The Pietersen Affair
Predictably England are struggling in the Lords Test, with a weakened batting line-up. Equally predictably there were empty seats. Cricket lovers do not want to see England’s Second XI.
It is reasonable to suppose that South Africa were behind the original leak about the contentious texts to the Mail. I can’t see KP having been behind it, nor do I suppose that the Mail hacked into his mobile phone!
For once I am in complete agreement with Piers Morgan. Straussy, Giles Clarke and Hugh Morris at ECB and the selectors have bungled this badly. Clarke and Morris need to resign for the sake of English cricket and Strauss should step down as captain.
A fine player he has been greatly over-rated as a skipper. He comes across as authoritarian and unwilling to consult his senior players, except Cook, who is too close to Graham Gooch in my opinion. He bungled the last two Tests badly.
Some of the media attacks on KP have been poisonous in the extreme. I am sure he would be an effective skipper if re-appointed.
The idea that he should not be playing for England, mooted in yesterday’s Telegraph, is beyond outrage. He is a British Citizen, born to a British mother. There was an excellent response today, referring to the great Basil D’Oliveira, who scored two fine tons against Australia (I watched him on telly scoring the second, 117 from memory, on Illingworth’s 1970/71 tour).
The politics of this scandal run deep. Congress is quite close to Peking, the Indian Premier League has semi-official backing, its funding may be linked (lawfully) to a high-yield trading programme, a la Kerry Packer, and England’s next tour to is to India. KP is the one England batsman they really fear, so they will welcome an understrength England team.
KP came here as a refugee from South African racial quotas – just as iniquitous as the racist selection policy which banned D’Oliveira, and KP is a far greater talent. By refusing to play him on spurious grounds England are effectively enforcing the ANC’s policy of racial quotas.
Sink the Bismarck
Nice to see this splendid old movie, starring Kenneth More, on the box again this week. A valuable boost for morale. I shall be giving the background in Spyhunter, and commenting on the tragic loss of HMS Hood.
The movie was well-made, albeit influenced by a German spy in the Admiralty, anxious to conceal the real reason for Bismarck’s breakout (she wasn’t going after convoys – only the Prinz Eugen).
As usual the producers never sought advice on the stock footage – the warships at the end, purporting to be Rodney & KGV, appear to include HMS Barham, Ark Royal and both the Nelson class, with not a KGV class in sight. The footage was probably shot in the Med before 1941.
Malta Story, starring Jack Hawkins, another fine actor, has also had an airing this week, again with the wrong stock footage. Whilst paying tribute to the fine work of USS Wasp in flying off Spitfires for Malta, they showed HMS Eagle! Her twin funnels were quite distinctive. She was a happy ship – one of my family went down with her sadly, according to family legend. Originally a battleship intended for the Chilean Navy her engine room instruments, famously, were in Spanish.
I am always happy to review movies & documentaries for factual errors by the way! The number of mistakes is surprisingly high. Most producers seem happy to include footage of an aircraft or a ship, never mind which one.