Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Well Bugger me. I really was not expecting that.

My day had started fairly normally. Alarm. Sod off. Shower. Make tea. Spill tea. Car. Train. No seat for £3500 a year. Thanks Gordon. Walk. Rain. Cigarette. Log-in. Work. Bollocks.

And, as ever in the modern world, times change, and so a quick check on Facebook to see who has done what, where and when was in order. Or more specifically with my ‘friends’, and with yours I’d wager, a check to see who has drunk what, where and when.

It was as I was perusing through the seemingly endless stream of horrendous pictures and pointless status updates about the size of a hangover (personally when I have a hangover of note the only status I am able to update is that of the toilet) I stumbled across a startling revelation.

I was instructed by the Facebook overlord that a certain lady, let’s call her Miss X, was now married to a guy called, well, Mr X.

Now it must be pointed out at this stage that Miss X is my ex-girlfriend. The love of my life. The one that got away. Sob, blub, sob.

It was a piece of news I hadn’t been expecting and to be honest it hit me like a ton of bricks. A better wake-up call I have never had. Think somewhere between a mule kick in the arse and a slap round the face with a wet fish and you’re getting there. Thoughts of unnecessary arguments, words shouted in the heat of the moment and unsaid apologies all quickly made a very unwelcome return.

Accompanying all this was that strange, almost unexplainable feeling. You know the one. That mixture of regret and helplessness that leaves a burning, hollow sensation in your chest and thoughts of unmotivated violence in your mind. The sort of feeling that only a truly unexpected and substantial blast from the past can create. Hmmm. Today is going to be a long day.

Now it was on the way home, tired and still gripped by a teenager’s depression, that the second shock of the day came.

“Do you want to drive mate because I’ve got to make a call?”

“What the....?”

An offer to drive does not come often from the lips of my brother. This is a man that lavishes more attention and devotion upon his car than he does on his girlfriend. Hell, if his girlfriend was Cheryl Cole it would still be the car that got the longest kiss goodnight.

Surprised is not the word.

With a heart rate that had maintained a steady 10500 beats per minute since the morning, a drive in someone else’s car was probably not the thing I needed most. But seeing as the thing that I did need most was chilling in the fridge at my house several miles away I was not prepared to turn down the chance. The fact that the car in question was a Subaru Impreza GB270 made the decision even easier.

The GB270 is the last of the ‘proper’ Impreza’s before Subaru lost the plot and decided to chase huge global sales with a huge global turd. It was, I reasoned, in the metaphorically uncontrived way that only an aspiring motoring writer can, my second brush with a blast from the past of the day.

Excited? Yes. Nervous? Yes. Thirsty for beer and hungry to drive the doors off of something fast? Oh yes.

First impressions are somewhat mixed. The interior is an interesting combination of soft touch materials and yogurt pot plastics that only the Japanese can master but the integrated sat nav/stereo unit and the GB270 branded bucket seats ensures it makes a good fist of being what you’d expect for the money. Twist the key and the noise of the 2.5 litre turbocharged flat four that permeates the cabin is pure old school Subaru in as much as it emits a deep, bassy warble that successfully communicates the sense that devilish irresponsibility is just a toe twitch away. Naughty noise? Check. Brilliant.

The styling is pure old school Subaru too – in as much as it’s as subtle as German pornography and, to my eyes, all the better for it compared with the bland pudding released a couple of years ago. The Prodrive inspired additional scoops and kinks that adorn the bumpers and skirts means that the rally special looks are as pronounced as ever and still never fail to raise a smile from the schoolboy in each of us. Now I personally never knew that Prodrive made ironing boards but they do and they have bolted one on to the boot lid of this particular Scooby. Huge rear wing? Check. Brilliant.

Onwards. The low speed steering is very light. Too light if truth be told but a special stage derived reputation encourages you to trust that it will do what it is asked. It does. Despite the lack of weight, and to a large extent, feel, as you push further the GB270 offers tightly controlled responses and a linearity that you wouldn’t believe on first inspection. The ride is hard. The grip is epic. Brilliant.

Roundabout. Power on through a tight roundabout and understeer will become your companion. I do mean really power on though as it takes a committed act of provocation to induce this on the road as grip levels are so high but it is there and, to this rather lacking-in-talent writer in particular, is actually quite reassuring. Mcrae-esque arse-out antics are there for the taking though as a lift on the throttle will persuade the tail to break free. Again this is progressive and straight forward to control when it arrives as the rear peels away with something close to a touch of grace. Well as close to a touch of grace as this bonnet-vented Neanderthal will ever get. Think of it more as undoing a Velcro strap rather than ripping off a plaster and you get a good idea of the feeling. And trust me, if I can handle it then there is a good chance your mum will be able to as well. Nice and lairy lift-off oversteer? Check. Brilliant.

