Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Book Review: Autobiography by Kevin Pietersen

This is the fascinating life story of professional cricketer Kevin Pietersen, MBE, from his childhood in South Africa to his recent experiences as one of the leading lights in the world of international cricket. Kevin was dropped from the England squad in February of 2014, seemingly calling time on an international career that began nearly ten years earlier. The decision puzzled many observers—although the England team had failed miserably in the Ashes tour of 2013-14, Kevin was the tourists' leading run scorer across the series, and he remains the country's highest run scorer of all time across all formats of the game. Kevin will reveals all in this autobiography, telling the stories behind the many other highs and lows of his incredible career. Giving readers the full story of his life, from his childhood in South Africa to his recent experiences as one of the leading lights in the world of international cricket, this autobiography will entertain and fascinate readers in equal measure.

My Review:
I went into this book knowing that it was KP's response to being dropped from the squad after the Ashes disaster in Australia, and that several people would be getting a serving. I wasn't expecting anything other than his version of events so it was bound to be somewhat biased. I felt that there was too much about how much he hated Andy Flower. That did drag on a bit and could have been edited down. What did come across in the book was that the ECB did not cover themselves in glory over the way they handled things in the last couple of years, causing a lot of the problems that England suffered.

For me these are the key questions for the selectors to answer:
-why did you drop the leading run scorer for that Ashes and not the others who played bloody awful and are still playing as badly?
-if there were all these bad behaviours from KP on that tour, release the information and let the fans see what he did wrong
-if KP is so disruptive, why was he not sacked during the texts incident v South Africa instead of being briefly dropped?
-why don't you tell us all of what was in these so called offensive texts?
-why was no action taken against team members over that parody account which caused tension in the squad?

The ECB are not my favourite people. KP has a good point when he says that the ECB are against players playing in the IPL for personal profit yet they were happy to get their palms greased by getting involved with the crooked Stanford and his millions.

I was not happy with the timing and the way that KP was fired. If he is so disruptive and hated as is suggested, he should have been fired during the text carry on or other disruptive incident, not brought back and then made the scapegoat for that Ashes disaster. Yes he could have played better and I'm sure he admits that but others played so much worse and continued to do so in the months after. And I was not pleased at the secret evidence which was never revealed to us. I suspect a lot of it doesn't exist. I was actually angrier at the way Swann announced he was finished as soon as the Ashes were lost which did nothing for morale!

I agreed with KP that Peter Moores was never the right man for the job. To tie a high scoring game v NZ and be made to run naughty boy laps round the ground as a 'training session' straight after was plain barmy! No wonder the Black Cap boys were laughing at them! Moores did bring some good players into the team, I'll give him that, but I was never convinced by him. However I had sympathy for him and KP over the shambles of their combined sackings. For the ECB to sack Moores, they were admitting they had hired the wrong man and that KP was right when he raised issues about him. So why was KP then sacked for raising the issues? If Kp was the problem, why did they not back Moores? The whole thing was utter chaos! And the fact that the ECB hired and fired him again recently was even dafter!

I was deeply amused by the fued with Matt Prior and all the Cheese stuff, and I look forward to Matt's response in his book. I loved KP's barbed comment about Prior getting into professional cycling to become Le Grand Fromage. The comment about him being 'a dairylea triangle thinking he was Brie' was comedy cold for the immature reader like me.

I found it interesting to read the areas where KP felt he was wrong:
-not understanding the fears of players with families over touring India. He admits that being a father now, he gets it.
-too young and inexperienced to be captain
-going over the top to prove he was English
-disrespecting the quota system because it didn't work for him

Personally there were areas that I did not agree with what KP was saying or doing. I didn't like the way that the whole text scandal ruined the 100th test cap for Andrew Strauss. Whether there was bad stuff in these alleged texts or not, the whole affair overshadowed a great day for England cricket. I also didn't like the way KP was doing the I quit, no I'll play carry on over his test and ODI future, hints about quitting, then pledging partially, then fully and so on. That was a total farce and maybe that is when the ECB should have had the balls to just say 'fine, we'll manage without you'. People would at least have understood the reasons and timing of it. I'm pretty sure that this fiasco did form part of the reason for the eventual sacking.

When it comes to the dressing room fueds with team mates, only those who were there know what was said and done, so I never take sides over things I know nothing about. I also like to read what all those involved have to say. I don't know if KP was as difficult as the ECB say he was. I don't think the full story will come out until all the current England players retire and do their memoirs. Then we might get a better picture. And it could make for interesting reading if everyone is honest!

All I can say is that he was a fantastic player who did give it his all every time he played for England. I enjoyed watching him in full flow and it is a pity that his career ended in such controversy.
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