Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sport. It's great, isn't it?

Yesterday evening I was reminded why sport is such a rich source of entertainment. It's because it's the only area the PR people don't control with an iron hand. In any other branch of "the entertainment industry" (which is where former England cricketer Dominic Cork was placing it on Five Live last night) the Kevin Pietersen-Peter Moores squabble would have been solved behind closed doors. The extremes of embarrassment would have been spared with a large cheque and an emollient press release.

But this is sport in the age of 24-hour rolling news. It's an area where you blurt first, think later and your every word, gesture and thought is transmitted to the rest of the world within seconds. It seems that Pietersen's eventual flounce was the result of less than fulsome support in media coverage during the afternoon of the position he'd outlined in the morning.

You knew he was going to get into trouble in that job because he talked too quickly. In interviews - and he was always giving interviews - he babbled like an X-Factor contestant. This was an instructive contrast with Vaughan and Atherton. These are both cleverer men who nonetheless did their interviews in a drone designed to bring passing birdlife crashing, stunned with boredom, from above.

Last night I heard David Lloyd, Angus Fraser, Jonathan Agnew and Dominic Cork discussing his departure with that quickening excitement that steals over cricket folk when they can talk about something more than reverse swing and buses on the Camberwell New Road. They were all very good. Stripping away the thin covering of code from their remarks they seemed to be saying that KP's problem was that, when push came to shove, he's a bit of a dick.


  1. Because cricket has a culture of being talked about and written about lucidly, I think, unlike the yeah but, no but world of football.

    Dominic Cork excepted, of course.

    Was trying just then to think of how to describe footballer tense - ' 'The ball's come in and the lad's gone down so I've...' etc. It probably is just footballer tense. Anyway, not even KP speaks it. Yet.

  2. Jonathan Agnew said this morning that he'd heard Pietersen described as someone who would join the Royal Navy so that the world could see him. Therein lies the problem I think.

  3. I'd recommend "Football Lexicon" by Leigh & Woodhouse to any sportsperson. Do NOT stray outside it, and you'll maximise your chances of avoiding controversy and keeping your job.
    It can't, of course, account for results - the greatest modern practitioner in the Football Lexicon is probably Paul Ince.

  4. Sport and the arrogant dick gene - a marriage made in heaven.

  5. Entertainment heaven, naturally.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I have distinct feeling that Strauss(y) will be boring the pants off us both on and off the pitch for months to come.

    Also the sooner Aggers & Co. get back to describing the number 12 heading off down the Harleyford Road, errant pigeons, stray seagulls and tall tales of excess by all-rounders gone by the quicker we can start laughing at the Aussies. Which after all is the ultimate reason cricket exists!