But I do respect you: R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Today we are going to hear from one of the younger members of the dongles team.  I didn’t really have much interest in the circus match at Lord’s last night.  I prefer to remember the greats from when they were, um, great.  Although I think it was excellent that Brett Lee added some authenticity by breaking Warnie’s hand with a beamer.  But Madd Elise has been good enough to pen some thoughts and here they are:

Following reading an article on Cricinfo today (http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/current/story/757789.html), I have realised how distressing I find the whole business regarding Kevin Pietersen, and certainly not wholly pertaining to his relationship with Andrew Strauss. I think it is a real shame that these people, Pietersen, Strauss, the ECB, English cricket fans, cricket fans in general, have behaved in such a manner towards cricket. I have heard talk about professional cricketers becoming disheartened when things aren’t going their way in their careers, and that they spend too much time and energy stressing over what’s wrong. In retrospect, they come to realise that what initially caused them to play cricket, their love for the game, has been lost, which has played a big part in their poor form and personal problems.

I’m not saying this is what caused the issues between Pietersen and cricket, Pietersen and the ECB or Pietersen and Strauss, but I do think that if there was enough respect, for themselves, and the institution of cricket, and even Lord’s, that certain upsetting incidents could have been avoided. For starters they take away from the sport, yesterday’s match being one filled with many greats, who deserve the respect due to them, instead of the focus being on an unfortunate situation like this.

Inarguably, Kevin Pietersen was a great batsman.  His record will tell you that quite plainly. The media coverage of his career will also tell you that he apparently has an issue with authority, and an attitude problem. Seeing as I’ve never met him, or worked with him, I wouldn’t like to pass judgement, though it would be easy enough to do so. I do think that his behaviour can at least be partly attributed to being a product of his environment. He was seemingly allowed to behave however he wanted while he was in form, with little done to curb his attitude and temperament. Once he was severely out of form, and apparently creating disunity, he was sacked, and very publicly so. I think it’s sad that that’s where and how his career ended, but you could say he made his bed and had to lie in it. I don’t know if the situation could have been avoided had he been disciplined earlier on in his career, to avoid such issues later on, but I’d like to think that it would have been possible.

Following Pietersen’s firing, and fall from grace, if that had not already happened during the debacle that was England’s 2013-14 Ashes campaign in Australia, I think it would have been good if everyone could have moved on, at least after a few weeks. Pietersen was dealt his hand, and from what I can see, from the most part, he seems to have accepted it and be working with what he has now. Then you have Andrew Strauss, albeit accidentally, use a highly offensive word on air, directed insultingly at Pietersen, during a highly publicised commemoratory match at cricket’s most fabled ground, Lord’s. I don’t really care that he thought he was off air, I don’t really care that they have a history, I don’t really care that he’s apologised and is mortified, (though so he should be). For me, personally, there is no reason, ever, for using the word that he used, and at Lord’s for that matter. To me, Lord’s is a kind of reverent, hallowed place. If you choose to use offensive words like that in life, you should at least try to avoid using them in a place like that.

Andrew Strauss made a mistake, but I think it was rather an indulgent one. If he had been concentrating on the match at hand, the occasion, and the game of cricket, he would not have felt inclined to make a comment resulting from an old feud with Pietersen. I understand that people don’t always agree, and that’s life, and maybe I’m an idealist, but I think these grown men should just accept they don’t like one another, and keep it to themselves, or at least to the privacy of their own homes. All it does is feed the media with negative attention regarding themselves and cricket, which is really a shame. It may seem harsh or unreasonable to hold these men to a higher standard, but they were given the honour and privilege to play for their country, to be in the eye of the media, so I think they should show more respect.

In other news, from MCCXI v ROWXI, Brett Lee broke Shane Warne’s hand, (rendering him unable to bowl in his team’s fielding innings), Aaron Finch put on a fine display as a man in form, Yuvraj Singh played a great innings, and all other participants did their part to put on a show for the spectators. Perhaps an exhibition match such as this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea [dongles says ‘correct’], but these men were asked to come and play, due to their successful professional careers, and I respect that enough to give the match some attention.

For me, I follow cricket because I love the game, I respect the game, and ideally, I think it should be played with honour and respect. The scandals and disgraces that accompany it, apparently at an alarmingly increasing rate, are a product of an imperfect world. However, it would be nice if there was more of a focus on the good, a focus on being respectful, and remembering what brought us all together in the first place, a love of cricket.

[The opinions presented in this post and not necessarily shared by dongles.]

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