Kevin Pietersen has come under sharp attack in the 150th edition of Wisden Almanack, which has described the batsman’s behaviour as “arrogant” during South Africa-England series in 2012 when the SMS saga led to his ouster from the national side.
Lawrence Booth, in his Notes by the editor in the latest Almanack, said the big money, which Pietersen had secured with his contract to play in IPL, made him courageous enough to not honour his contractual obligations.
Interestingly, Pietersen has missed out on playing this year’s IPL due to injury.
“Cricket, some suspected, existed only as an extension of Pietersen’s whims (and unlike team, cricket definitely has an “I” in it). Emboldened by a lucrative new Indian Premier League deal, he was arrogant, attempting to bulldoze over the terms of his central contract,” Booth wrote.
Further, Booth termed Pietersen’s SMSes, in which it was alleged that he advised South Africans on how to get British captain Andrew Strauss out, as “silly”.
“He was self-pitying, claiming he had never been looked after. And he was a man apart, sending silly texts to the South Africans,” Booth wrote.
Wisden also came down heavily on the ECB for not handling the issue with wisdom.
“Only the dressing room knew just how troublesome Pietersen had become; for outsiders to lecture Andy Flower on man-management was plain ludicrous. But as his exile dragged on, the ECB began to look petty, if they showed their faces at all,” the scathing piece read.
Wisden also wrote that ECB too had a role in it since it let such a situation grow.
“Pietersen’s pursuit of Twenty20’s riches at the expense of the Test side — the format, which had made his name — was unattractive, although those attitudes can filter down from the top. If there was a have-cake-and-eat-it feel to his simultaneous grouse about excessive cricket and his yearning for IPL, it was hard to ignore a wider truth: a bloated schedule has asked the players to make unfair choices.
“The dilemma is not going away, however much English cricket wishes it would.”
Wisden also named South Africa’s Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, Briton Nick Compton and West Indies’ Marlon Samuels as its five Cricketers of the Year, an award specific to the English season and winnable only once.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke was named The Leading Cricketer in the World.