Alec Swann - Like it or not, Pietersen’s exit had been on the cards

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

The termination, effective immediately, of Kevin Pietersen’s international career was heavy-handed in manner, a monumental blunder in PR terms and a significant opinion-divider. Yet it had been coming.

An individual who had courted controversy, embraced individuality and marched to his own tune as a rule was never going to walk off into the sunset, hoisted on the shoulders of grateful colleagues with a nation of supporters mourning his sporting passing.

Just as any soap opera storyline inevitably ends with a dramatic bang, so it came to pass in London on Tuesday.

It has left many shaking their heads in disbelief, bewildered at how a struggling team can jettison its marquee player at such a time but on the flip side, it has left more than you would think thankful that such a divisive presence has finally been cast aside.

Of course, it isn’t as black and white an issue as that – scenarios such as this never are – and the ECB hierarchy must really have had their fill to take such a drastic step. But there is something that doesn’t quite feel right.

Blood-letting after a calamitous tour such as the Ashes was bound to happen but rather than allow a few drips to escape, the England management have taken a hefty blade to their own jugular.

Not being privy to inside information (don’t put two and two together) I couldn’t say whether Pietersen’s behaviour had been causing ructions, however, it isn’t taking a stab in the dark to predict that an uneasy alliance was in existence between the batsman and some of his peers.

And when you have built up a back catalogue of antagonistic episodes, which make the term scapegoat a touch too glib, with the runs drying up and the team losing badly, the proverbial will hit the fan and it has done in some style.

An outstanding player but the common demoninator in English cricket’s more troubling occurrences of the recent past, if you are willing to dabble with fire, eventually your fingers will get singed.

From purely a cricketing perspective it doesn’t make much in the way of sense.

And I’m not necessarily referring to the absence of a coach, with any individual appointed – unless it is a fait accompli and Ashley Giles is already installed in all but name – surely wanting to open with a clean slate and the ability to choose who they please.

A team needing to rebuild and a senior, world-class player willing to continue should lead to an easy conclusion.

That is has actually brought about the complete opposite, for all his ability with bat in hand and his potential to sparkle among the run of the mill, is very telling.

An explanation would be nice but with the way the ECB conduct their communications business I wouldn’t go holding your breath. But while those doing the managing are culpable to some degree, as they have to be, it is hard not to conclude that the damage has been, in the main, self-inflicted.

You can’t, and certainly not in a team context, do as you please and not expect a few backs to be got up.

I’m not a fan of using twitter to glean information as it often doesn’t supply any context but in this instance it doesn’t need to.

So I’ll leave the final words to Peter Hayter, an informed and well-respected cricket writer, who commented: ‘sad and utterly avoidable. But when all words have been writ, all fury abated and all passion spent, no-one to blame but himself.’

And that noise you can hear is a nail being hit firmly on the head.