*At the time of writing, KP may or may not have signed for Surrey. But he has certainly indicated his desire to play county cricket and win his England place back.
Unless I’m very much mistaken (a distinct possibility), KP is, with Machiavellian cunning, playing the political game with the ECB to great effect and setting himself up to be the wronged suitor – again.
Let me first just make one point so old arguments don’t interfere with this one – the ECB’s dropping of KP was a shambles and an embarrassment. KP’s comments in his book burned his bridges spectacularly. I can’t see any way he could play again with people he wrote about in the way he did. For me, this whole situation is not solely the fault of one or the other – both parties can take their share of blame.
Back to the present situation. What KP is doing here is taking one single remark by Colin Graves, which was as far from being a definitive statement as it could be, and basing his career choices for the 2015 season on it.
This is what Graves said a couple of weeks ago. And remember, this is the Graves who is not yet even in post…
“The first thing he has to do if he wants to get back is start playing county cricket. The selectors and the coaches are not going to pick him if he’s not playing, it’s as simple as that.
“At the end of the day it’s down to the selectors and coaches and what they feel is best for English cricket. They will make the decisions and I will support their decisions.”
That doesn’t sound to me like the red carpet is being laid out to welcome KP back into the fold. It sounds like a bloke giving a personal view about something that might have to happen before something else might happen – and before he’s really thought about how it might sound or how it might impact on his ECB colleagues.
What KP appears to be doing (again, I reiterate, I may be wrong; there are other commentators with far better inside knowledge than me) is deliberately giving huge weight to this throwaway remark and apparently basing his entire season (and potentially career) on it. By employing this spectacularly passive-aggressive straw man, KP will be able, when this all inevitably ends in tears, to say, ‘But I acted in good faith. I gave up lucrative T20 contracts to play in England because I was told I could get my place back. This is nothing more than the ECB persecuting me..’ etc. You get the idea.
Let’s remember that the managing director of the ECB, the chairman of selectors, the coach and the captain have all said that there is no way back for KP. Cook even said it today! They have also not implied it, wondered about it or queried it – they have said it clearly and unequivocally.
I simply can’t see any way back for KP unless Graves ditches Downton, Whitaker, Moores and Cook. So either KP is playing a masterful political game or we’re in for one hell of a summer.