Would you have picked Kevin Pieterson for England? Would you have selected Stefan Armitage or any other overseas domiciled players for the Rugby World Cup? These were big decisions to be made by leaders of these sports. It would be great to find out what FLS members think. Let us know?
For my part, though it there is no clear ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, I have a feeling I might have said ‘yes’ to the former, and ‘no’ to the latter.
Pieterson is a sporting genius, and such people, being very different, tend to behave differently in many ways. They need careful management. Even then, relationships are often difficult, with team-mates and coaches alike. Maybe Pieterson was a ‘pain in the ——‘, but this surely could have been managed. Geoff Boycott was a very selfish player, but he was never dropped for being a pain. He was however once left out of a test team even though he scored a double century in the previous test match. This was justified, as he had taken so long over his innings (2 days if memory served me right), that it made a draw inevitable, when a win might have been on the cards. Now that is a strange one.
As for Armitage, he knew the ‘rules’ when he went to play in France. He was reminded of these when he had the chance to return to play in England. He chose not to, and has paid the price.
In both these cases, the selectors, and particularly the coaches, have taken heed of the damage in the dressing room that may have followed selection of the players concerned. If they thought that team spirit and the healthy culture built up over time were to be eroded, they cannot be blamed for leaving them out.
What do you think?