A lot of names have been in the press recently. The vast majority are politicians who have won seats, lost seats, resigned and reinstated themselves. Nigel Farage has undergone a resurrection. George Galloway may be lurking in the shadows. Yvette Cooper is on her own “road to Damascus” and then there is Kevin Pietersen.
Kevin Pietersen is arguably one of England’s greatest cricket players. On his day he is a prodigious run scorer and capable of turning a game in a single innings. In form he is a spectacular player and potential match winner and yet he languishes outside the boundary of the international game.
The downfall of KP from superstar to pariah was marked by a series of events. First there were the falling out with the England coach, Peter Moores. Then came the texts to the South Africans that lead to his first departure from the England side. Following rehabilitation there was the disastrous Ashes tour of Australia that lead to his sacking from English international cricket. The final nail in his coffin was the venomous book KP: The Autobiography,where Pietersen sort to set the record staight.
The appointment of Andrew Strauss as the director of England cricket means that it is highly unlikely that KP will return to the test team, particularly as both Joe Root and Gary Balance have proved their value. Yet in spite of all this, there still seems to be a whiff in the air that he might not be dead and buried. Could Kevin Pietersen return and represent England again?
There are roles that he could fulfil.
Imagine the situation in the next Ashes tour where England are 2-1 down in the series. England need to win the final 2 games to take the Ashes but Joe Root is injured. Who would you want to call up as a replacement; a promising but unblooded youngster or an in form Pietersen?
Imagine another scenario as England fight to regain credibility in the short game formats. The ECB uses these formats, rightly or wrongly, to develop leaders in the international game. KP is placed in the team as the Vice Captain, to draw on his extensive experience in one day and 20/20 cricket, specifically to mentor and develop the youngsters.
There is nothing unusual about this, the Army does it all the time when it pairs young officers with experienced sergeants. It works well, generating respect and life long friendships on both sides. Why not do it for English cricket?
Could Kevin Pietersen make an immediate return to English cricket? The short answer is no. KP has proved to be too disruptive and as Andrew Strauss has said, he is simply not trusted. That should be the stake through the heart, or what ever it takes to kill a zombie.
But he is not dead and KP, if he is determined enough, can rise again if he takes 4 simple actions:
Develop and improve his self awareness. KP’s behaviour is perceived as ego-centric and he needs to develop his self awareness. This provides a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It would allow him to understand other people and how they perceive him, his attitude and his interaction with the dressing room. It’s KP’s lack of self awareness that has landed him in trouble.
Understand team dynamics. The team, particularly a sporting or military team, is focussed on a specific shared goal.This creates a dynamic between the individuals as they are all interdependent on each other to achieve the result – win or lose.
No single individual is above the team and KP must understand the role that he has to play to achieve success for the team.
Develop a basic understanding of leadership. We expect competent individuals to lead without developing them. It is one of the most common failings in British business. Most individuals will have to show leadership at some point in their lives and it is expected of senior players. Only by understanding leadership can Pietersen support the leader and contribute to team success.
Be in the form of his life. A batsman able to intimidate aggressive bowlers and turn games in a single session.
Does Pietersen really want to return to first class cricket? There is no doubt that he is a great talent who has been mismanaged. He made mistakes but the sacking saga was ridiculous. There is a gulf of trust between him and Andrew Strauss that will have to be bridged but rehabilitation is possible. Kevin Pietersen is the only person who can decide to take the first step.I hope he does. It would be glorious to see him hammering the Australians or any other team for that matter.
Kevin if you decide to give it go, call us and we will help you out.