class
0/23, 15, 1/12, 1 England XI v ICC Comb XI Dubai (GCA) 7 Jan 2012 First-class

Leave a comment

Filed under Light roller

India Not Fit for Purpose

It was to be a fascinating contest; the World Champions against some upstarts with the potential to overwhelm weaker opposition, but not yet tested against the best.  Surely England were still a couple of series from being the real thing?

Yesterday, in the fourth encounter this summer between England and India, and after a first day’s play circumcised by rain, the home side’s openers were removed in a blink of still waking eye to full length deliveries.

However, the next two batsmen like supermodels parading down the Oval catwalk in a record breaking partnership totalling 350 made it another long uphill day for India.

This Oval wicket is without its characteristic pace but possesses the character of a crumbly cheese already offering enough turn to discourage any side from volunteering to nibble it last.

Shortly before close of play Pietersen was back in the changing room for 175 from 232 balls.  Bell is still strutting his stuff on 181 from 304 balls.  Test centurions Morgan, Bopara, Prior and Broad have yet to step forward.

Frankly, in the field, India are not fit to play Test cricket – that is not fit physically or mentally. 

On this historic ground that has provided a stage for great cricketing deeds since the 1840s, India’s aging batsmen are a liability in the field.  The younger ones, perhaps emulating their elders, have absented themselves from effort and struggle.

Catches are being dropped and, worse still, catches are being jibbed.  The derision of the crowd was not without justification.

There will be better (and much fitter) bowlers operating in club cricket this afternoon.  There will be far better fielding sides.

Sharma (1/81 in 27), the best on offer, is five or six miles an hour off the pace that he should be able to operate at and, significantly, the movement is all one way – that is, ‘in’ to the right handers who are at liberty to step across and play him freely to the on side.  It is all corridor, and no uncertainty.

Sreesanth (1/95 in 23) is also ‘off the pace’ and, with a ball and conditions that during this entire series have consistently helped the swing bowler, his movement begins from the hand and ends in the middle of the bat.

In truth, ECB will have provided India with better net bowlers for morning practice than the out-of-condition RP Singh (0/96 in 30) who Bell and Pietersen milked with the care of ethical farmers practicing sustainable agriculture.

Mishra (o/129 in 29) looked as menacing as a particularly somnambulant sloth, his variations offering no alarm, his turn serving monotonous defence rather than attack.

As Bell and Pietersen treated the crowd to an exhibition of batting, it was difficult for spectators not to snooze and dream they were watching May and Cowdrey against Ramadhin and Valentine.

Bell modelling the high elbow of haute couture, Pietersen fashioning his revolutionary ‘New Look’ before their eyes; just as W.G. Grace had paraded his radicalism in an innings of 224 not out on his debut here in 1866, and just as John Small a century before that at Broadhalfpenny Down for Hambledon against Kent had broken new ground with a straight bat and innovative technique to tame the new length bowling in a huge innings of 140 runs.

Then, awakening from such revelry, the spectator remembered the quality of the opposition. Pietersen is still providing a window on the future, but this was nowhere as important an innings as the one he played here against the Australians in 2005.

At 457 for 3, England will endeavour to add enough runs today to ensure they do not have to bat again.  Then the great batsmen of India will have one last chance to shine and Swann the opportunity to play his part in a series that is, like a Christmas dinner, fast demonstrating that too much can be as debilitating as too little.

Leave a comment

Filed under Light roller

Goings on at No 42 : England v India Test 100 Day 2

The packed house at the home of cricket in North London could be forgiven for thinking that they had rocked up to be the audience for a filming of that ever popular chat show, The Kumars at No 42.

With Khan hors de combat, attention fell on a diminutive figure instantly recognizable as Ashwin Kumar, head of the family residing at No.42, where, to indulge the dream of his son, Sanjeev, to be a television presenter, the materially obsessed Ashwin had built a television studio in his back garden.

It only remained for those looking on to learn who would be the star guests made to sit on the Kumar’s sofa, where they would alternatively be flattered by Sanjeev, quizzed on the most private of matters by Ummi, fed by Madhuri and audited by Kumar the Elder.

Praveen Kumar Ashwin Kumar

By the end of the day five bewildered guests had come and gone through the front door of the north London mansion in an immaculate demonstration of old fashioned swing bowling. 

They included Trott, Bell, Morgan and Prior.

Praveen ended with figures for the day of 23 overs, 5 maidens, 5 for 60 and figures for the innings of 40.3 overs, 10 maidens, 5 for 106.

But one guest refused to leave.  Kevin Pietersen, who began the day on 22 withstood the mild questioning of those bowlers playing the part of Sanjeev, Ummi and Madhuri and even the more rigorous pecuniary probing of Kumar himself. 

However, the innings was not without controversy that may settle the result of this Test if not the series itself. 

A catch at backward short leg by Dravid when Pietersen was 49 was rejected by the 3rd umprire.

When Pietersen reached his double century with a half an hour of the day’s extended play remaining the programme editor andEnglandcaptain, Andrew Strauss, declared and directed Anderson and Tremlett to probe the Indian openers.

England 474 for 8 declared, India 17 for 0

However, this was actually another day of gripping Deep Cricket during which two individuals in a sport that sets team against team, undertook personal responsibility for the fortunes of their sides.

Pietersen on the first day showed that, for this match at least, he would utilize his old trigger movement (advocated by Third Man here  last September). 

This pronounced movement takes the great innovator across the stumps in a way that immediately clarifies the corridor of uncertainty, removes the danger of an LBW and gives him license to utilize his strongest shots, attacking across the line to the on-side.

The accounts of this match will be full of tributes to the determination,  discipline and later the portentous assault of the exhausted Indian bowling by Pietersen.

But the Bowler’s Club will pay tribute to the 24 year old sub-80 mph swing bowler Praveen Kumar, who stepped into the breech left by Khan.   If India score 350 for 3 on Saturday at Lord’s, the true calibre of Kumar’s feat will be plain for all to see.

So far each England wicket has achieved an average of all-but 60 runs, which to Third Man’s mind makes Kumar’s five-fer worth 300 runs. 

These two ‘dependables’ played together in the IPL and it was heartening to see the marks of mutual respect they accorded one another at the end of England’s innings. 

Pietersen received the ritual standing ovation, Kumar left the field more discreetly.  Most likely he had guests to welcome back at No 42 and was worried Sanjeev wouldn’t have the wit to do things properly unless he was there to supervise the situation.

Leave a comment

Filed under Light roller