Country lane. The predictability of the dynamics demonstrated on the roundabout ensures that it is easy to get into a flowing rhythm when dissecting a challenging road. A slight lack of action at the top end of the brake pedal’s travel is another blast from Subaru’s past but again it never really hinders progress to any noticeable degree. Years ago I drove an old Impreza Turbo on a rally driving day and for the first two laps I was convinced that the brakes were not actually fitted to the car. However, as the sensation is nowhere near as pronounced on the GB270 you learn to like the way it encourages you to be firm in your actions and the brakes themselves never fail to haul you down with impressive force. Get into the heart of the pedal’s travel and the superbly judged ABS means that the Brembo’s perform the job of inspiring confidence whilst intuitively getting the job done. Absence of embarrassing/painful car-ditch rendezvous? Check. Brilliant.

Power. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Ok, so it’s not STi fast but since when has 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and 150mph top end ever left you feeling short-changed? You get a bit of old school turbo lag for sure but this really does add to the sensation that you’re at the helm of something a little bit feral and it feels all the more full of character because of it. The power seems to swell from behind you and as your right foot progresses towards the carpet you begin to understand what it is like to be a prop forward at scrum time. It’s very much a case of the hurricane that gathers silently out at sea before unleashing its wares and battering the coast line with unforeseeable force.

As we park up at home, after inevitably taking the long route home because I wanted to “avoid the traffic on the one-way, and the roadworks on the ring-road, and the pot-holes on the road past Ian and Jenny’s and to maybe stop at the shops...”and whatever other reason I could think of, many different thoughts begin to form in my mind. The engine tinked away the heat and played a rather fitting melody to the job of summarising this car and that drive.

It has its flaws, like any performance car, but when the conditions are as right as they just have been it really is, well, brilliant. You would think that this would be cause to jump from the car singing and dancing all the way to the beer but somehow it wasn’t.

For once the third-world nature of our roads and the first-world nature of our speed policing and traffic did not get in the way of enjoying a ‘spirited’ drive. However the one thought that persevered after the engine had been shut down was that Subaru would never truly build a successor to this car. I know the new wheelbarrow, sorry hatchback, has an STi version (by all accounts this STi is more morbid Gonorrhea than Marcus Gronholm), and that much rumoured Cosworth and Litchfield specials are beginning to surface but if contemporary road tests are to be believed then something has been lost in translation.

In my opinion it is the “I couldn’t give a shit what society thinks, I am a big blue rally car and I will eat you if I have to” mentality that makes the GB270 and its forebears such good company on a lonely road. For the Impreza enthusiast, there really is only one way to skin an Evo.

And this is what concerns me most. I hope that Subaru, in the transition from providing a weapon for the stages to providing a vehicle for the masses, hasn’t made the mistake of losing its most faithful. Because if today has taught me anything, it’s that a blast from the past can often unearth some unpleasant home truths...

There really is only one thing for it then. Subaru must make a new P1 and I must have that beer.

What’s that you say? Beg for her come back? Apologise to her? No... I mean, that’s not what I’m known for is it?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Sport: Well that's 5 minutes I'm never getting back.....

Sorry to bang on about this guy but he really is out of control.

In his column yesterday Martin Samuels wasted half of it by painstakingly explaining that when things happen and time passes the things that have happened become history no matter what those things are. Right. With me?

The object of his philosophy lesson was a throwaway remark made weeks ago by Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano. The remark in question being that Liverpool as a football club had more history attached to it than Manchester City and as such Javier Mascherano would rather play for Liverpool. Not the most newsworthy stuff I know but hey, this is Martin Samuels we’re talking about.

He himself even says later in the column that Manchester City has never even tried to buy Mascherano and so the Argentine midfielder’s point is moot. May I ask therefore why he feels the need to waste his entire column addressing the point? Never mind, for now let us go on.

Mr Samuels then proceeds to state that Manchester City do indeed have a history by explaining that in order to have a history a club must simply have existed for longer than....well, it must simply have existed. I think sir, and this is just an opinion, that Javier Mascherano meant that Liverpool had a more successful history than Manchester City.

