Cricket Betting: Pietersen departs as England clear the way for Giles

Pietersen and Giles were teammates once
Pietersen and Giles were teammates once

The fallout from England's disastrous tour Down Under continued with the news that Kevin Pietersen's England career had been brought to an end. Richard O'Hagan assesses the implications...

"It is inconceivable that the ECB would cast out their most prominent player at this stage if they were not pretty sure of the person they were going to appoint, and the only runner involved in the decision process was Giles."

For many, it will have come too soon. For a similar number, it will be not a moment too soon. Whichever camp you are in, the timing of the announcement that Kevin Pietersen's England career was over comes as something of a surprise.

Pietersen is, without doubt, England's most destructive batsman. Even at the age of 33, he remains capable of taking a game away from an opponent in a way that no other batsman can. He was England's top run scorer during the Ashes debacle and, aside from Ian Bell, their most senior batsman.

Moreover, there is a T20 World Cup starting in Bangladesh in four weeks' time. Without Pietersen, England just lost a T20 series to Australia 3-0.

While it may be over-egging it to say that he would definitely have made a difference to the results - the English performances were that bad - the collective failure of their batting line-up in those games always carried with it the slight sense of reassurance that, come the big event, KP would be back. With Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright et al having failed to fire in Australia, the chances of them doing now in Chittagong and Dhaka now look even remoter.

England have now drifted out to 12.011/1 for that tournament on the back of this news alone and at that price New Zealand - who have just beaten tournament favourites India 4-0 in a one day series - are the better bet.

The same goes for the One Day Internationals in the West Indies that precede that competition. Already shoehorned into the international calendar for no apparent reason, England now go into them without their most experienced ODI batsman as well as the rested Alastair Cook. Chris Gayle and co must be licking their lips in anticipation.

And then there are the Tests to come. While it is fair to say that the ECB press release only referred to Pietersen not playing the shorter forms of the game, both they and Pietersen's own release referred to the end of his England career.

Assuming that Jonathan Trott won't be rushing back to play against India this summer, England now have the prospect of a middle order of Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes which, for all of its elegance and youthful promise, is hardly going to strike terror into the opposition.
 
Underlying all of this, of course, is the alleged divisive influence of Pietersen within the England camp. Coming as it does 10 days after the recently-retired Graeme Swann denied that any such thing existed, there is clearly a problem with veracity here. Moreover, there are times in sport where you have to indulge the maverick element that can win you games. In football, Eric Cantona was accommodated by Sir Alex Ferguson. In golf, no American would play the Ryder Cup without Tiger Woods.
 
It is hard not to sense the hand of Ashley Giles in all this. The One Day coach is 1.548/15 favourite to land the overall coaching role and, perhaps more importantly, is a former England teammate of Pietersen's.

There may not be a huge amount of money to make on his Head Coach candidature, but it is inconceivable that the ECB would cast out their most prominent player at this stage if they were not pretty sure of the person they were going to appoint, and the only runner involved in the decision process was Giles.


Recommended Bet
Back Ashley Giles at 1.548/15 to be the next England Head Coach


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