Tag Archives: straw

SJA awards: Lawrence Booth wins scoop of the year for Kevin Pietersen texts

Sportsmail's Booth wins scoop of the year at SJA awards for revealing Pietersen texts

PUBLISHED:

22:41 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

08:10 GMT, 26 March 2013

Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth picked up a prestigious gong at this year's Sports Journalists' Association awards.

Our cricket reporter – who is also the editor of Wisden – led the way with his brilliant story about Kevin Pietersen's text-message scandal last summer.

This was recognised as the scoop of the year at the awards night in London on Monday night.

LAWRENCE BOOTH

Neil Ashton

Recognition: Sportsmail cricket writer Lawrence Booth (left) won the scoop of the year and Neil Ashton (right), Jeff Powell (bottom left) and Jonathan McEvoy (bottom right) were highly commended in their categories

JEFF POWELL

Jonathan McEvoy

Pietersen was revealed to have sent text
messages to members of the South African dressing room about his then
captain Andrew Strauss – later described by Pietersen himself as
'provocative' – which caused an almighty schism in the team's dressing
room.

The scandal led to England's star
batsman being exiled from the squad for the rest of the Test series
defeat against the Proteas. It was also the final straw for Strauss, who
resigned the England captaincy soon after and retired from all cricket.

Meanwhile, Sportsmail's football news correspondent Neil Ashton was highly commended in the specialist correspondent category at the awards, while Jonathan McEvoy was highly commended as a sports news reporter. Boxing correspondent Jeff Powell was highly commended in the feature writer award.

The Mail on Sunday also picked up two prestigious awards, with Patrick Collins named as the columnist of year, while Martha Kelner won the young sports writer award.

Read Lawrence Booth's scoop of the year and his latest Top Spin column
EXCLUSIVE: KP text alert! Pietersen sent messages to opposition during Test

CLICK HERE to read the full award-winning story

The Top Spin: It's the end of an era as throwback Blackwell calls it a day (and ensures he will be a permanent one-cap wonder)

CLICK HERE to read the full column

And don't forget to read Lawrence Booth's latest Top Spin column on Tuesday morning at www.dailymail.co.uk/sport

Bristol City sack Derek McInnes after losing 4-0 to Leicester

Championship basement side Bristol City sack boss McInnes after losing 4-0 to Leicester

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

19:43 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 12 January 2013

Bristol City manager Derek McInnes has been relieved of his duties.
The Robins slumped to the foot of the npower Championship table following the 4-0 home defeat to Leicester.

Director Jon Lansdown said in a statement: 'This is a decision we felt we had to make for the good of the football club.

The end of an era: Bristol City sacked Derek McInnes

The end of an era: Bristol City sacked Derek McInnes

'Derek has been a pleasure to work with; he's disappointed but he understands the decision.

'We want to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting out of the situation we are currently in and we've got 20 games to do that.'

The 41-year-old left Kilmarnock to take the Robins job in October 2011 and kept them in the Championship during his first season in charge.

On target: Chris Wood came back to haunt his former club with a hat-trick

On target: Chris Wood came back to haunt his former club with a hat-trick

But the Ashton Gate outfit have struggled this term, winning just six out of 26 league matches as well as being dumped out in the first round of the League Cup and third round of the FA Cup.

The heavy loss inflicted by Leicester proved to be the final straw, with McInnes dismissed after losing 31 of his 62 games in charge.

Assistant manager Tony Docherty has been asked to take training on Monday and the club will hold a press conference on the same day.

Danny Cipriani blasted by Sale Sharks chief Brian Kennedy

If you don't put your body on the line you'll be axed! Cipriani slammed by furious Sale chief

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 22 December 2012

The multi-millionaire owner of relegation-threatened Sale Sharks blasted his coaches, players and, most notably, Danny Cipriani, for their current plight on the eve of Sunday’s crucial Aviva Premiership game at London Wasps.

Brian Kennedy, who has made his vast fortune through home improvements and building products, has bankrolled the Cheshire club for the past decade.

But he finally lost patience on Saturday night, with his club adrift at the bottom of the Premiership having won just once in 10 games, and now lying six points away from 11th-placed London Irish.

Criticism: Danny Cipriani has been slammed by the Sale Sharks chief

Criticism: Danny Cipriani has been slammed by the Sale Sharks chief

The final straw for the Scot was last week’s 62-0 humiliation at Toulon, a performance that persuaded Kiwi John Michell, appointed as a short-term troubleshooter, to drop former England star Cipriani not just from the starting XV but from the whole match-day squad to face a resurgent Wasps unbeaten at Adams Park this season.