No matter because according to the column past success means nothing and in order to justify his point that City have history and success in unimportant Samuels goes on to list all the success that City managed to achieve (specific competitions won etc) prior to Liverpool. Confused? Me too.

The rest of the article is taken up with a 1,000,000 word run down of the games played and points achieved equation for all of the contenders for the fourth Champions League place. A 30 second glance at the table tells you this but again this is Martin Samuels and being arrogant and patronising are seemingly his raison d’ĂȘtre.

And he hasn’t finished yet. We are then treated to a discussion of Barcelona because they are a) interested in signing Mascherano and b) recently used as a reference point for beautiful and entertaining football by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez following Liverpool’s League win over Blackburn.

Samuels then states that Benitez can’t think that Liverpool and Barcelona are playing at the same level this season as if he did he would have used his own side to reference high quality football. Again not exactly sure why this is relevant as Barcelona is one of the most illustrious football clubs in the world with a history of success to rival any in global sport but as we know, Martin Samuels thinks that this is largely irrelevant. The confusion intensifies.

Now I’m no Alan Hansen but it seems to me that if the rest of the world can see that Liverpool, and pretty much every other club on the face of the planet, aren’t at the same level as Barcelona then why would Rafael Benitez be any different? The Liverpool manager may be having a nightmare of a season but he hasn’t lost his mind just yet. I’m not so sure this is true when applied to the journalist under discussion.

It really is as bizarre an article as it is pointless. I honestly don’t know what he is trying to say, prove or achieve other than conducting a personal vendetta to belittle Javier Mascherano and/or Liverpool. Again.

It is probably also worth remembering that Liverpool are the most successful club in the history of British football in terms of major trophies – 18 League titles (something which Man Utd have only just equalled) and 5 European Cups.

So Mr Samuels I ask you; what is your point?

It’s not as if the Chief Sports Writer (!) of a major national newspaper didn’t have anything else to write about this week. How about Beckham’s return to Old Trafford? Or Kevin Pietersen’s continued batting difficulties and England’s fast bowling injury crisis? Or how about the recent developments in what promises to be a truly great Formula 1 season? Tiger back practising on the golf course ahead of a possible return to competitive action at the Masters? Horrific problems with British tennis in the wake of the disastrous Davis Cup loss to Lithuania?

No. Instead let’s have an entire column, and 5 minutes of my and many other lives, wasted by analysing a harmless and innocuous comment made by down heartened player two weeks before. Hmmm. Someone should tell Martin Samuels that the shunning of fact, reason, objectivity and impartiality should be left to the front pages of the Mail.

I mean, imagine wasting time by writing about this....

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Sport: In ruins? Ha!

So on the very day that the Daily Mail announces, in its typical self congratulatory and ‘content with mediocrity’ style, that Chief Sports Writer Martin Samuel has rather unbelievably been nominated for another award the man himself chooses to offer another precise reason as to why it is so bizarre that he is seen as a respected scribe.

The piece in question appeared under the headline “Boo Boys should lay off Terry” and proceeded to lay out the reasons as to why John Terry should be given a break following the recent revelations about his private life. Now unless you’ve been on the toilet for the past month or so you will know the ins and outs of the story and I for one cannot be bothered to recount them here.

There was however one comment made by Mr Samuel that deserves some further scrutiny away from the cosy confines of the ‘Sunday Supplement’ studio.

The comment? “John Terry’s career is in ruins”. Re-read that for a second because I don’t think it was meant as a joke. “..career in ruins”. Hmmmm.

Now I’m not sure if it’s his ridiculous hair or the effects of the rather effeminate way he continually flicks it from his eyes as if the ghost of Beckham’s golden locks possesses him but this is clearly the opinion of a brain not in full working order.

John Terry’s career is in ruins? Despite the frankly unacceptable penchant for sleeping with women involved with a friend (any bloke will tell you that this is right up there with slapping the Queen in the treachery stakes) Terry has not had his career ruined. Not even in the slightest. Let’s look at the facts shall we?

- He was stripped of the England captaincy but is still the national team’s first choice centre back and in a few months has the chance of going to a World Cup playing under one of the most successful coaches the game has ever known.

- He is still the captain of one of the richest football clubs on the planet.

- He has not been dropped by his sponsors.

- His wife has not left him but rather publically stood by him. (Jealous Ashley?)
- He is still paid £150,000+ every week of the year.

A career in ruins? Desperately crawling around the breadline searching for professional credibility? I think not!!

