Former England captain and Director of cricket Andrew Strauss has reckons that in hindsight, he could have managed Kevin Pietersen in a better way considering his flamboyant nature. Also Read - IPL 2020 Points Table Latest Update After KXIP vs RCB, Match 6: Kings XI Punjab Jump to Top, KL Rahul Takes Orange Cap
Pietersen, regarded as one of England’s greatest cricketer, had major differences with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) policy over IPL participation. A fallout resulted in Pietersen sending insulting text messages to South African cricketers in 2012 allegedly in reference to the then captain Strauss. Also Read - KXIP vs RCB Dream11 IPL 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: KL Rahul Slams Century, Spinners Star as Punjab Beat Bangalore by 97 Runs
He was dropped from the team following that controversy before being reintegrated into the side. Also Read - IPL 2020, KXIP vs RCB: KL Rahul Scores The First Century of Season in Dubai
“I probably didn’t do enough work with KP,” Strauss told Sky Sports. “There came a time when some of the people he was close with in the team retired or got dropped. There was an opportunity there, not necessarily to bring him in, but spend a lot more time with him and make sure his views were valued and considered.”
Strauss, who played 100 Tests , 127 ODIs and 4 T20Is between 2003 and 2012, said neglecting Pietersen left him isolated that potentially sowed seeds of discontent.
“I think instead I just let KP be KP. In retrospect that was a mistake and might have sowed the seeds for what was to come down the track. I don’t think he would have been in the engine-room of the team in that sense but I’ve always felt a good team environment embraces difference and finds a space for everyone. I think we did that for large periods of time but possibly through neglect, KP became increasingly isolated,” he said.
“Often KP wanted to be the guy who was slightly separate from the team. On any given day it didn’t feel like an issue but over time it became an issue,” he added.
However, Strauss, who scored 11,315 international runs across formats, said he wasn’t entirely wrong as there were issues where the management was right in calling out Pietersen.
“Would I do things massively differently if I had my time again? Probably not. The worst thing you can do for players like KP is to straitjacket them and say ‘you have to abide by x, y and z. You can’t go and play in a flamboyant way, you have to grind it out like Jonathan Trott’,” Strauss said.
He continued, “Effectively you’d be asking him to be someone he’s not, so you had to cut him some slack and allow him to be himself. At times, though, what worked for KP almost undermined what the team was trying to do. It felt like there were two completely separate agendas there and that became a problem for me, the rest of the team and [then head coach] Andy Flower.”
“We were all tired, emotional and had spent so much time in each other’s pockets. Probably if we had a bit more space to think clearly it might not have got to that stage and we might have managed it better. But I don’t look back and think ‘we were wrong to call KP out over some of the things he did’. I think we had to do that.”
Strauss though admits he sympathised with Pietersen over his desire to play in the IPL.
“I always had sympathy with KP over the IPL. I understood what a big event it was with all the best players playing there together and huge amounts of money on the table as well. Long term my view was that we had to find a window for the IPL. I told the ECB we couldn’t compete against each other as it is going to create massive issues within our team,” he said.
For Strauss, Test cricket was always above IPL saying doing otherwise would have sent a wrong message.
“But I thought it was incredibly dangerous to allows players to miss Test cricket to play in the IPL. The message you’d be sending and the precedent you’d be setting is that the IPL is more important than Test cricket. I was saying to KP at the time, ‘listen, mate, this is the situation. You can’t opt in or out if international cricket. You’ve got obligations to England and hopefully there are gaps where you can play in the IPL as well’,” Strauss said.