It took some doing to strike a sour note after England’s Ashes triumph, but Kevin Pietersen has managed it. His petty, clumsy and graceless attempt to have a dig at the former coach Peter Moores is further confirmation that all class leaves the South African when he puts down his bat.
Asked to reflect on his brief and disastrous spell as England captain, and the improvement in the team’s fortunes since he was succeeded by Andrew Strauss, Pietersen made an audacious attempt to claim credit for the Ashes win.
“We would not be here today if I had not done what I did,” he said, referring to his public criticism of Moores that led to the ECB sacking both men.
“I got rid of the captaincy for the good of English cricket. There is no way in this world that we would have succeeded under that regime and won the Ashes again in Australia after 24 years. Strauss and Andy Flower need all the plaudits for an unbelievable 18 months and an unbelievable preparation for this team.”
Pietersen’s selective rewriting of history ignores the fact that he wanted Flower, who had been brought into the England set-up as batting coach by Moores, dismissed too.
Moores, in reaction, has merely maintained the dignity he has shown throughout the grubby episode despite Pietersen’s latest provocation.
“This is an important time for England to get focused for Sydney and I know that will be Andy Flower’s priority,” he said. “Nobody knows what would have happened if me and KP were still there as coach and captain, just as nobody knows what would have happened if KP had got his way and me and Andy had both been sacked.
“That’s in the past and I’ve never wanted to speculate much about it. I’m just delighted for Andy and all the players, including Kevin, that they’ve done so well.”
What Moores was too modest to say was that he laid the foundations for this triumph. He inherited the team from Duncan Fletcher at a difficult time, with Michael Vaughan hanging on to the captaincy for a while despite his dodgy knee until he handed the reins to Pietersen.
But it was Moores who recalled Graeme Swann from the international wilderness, having been impressed by his performances in county cricket, and who handed James Anderson the chance to rebuild his confidence and ultimately to lead the attack.
It was also Moores who restructured the England Academy in Loughborough into a Performance Centre, and appointed specialists such as the fielding coach Richard Halsall, a former Sussex colleague who he had plucked from schoolteaching at Brighton College, and finally Mushtaq Ahmed as spin coach in his last act.
He was then denied his shot at the Ashes in 2009 by Pietersen’s putsch, and although he has been delighted to watch the success his former assistant Flower has gone on to achieve, it can’t have been easy. Especially when Pietersen shows not a hint of contrition.