All this for a man who, according to Mr Samuel's employers, thought so much of being England captain that he and his management team illegally tried to hire out the captain’s box at Wembley. And a man who arranged cash-in-hand tours of Chelsea’s facilities without the knowledge of the club... Make no mistake, this man is no saint and his calls for sympathy are as preposterous as the pleas for leniency on the part of the Boo Boys made by Martin Samuel.

If certain members of the English footballing fraternity wish to express their displeasure at John Terry’s undeniable contempt for his vast good fortune then what sane individual can possibly question their right? I won’t be so naive as to say that they feel ‘let down’ but I can confidently say that they feel bloody annoyed. And rightly so.

Claims that the boos could affect his performances for England should be met by the answer that if they do then he cannot possess the mental strength necessary to cope with all the other undoubted challenges of being an international footballer.

In recent years Mr Samuel has been quick to criticise those in the financial and political worlds who have not conducted themselves with the personal and professional responsibility expected of their position and so I wonder where this belief in honesty and integrity has now gone.

It has certainly not been passed on to his friend JT. Only this weekend we were subjected to the overtly aggressive but somewhat pathetic pointing to the captain’s armband in response to his FA Cup goal for Chelsea against Stoke. This unpleasant display of chest beating is reminiscent of a hormonal teenager and not exactly the actions of a truly remorseful individual whose “career is in ruins”.

Perhaps that is everyone’s problem. It is certainly mine. Have we actually heard Lord Terry apologise? Have we heard him ask for forgiveness for his stupid behaviour from the football loving world? No, we haven’t.

We heard it from Tiger. A man whose indiscretions were harder to own up to, a man who is facing a media backlash a million time worse and a man with a public fan-base and celebrity profile the likes of which Terry could only ever (and probably regularly does) dream of. We heard it from him but we didn’t hear it from Terry.

I have a feeling too that that is all it would’ve taken to preserve his respect, not just within the game but within society as a whole.

Now say what you like about Tiger’s performance, I know I have, but at least he made the effort. And as any English footballer should damn well know, effort is what it takes to wins fans. The Bulldog spirit of rolling up your sleeves, taking responsibility and getting the job done. (Just think Beckham vs Greece, Johnny Wilkinson vs Australia in 03 and 07, and Andrew Flintoff vs just about everyone and you’ll get the idea). And not just on the field of play.

It seems that in a hypothetical but highly enthralling boxing match it would be billed as Tiger the Man Vs Terry the Boy.

So my rather insignificant point to John Terry is; show an ounce of meekness and remorse and you will be fine. In fact, man up and win the world cup this summer and you’ll be a bloody hero.

My message to the boo boys is; you paid for your ticket and if you want to let JT know that he has been a bit of a prick then fill your boots.

And my message to Martin Samuel is; perhaps it would be beneficial to give a millisecond’s rational thought to an opinion before claiming that someone’s career is in ruins. It is a frankly ridiculous comment, one that is insulting to a large number of recently unemployed people throughout Britain, and as such fully representative of your column as a whole and one which I pray could someday be applied to yourself. Oh yea...and get a haircut.
(And don’t get on your high horse...You write for the Daily Mail. ‘Nuff said).

Automotive: Don't Make Me Fall In There.......

As my house master from my college days will relish telling you I do not take well to being lectured. I guarantee you that he will attest that tyrannically telling me what to do and how to do it will at best fall upon deaf ears and at worst will result in a highly aggressive, full blown tantrum. And if you cannot find him then this will be equally well explained by my mother, my father, my University tutor, several girlfriends and a large number of women who had the foresight to ensure that they never achieved that status.

I will admit that this has presented me with a range of problems over the years. Namely laziness, underachievement, several messy and expensive break-ups and a broken jaw.

I will however argue that I am far from alone in possessing this rather irritating and somewhat self destructive character trait. I know this for a fact because on the many occasions that I have chosen to lecture others it hasn’t always gone down well. If truth be told it has in fact always gone down spectacularly badly.

This, in a roundabout way, brings me to my point; being lectured is annoying and degrading to anyone and hypocrisy is downright unacceptable.

In isolation either gives you many understandable reasons to stand up and punch the perpetrator square in the face whereas combining the two gives you the British government. Or the American. Or the French. And let’s not even discuss the Italians...

To put it bluntly, if I want to be lectured by a hypocrite I will invite Bono round for dinner and suggest that we discuss the ‘real issues’. I don’t so I won’t and I will do anything in my power to avoid ever having to associate with the holier than thou preachers who ride around on their high horses merrily doubling standards wherever they go.