Kennedy is in full support of his coach’s decision, even though he sanctioned the big-money, high-profile summer signing of the wayward star after a tempestuous, two-year spell at the Melbourne Rebels.

‘Danny didn’t want to tackle last week,’ was the club owner’s damning verdict on the stand-off once expected to be Jonny Wilkinson’s natural successor for the England No 10 jersey. ‘It’s the coaches decision, but if you can’t defend then there’s no place for you in Premiership rugby.

‘Danny had a dreadful game in defence last week. And if you’re not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won’t be in the squad, will you

‘You just have to watch Danny’s game at Toulon to understand why he’s not playing against Wasps.

Enraged: Brian Kennedy lashed out at several targets, including Cipriani

Enraged: Brian Kennedy lashed out at several targets, including Cipriani

‘Toulon are a great side full of great players, but no Premiership team should lose by 62-0 to any side, at any time. Some of the players have paid the price for it, and that includes Danny Cipriani.’

Kennedy’s anger is not exclusively aimed at his supposed playmaker. He argues that everything has been in place for the club to succeed and that his coaches and players have let him down.

It led to the demotion of former director of rugby Bryan Redpath to head coach, with chief executive Steve Diamond taking over playing affairs and to the arrival of Mitchell, but little has changed in terms of results.

‘It’s ironic, isn’t it,’ says Kennedy. ‘We have a new stadium, one of the best grounds in the Premiership, and we definitely have the best training facilities in English rugby at Carrington, on a par with Manchester City. I expected us to be pushing hard for a top-four position this season, especially with the signings we made in the close season.

‘So what’s gone wrong It’s not the ground. It’s not the training facilities. It’s not the support given to the club in terms of investing in players. Are we being delusional I don’t think so. So it is either down to the players, the coaches or a combination of them both.’

Paid the price: Kennedy was furious with Cipriani after the club's 62-0 defeat by Toulon

Paid the price: Kennedy was furious with Cipriani after the club's 62-0 defeat by Toulon

Kennedy refuses to contemplate relegation to the Championship just yet as the season reaches the halfway stage in the Aviva Premiership this weekend, but he does concede his team are in trouble and he wants a massive response today at Wasps.

‘I’m not allowing myself to plan for relegation because that would be a negative mindset that would only strengthen our chances of going down,’ he explains. ‘But I will admit our position is perilous and that’s not a word I use lightly. I expect the Sale Sharks to show some pride and dignity at Wasps, to show that they care and that they are angry and hurting. I know I am.

‘We should be a top club, but we’re rock bottom and unless we do something about it, starting at Wasps, we will stay there.’

Coach Mitchell, meanwhile, looks likely to be return to South Africa where his partner lives and where lucrative TV work beckons in February. His departure is earlier than initially thought when Sale snapped him up. Yet this appears to be the least of Kennedy’s worries.

‘I’m delighted if we have John for a day, or a week, or a month,’ he says. ‘Right now we need all the help we can get.’

Sunday's Wasps v Sale match is subject to a pitch inspection.

Kauto Star owner Smith lets rip in row with Nicholls

Kauto Star owner Smith lets rip in row with Nicholls after legend leaves trainer's yard

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UPDATED:

11:40 GMT, 13 December 2012

The depth of the bitterness behind the row over the retirement plans for superstar steeplechaser Kauto Star have been revealed by the horse's owner Clive Smith.

Smith says his association with trainer Paul Nicholls has broken down irretrievably and that the strain on their relationship stretched back to an argument at Nicholls' Open Day in September.

Smith, on holiday in New York, said: 'He came up to me with a tirade of foul language. He must have said it six times that he wanted the horse out of the yard then, never mind this Tuesday. What happened was the final straw.'

Breakdown: Kauto Star's owner Clive Smith (left) and trainer Paul Nicholls

Breakdown: Kauto Star's owner Clive Smith (left) and trainer Paul Nicholls

He added in the Racing Post: 'On October 31, I had a final meeting with Paul. Kauto was in light training but it was confirmed he should be retired, as I'd wanted, but would stay in the yard until after the King George (at Kempton on Boxing Day).

'Then, a couple of weeks ago when I was at Haydock to unveil Kauto's statue, Paul bowled a googly at me, saying it would be right if he could stay at the yard with (head lad) Clifford Baker.

'I'd already spoken to Yogi Breisner (performance director of Britain's Olympic eventing team) and he said it was no good having a top-class horse in a yard like that where he's a hack.

'I'm sure Clifford Baker would do a wonderful job and he'd be lovely for him but I always thought I was the owner.

'I didn't see him enough anyway because I'm 100 miles away. As the owner I'm entitled to some time with him.'

