Cricket news from ESPN Cricinfo.com

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Pietersen Report calls for statutory regulation of Derek Pringle

Shockwaves reverberated through the cricketing establishment on Thursday as the much awaited "Pietersen Report" into press standards was released. After a lengthy four-month enquiry following the Headingley text message scandal, the report's author, Kevin Pietersen, concluded that the present media regulatory system - whereby people compete to tweet the wittiest and most damning comment about Michael Henderson - was "wholly unsatisfactory", with the flamboyant England batsman also putting forward a number of far-reaching proposals for the future conduct of newspapers' cricket correspondents, most notably that Piers Morgan will have copy approval for "anything anyone writes about me."

The report additionally advocates that Morgan should take over from Andrew Miller as Cricinfo's UK editor in a move welcomed by anyone near a television in America, but described by a Kolkata nurse tending to senior correspondent George Dobell as, "He really can't talk now. Not until the Valium wears off." Other reaction has been similarly mixed with Stuart Broad angrily denying the report's conclusion he was behind the embarrassing "StuartBroad8" Twitter account and Derek Pringle also hinting he will "strongly resist" the proposed statutory requirement for him to "always wear oven gloves whilst typing". Furthermore, some seasoned media observers have criticised Pietersen's recommendations, claiming they could kill off a free cricket press, a charge given greater weight when the BCCI put out a statement condemning the proposals as "a bit on the heavy-handed side."

Commissioned in a mild panic by the ECB back in August, the report looked at the aftermath of the "textgate" scandal when Pietersen was accused of "not being born in Surrey" and undermining team spirit by taking a century off the world's best bowling attack. He was also alleged to have sent several derogatory  messages to opposition players about captain, Andrew Strauss, but on this point Pietersen fully exonerated himself of all charges, instead finding that "my phone was hacked by Morne Morkel using a sophisticated technique developed by News of the World journalists in the late nineties which involves his phone receiving an SMS from my phone when I send him an SMS." 

Responding to the 2,000-page document, David Collier immediately apologised for saying something which embarrassed everyone, but speaking from India, Pietersen defended his recommendations and explained the deliberations he'd gone through in the last few months: "You know, it was tough writing this report - Swanny kept putting Pritt Stick on my laptop keys - but I believe I've come up with a set of proposals which are harsh but fair. I'm fortunate to have learnt from the best about second chances and what sort of society we should live in and how the press can integrate into that vision. People can rest assured Lawrence Booth isn't going to be dragged off to a gulag run by Nick Knight for three years to learn how to copy his sentence structure just because he writes something negative about me. Well, not the first time, anyway."

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