The end of Kevin Pietersen’s England cricket career is overdue or premature, a management failure or vindication – depending which expert pundit you listen to.
After the ECB announced Pietersen’s omission from future plans, a succession of former national captains encapsulated the divided opinion which has surrounded the South Africa-born batsman throughout his near 10-year international career.
Michael Vaughan believes England have, ultimately, been unable to effectively man-manage their gifted “maverick”.
Nasser Hussain concluded that the ECB have simply decided “enough is enough”.
Alec Stewart finds the sacrifice of a ‘box-office cricketer’ both ‘unfair and unjust’, and Geoff Boycott insists England captain Alastair Cook and former team director Andy Flower must shoulder some responsibility for Pietersen’s departure.
Some of the most strident support for the decision came from former England bowler Bob Willis, who praised the decisiveness of new ECB managing director Paul Downton
“Full marks to Paul Downton – he’s put his stamp of authority on the job,” Willis said.
“He only really started yesterday officially in the job ... it’s a dramatic decision and one that really says England have got to move on.
“Let’s be honest – Pietersen has disrupted every single dressing room he’s been in.
“Everyone was toeing the party line in front of the cameras about his relationship with Andy Flower and the rest of the team but clearly there had been problems on the Australian tour.
“Very bravely, Paul Downton and…a unanimous decision by the rest of the England management means it’s time to move on.
“A line in the sand has been drawn.
“Captains and team directors have all suffered because of Pietersen’s behaviour.
“No man is bigger than the game, and England have decided Kevin Pietersen got too big for his boots.”