Fans' favourite: Clifford Baker rides Kauto Star for the crowd at Haydock

Fans' favourite: Clifford Baker rides Kauto Star for the crowd at Haydock

Smith said he had been phoned by Nicholls and informed of his intention to remove the Kauto Star form his stable on Tuesday while he was on the runway at Heathrow about to embark.

He also laid bare his irritation at their difference in opinion in how to pronounce the horse's name. The trainer has always said 'Kato'.

Smith added: 'To be honest I was disappointed from early on that Paul didn't pronounce Kauto's name correctly. There was no excuse but he did not back off.'

In response, Nicholls said: 'I strongly refute these allegations but the last thing I want to do is to become involved in a war of words with Clive. I have wished him all the best and have no further comment to make.'

Legend: Kauto Star won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 and 2009

Legend: Kauto Star won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 and 2009

Kauto Star, the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner left the Nicholls' Somerset yard amid scenes of distress and expressions of bitterness among staff.

Nicholls said he realised that Smith planned to remove the horse and saw no reason to further delay with the hiatus causing distraction to his upset staff.

Kauto Star has joined Berkshire-based international event rider Laura Collett who, with Breisner, is assessing the best retirement plan for the 12-year-old. One option is Dressage.

Smith, who no longer has any horse in training with Nicholls, has said Kauto Star will still parade at Kempton on Boxing Day, although he will not be ridden by Baker as had been planned.

Crazy for Kempton: Kauto Star won the King George five times

Crazy for Kempton: Kauto Star won the King George five times

Emmanuel Adebayor could quit Tottenham in January

Adebayor could quit Spurs in January after being benched against Chelsea

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 21 October 2012

Emmanuel Adebayor is prepared to quit Tottenham just months after signing a permanent deal after failing to figure for boss Andre Villas-Boas.

The striker was benched for this side's 4-2 defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday and that could prove to be the final straw.

The 28-year scored 17 goals in 32 Premier League games last season but has made just three substitute appearances this term.

Missing out: Emmanuel Adebayor has struggled for playing time this season

Missing out: Emmanuel Adebayor has struggled for playing time this season

Adebayor arrived expecting to be the club's first-choice central striker, but has had to play second fiddle to in-form Jermain Defoe.]

Villas Boas and his backroom
team felt Adebayor was not fit enough to start during the opening games
of the campaign because his pre-season had been disrupted by the on-off
nature of his transfer.

A source close to the club has been quoted as saying in the Sun: 'Manu wants to play and he really hoped to be in with a chance of starting against Chelsea.

'Mentally he saw that game as a make or break for him at Spurs. It’s obvious now that AVB doesn’t fancy him and Manu thinks it’s better he left.'

Due to his wages, the Togo international is likely to be priced out of a switch to another English club, leaving Europe as his most likely destination.

But Adebayor will get his chance to impress at the African Cup of Nations after coming out of retirement.

International star: Adebayor has returned to play for Togo

International star: Adebayor has returned to play for Togo

He quit after the Togo team bus was attacked by gunmen at the 2010 tournament.

'I’m very happy, because Togo are back,' he said. 'We
now have a very good team that can be a threat. The entire nation has not
rejoiced like this for a long time.

'Something new is just happening and I am glad to be part of
it. Togo is back.'

Cesc Fabregas happy to fight for Barcelona place

I'm going nowhere! Fabregas up for Barca fight as he eyes Champions League revenge

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UPDATED:

06:15 GMT, 17 September 2012

Cesc Fabregas has backed himself to win his fight for a place in the Barcelona starting line-up, quashing speculation he could leave his boyhood club.

The former Arsenal captain moved back to the Nou Camp in 2011 for 35million, and despite a flurry of goals early his career, his form has slipped and he is back on the fringes of the first team.

Fabregas recently allowed his frustrations to show in an interview with Catalan radio, leading to talk that he could return to the club where he spent eight years of career.

Not so mellow yellow: Cesc Fabregas is ready to fight for his place at Barcelona

Not so mellow yellow: Cesc Fabregas is ready to fight for his place at Barcelona

However, the 25-year-old was aware the switch back 'home' would represent a major challenge and he insists he is ready for the fight.

He said: 'I said when I signed here that it was going to be the most exciting and difficult challenge of my life. I knew I was coming to compete for a place against the best players in the world. But I like big challenges.

'If I didn’t I would have stayed at Arsenal where I was the captain, where I played every game and where I was treated so well.

'I have a big heart, a strong character and I have the courage to carry on competing for my place.'

Fabregas moved to the then Spanish champions confident of winning silverware, something which alluded him for much of his time in north London.