It is precisely my hatred of this that this morning caused me to descend into an indescribable rage. The sort of rage that makes you want to stamp your feet, scratch out your own eyes and scream to the Gods with a biblical fury. It was, in short, a full on hissy fit.

The cause? A pot-hole.

Not just any pot hole I might add. The sort of pot-hole that when you hit it sends a huge shunt reverberating through the wheels, then the suspension, then the seat and then directly to the very core of your being. One that doesn’t so much send a shudder down your spine but rather snaps it in two.

Now although massively annoying, and subsequently faced with a car that went right when I turned right, went left when I turned left but went left and right with alarming alacrity when I wanted to go straight, this in isolation was not the main cause of my wrath.

No, the real cause was the fact that as I pulled over to call Goldman Sachs in order to determine the size of the investment I would have to make to in order to rectify my only means of transport I could see a speed camera. And three fluorescent 40mph signs. The sort that spring into action if your drive past too fast. And a strange bollard arrangement amusingly known as ‘traffic calming measures’. (From where I was sat it wasn’t calming bugger all).

Here I was surrounded by many millions of pounds worth of draconian tools all designed, installed and paid for under the guise of promoting road safety. It was as I sat there with my body temperature rising, and the inevitable beads of sweat forming on my brow bringing with them the rush of anger usually reserved for a Downing Street aide that it occurred to me that the one aspect of road safety that had been overlooked was the fucking road itself.

Now it is clear to me, you and anyone with the ability to be awake that the surface of the road on which one drives is arguably the most important factor in ensuring safety to drivers. Ask Sebastien Loeb about the intricate differences between gravel and tarmac, or Jenson Button about the effect that dirt or sand on a race track has on the driving dynamics of his Formula 1 car and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that surface is everything. Bloody hell, even a Bangladeshi rickshaw driver will state his preference in order for self preservation of something smooth and even.

In fact, especially a Bangladeshi rickshaw driver.

If we want our nation’s drivers to accelerate, brake and steer to the best of their ability then it seems fairly obvious to me that the powers that be must provide a better quality of road surface. The effects of braking sharply to reduce the impact of hitting a pot-hole or swerving to avoid it in the first place or of actually hitting one at speed are arguably more often worse than driving at 33mph through a 30mph limit.

The British motorist is routinely bent over and ravaged for every spare penny we have at every opportunity. It is very well documented that we pay road tax, fuel tax, tax on the car that we buy, fines for driving slightly too fast on a deserted motorway and a myriad of other means of funding the state. Where does this money go?

We are also toldto Think! as we are subjected to pre-watershed TV adverts that graphically illustrate the carnage that can occur on the roads due to drink, speed and not wearing a seat-belt. I do not drink and drive. I always wear a seatbelt. I do not drive with excessive speed for the given situation. These are things I can control and I do not need to be lectured about them. If I want to know exactly what killed Richard in gruesome detail then I will read Shakespeare.

We are even told that driving a car in the first place is tantamount to murdering the planet. In general we are told that the volatility of motoring as an activity is the ultimate harbinger of doom and bringer of death to all of society and as such we are told to abide by a set of parameters that make Kim Jong-il appear quite lenient.

Our government will not however put their money where their mouth is and ensure that even some of the estimated £10 billion that is needed to repair our roads sees its way into a cement mixer to sit at the side of road and do nothing. This level of hypocrisy is ridiculous and simply unacceptable and has been going on for years and is not simply a result of one particularly cold winter.

The cost, financial and especially human, of the third world road surfaces that we are subjected to in this country is hugely substantial and I just thank my lucky stars that this morning it was the former that I had to pay.

It will happen though and in fact I am sure it already has. At some point someone somewhere will be legally doing 60mph only to round a corner and hit a pot-hole that will disrupt the momentum of the car enough to throw it off of the road and they will die as a result.
Will we therefore ever see an advertising campaign telling us of the dangers of hitting a pot-hole? Will we bollocks.

We (still, just about) live in one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on the planet and it is an embarrassment and a disgrace that the stubborn and pathetic hypocrisy, as well as inept financial management, of our government puts people’s livelihoods, and indeed their lives, at risk on a daily basis over something so simple and easy to put right. All this whilst it lectures us on our responsibilities for safety on the roads. It’s time they stood up, were counted and did something about it. Let’s face it..they haven’t got long left.

Apologies for the rant but this morning got the heart rate going in more ways than one and fear and loathing had to be vented somehow.

There.... lecture over. Drive safely.

