After 73 days devising a county schedule which keeps everyone happy, Kevin Pietersen emerged triumphant from Giles Clarke's 'reintegration gimp pantry' late on Thursday afternoon and was immediately released back into society by the ECB. Having been bound and gagged for over ten weeks, with little more than the difficult conundrum of how to rejig the Friends Life T20 group stages for company, Pietersen spoke of his delight at finally proving his commitment to the English game:
"You know, it was tough being me in there sometimes, not knowing whether to keep two divisions of nine for the LV and balancing up how many people would turn up at Grace Road on a cold Sunday morning to watch Leicestershire vs Worcestershire against how many people would turn up on a cold Monday morning to watch Leicestershire vs Worcestershire but I'm just glad it's all over," he said, whilst blinking into the light. "I know some people still won't be satisfied that I've failed to implement the key suggestion of the ECB's Populus survey of the cricketing public which overwhelming requested David Collier do a job swap with Kenwyn Williams, but I'm confident they'll forgive me when they see what I've whizzed up for the CB50."
|Field of Thoughts: If I build a domestic T20 tournament spread over a few months, will they come?|
The news of Pietersen's plan was greeted with delight in most quarters, though an editorial in the Daily Mail lambasted the troubled star's failure to reintroduce eight-ball overs, uncovered pitches and "spotted dick for tea like auntie used to make it" for the newly extrapolated T20 tournament, labelling the decision "at least something we can cling on to in our ceaseless vendetta against him for being a bit brash in a slightly foreign way".
With just a couple of weeks to go until England head for India to improve Pragyan Ojha's strike rate, Pietersen's return brought to an end one of the most fractious episodes of the country's cricketing history, which lead many to speculate that the very idea of a 'reintegration process' was nothing more than a silly sham happened upon by a board who had got into a bit of a pickle. Pietersen, however, surprisingly sprung to the defence of the ECB, speaking movingly of how Clarke's support was invaluable throughout his time being suitably humiliated for understandably finding Graeme Swann a bit tedious. With only the vaguest hint of rohypnol in his system, the newly reinstated England batsman told reporters: "Not a day went by when Giles didn't push a bit of stale bread under the door and say, 'Come on, Kev, there must be a way of fitting Gloucestershire vs Glamorgan in on a Bank holiday weekend!' I'm not really an emotional guy, but that was incredibly touching. I love this country."