We lost the Ashes 5-0. We went out of the World Cup in the group stage. The coach is out of his depth and our captain can’t buy a run. But the last thing that we need is to have Kevin Pietersen back.
Last year we called for wholesale changes after the Ashes. Flower and Giles were gone. And so was Pietersen. About time too. The fact that he was allowed to return after the texts that he sent about Andrew Strauss to the South African team was an absolute disgrace. He let down the captain, he let down the team, and he let down the country. But we let him play again. Why? Well I don’t really know.
But he still played on. He let us down again. With the side looking for a senior batsman to lead the way in Australia, he threw his wicket way. Again and again. Finally his time was up. But now he wants to come back. Thanks Kevin, but no thanks. English cricket needs to move forward, with new players and new ideas. If Pietersen returns, English cricket will have moved backwards, with old players and old ideas.
But is Pietersen even good enough to improve England? He hasn’t played a first-class game since the fifth Ashes test in Sydney last year. Since then, he has played only Twenty20 cricket, so his technique is now suited to that. He is 35 this year and England need to be looking to the future at this point. Currently, Pietersen would only be ready to play Twenty20 cricket for England, and that’s the last thing that we’re interested in at the moment. In the test arena, Pietersen would demand to bat at number 4, a spot currently taken by Ian Bell. It is also unlikely that he would be able to dislodge either Joe Root or Gary Ballance, who were in excellent form against India in last summer’s test series.
Then there’s the book. What can I say? He has criticised the captain, the coach, and most of the senior players. To return to the team would mean having to leave out some of the senior players who have actually earned the right to play for England. There is absolutely no need to change the makeup of the entire team just to try and incorporate Kevin Pietersen. If we want to play them all, we would have to build bridges. And they would have to be very large bridges.
There is no doubt that change is needed for England to succeed in both test and ODI cricket, but bringing back Kevin Pietersen is not the way to do it.