Sport: Nuts about KP?

Kevin Pietersen. KP. The Enigma. Mercurial genius or overrated pretender?

This is a question that has been asked of many a sportsman over the years and probably only ever answered in unequivocal fashion by very few of them.

As the ‘Drop Kevin Pietersen’ bandwagon gathers ever more pace due to his repeated failings in South Africa and now Bangladesh it is a question the big man is going to have to find an answer to. Quickly.

Achilles injury? Technical deficiency? Mental weakness? Boredom? Arrogance? All are touted as reasons for his drop in form yet very few agree as to which one is truly to blame.

Let me say very early on that I am in the ‘KP is a genius’ camp. I believe he is truly talented, world class cricketer who has sacrificed much in his quest to play international cricket for his adopted nation. His ability to play game-changing innings seemingly at will when in top form is unmatched by anyone else available for England selection. He is a man who has scored a Test Match hundred against all test playing nations, brings athleticism and skill in the field and has an aura of greatness that surrounds him and each of these are factors that cannot yet be ignored.

The internet message boards, phone-in debates and even some ‘experts’ are all calling for him to be excluded from the side – citing anything ranging from footwork deficiencies through to a lack of passion as justification for the appearance of the executioners block. Anyone who saw that innings and knows how hard he works will attest that this is simply not the case with KP.

I often wonder if these are the same individuals who were baying for the blood of Andrew Strauss in New Zealand two winters ago. The same Andrew Strauss who went on to score 177 in his ‘final’ knock and has subsequently gone on to become our most prolific runs scorer in recent times and a highly effective and competitive leader of the side. I wonder where these ‘experts’ are now.

Sure, Andrew Strauss went away from the side to work on his technique but let’s not forget that a) he is an opener who relies upon sound technique and economy of movement for survival, b) he is a quiet and reserved character and c) England had replacements lining up to take his place at the top of the order.

This is not the case for KP. He is a brash, destructive batsman who feeds off of instinct and freedom to excel and is certainly not as well equipped mentally to deal with being dropped. The debacle with Peter Moores when he was captain indicated a guy who needs to feel wanted and appreciated by his team mates and his country to give of his best. Is KP cocky? Very probably. Is he insecure? Most definitely.

I believe this stems from how he was treated by the South African system during his youth and we as England fans must not make the mistake of simply giving up and letting him drift away. In cricket, and indeed in life, some people must be challenged in order to give optimum performance whereas others need to be supported and reassured. Think about your friends, family, children, colleagues and you will find this to be true. There is no magic, one-size-fits all method to extracting greatness.

One of the message boards I read today stated that England should “drop Pietersen because he needs to know he is not a guaranteed pick”. Now while there is merit in this idea I feel it is slightly misguided in this instance. This is because whilst many batsman bat for their place in the team, Kevin Pietersen bats for his place in history. As a result allowing him to feel confident in his selection despite undoubted difficulties is crucial to enabling him to produce the spectacular displays of which he is unarguably capable.

It is easy to appreciate that he is often loose outside the off stump, that he is moving far too much in his stance prior to delivery and that he has issues with left arm spin. However, as even the most village of village cricketers such as myself will know, when relaxation and concentration on the job at hand are the foundations of your mind-set then the runs will come. (Personally I find they come in a rather unorthodox version of ‘the V’, namely between 3rd slip and fine leg, but they do come).
Put simply if KP is supported by public and media alike he will relax. If he relaxes then the movements in set-up become less pronounced and the head remains still. If the head remains still then judgement of line and length becomes much more accurate and balance is better. If both of these things happen then timing becomes easier and more natural and as we all know when Kevin Pietersen is in a groove and timing the ball then he is pretty much impossible to bowl at. It really is as simple as that.

This is surely what we as England fans want and need to see. I therefore hope that Andy Flower shows some sense (and to be fair he rarely seems to do anything else except from in the case of Ryan Sidebottom’s continued selection but that’s another story..) and perseveres with Kevin Pietersen. After all, in the era of 20/20, Test cricket needs players of his like more than ever. Ask Ricky Ponting/Graeme Smith/M.S Dhoni if they would drop him from their sides and you would get a short answer in the negative from each of them.

I’m pretty sure he will come through this current rut and I am very much looking forward to watching him at his best over the years to come. Because as another truly great sportsman embroiled in his own quest for redemption recently said; it’s not what you achieve that matters, but what you overcome”.

It is true that KP has issues to overcome but he must still play as he has much yet to achieve.