Kevin Pietersen’s Durban Beach Run

Ah, the great question of our times: did Kevin Pietersen run, or didn’t he? Did he run, but not inhale? Does it all depend on how you define “run” (and can we prove he did run with a stained sock?) I don’t buy this proto-scandal as real, though I enjoy the press releases it’s creating. This, from The Guardian:

Neither the board nor Pietersen’s advisers denied that the player had gone on the run or even that his achilles may have been damaged during the exercise, but the ECB did deny that Pietersen had flouted instructions not to go running.

There are two problems here: first, we don’t know what exactly happened, because we’re caught in a confusing (but exciting!) bit of he said-he said. At the very least, this shows once again how mealy-mouthed the ECB can be when Pietersen is the subject (the poor man lost his captaincy the last time something like this happened).

But secondly, and more importantly: let’s say Pietersen did injure himself while he was playing in the IPL? So what? Players are regularly injured during games. Should Pietersen have sat out the the tournament? By that logic, though, he should have sat out every match before the Ashes (yes, including those million ones against the West Indies).

Don’t get me wrong. If the bloke flouted medical advice, he deserves to feel all the guilt and hurt he says he’s feeling. If he didn’t — and this Achilles thing just turns out to be a case of stupendously bad timing — then relax. The furor behind the scandal betrays just how much English fans believe their team depends on Pietersen. It’s almost a tribute to the man how much they hate him.

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