Disappointments: Fabregas was the main man but won little at Arsenal

Disappointments: Fabregas was the main man but won little at Arsenal

However, Barca were beaten to the La Liga
title by Real Madrid and missed out on a place in the Champions League
final to Chelsea in what proved to be the final straw for Pep Guardiola.

The former manager was Fabregas' idol
growing up at the famed La Masia academy, but now he works under Tito
Volanova and has every hope that his team can avenge their shock
semi-final exit to the 10 men of Chelsea this time around.

Speaking to The Sun, he added: 'To play in the Champions League final at Wembley would be a dream. I would love to be there, that would be something very special.

Frustrations: Fabregas was part of the Barca side knocked out Europe by Chelsea

Frustrations: Fabregas was part of the Barca side knocked out Europe by Chelsea

'Special for me because I love London so much and had eight happy years there. But special for Barcelona too because we have very happy memories there.

'Wembley is a big part of our history. It was at Wembley in 1992 that Ronald Koeman’s free-kick won Barcelona the European Cup for the first time.

'And last year Barca beat Manchester United at Wembley to become the champions of Europe again. People said it was the perfect performance, they praised the “beautiful football”.

'In an ideal world it would be great to play Chelsea in the final and get revenge for last season. That would be unbelievable.'

Stuart Broad: Losing Andrew Strauss means we all have to step up

Losing Strauss means all the England players have to step up

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 30 August 2012

A captain of substance

It was a complete shock when Andrew Strauss called me on Tuesday to say he was retiring. I just didn't see that one coming. Yes I knew after Lord's that it had been a turbulent time but I thought he still had the hunger and desire to carry on leading the England side. There were no clues as to the captain's thinking.

There is obviously a lot of sadness because Andrew Strauss has been a special part of this team and he means an awful lot to us. I have played the bulk of my Test cricket with him as captain and had most of my success under him. I will always remember how he backed me ahead of the Oval Test in 2009 when I was under the pump and some were calling for me to be dropped. Hopefully I repaid him in that game against the Australians.

Happy days; Andrew Strauss celebrates Ashes glory

Happy days; Andrew Strauss celebrates Ashes glory

Straussy has always been a calm, level-headed leader who took everything in his stride and I can't really recall him ever losing his temper. But I do remember him calling us together on the field during the Lord's Test of that 2009 Ashes series when we had become ragged and had lost our discipline a bit. He just said 'let's pull ourselves together and up the tempo' which had the desired effect.

He has been a captain who always listened to his bowlers and backed them with the fields they wanted to set, giving you confidence for the task in hand. It was always about the team with Straussy, never about him, and any hint of anyone just thinking about themselves when they pulled on the shirt was completely abolished once he took charge. He urged us all to take responsibility and with that came the strong team ethic that has served us so well.

Maybe the last straw for him was losing to me at golf before the Headingley Test. That must have been a real kick in the teeth for Straussy! I'm sure now he will improve his already pretty impressive golf and enjoy being with his family and spending more time at home. What comes next for him I don' t know but he's the sort of bloke who will want challenges in his life. We all wish him well.

A new era

With that sadness comes excitement because this is very much a new era for us now. Alastair Cook is another calm, solid man who has played an awful lot of Test cricket for someone who is still so young. The experience that he and the other senior men in the dressing room have gained will be vital as we might well head to India with a young batting line-up in October.

Past and present: Strauss (left) and Alastair Cook

Past and present: Strauss (left) and Alastair Cook

There will be extra responsibility now not just for Cooky but for all of us and I'm sure those of us with a fair bit of experience can help him as he settles in to his new role. We are a strong unit and that's important moving forward.

There were three England captains and now there are two but I don't expect anything to change as far as my role is concerned. Nothing has been said as yet about the vice-captaincy so I don't know if I am in the frame for that or not but it's not an issue because Cooky and I work closely anyway with our limited-overs cricket. The senior players cover any extra responsibility that the side needs so the vice-captain is only really required to step in when the captain has to leave the field to be honest.

Hitting the gym

Stuart Broad of England

I wasn't at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday to receive my letter from Straussy – my post has been playing up so I haven't received mine yet – because I have been rested during this one-day series. Andy Flower and I talked about it and it was felt that I should have a break and concentrate on the Twenty20 cricket we have coming up. It's hard to say if I've felt fatigued as such but we all know how much cricket we have coming up and I fully understand the decision. It's sensible. I have been hitting the gym and mentally getting away from cricket and I' m sure 10 days without bowling will do my body some good. We're very fortunate to have a management that looks after us.

Sri Lankan mission

I'm very excited about captaining England at the World Twenty20 and I think we have a squad that can do well in Sri Lanka as we attempt to defend our title. We are all buzzing about it. People have said we might be weakened by the absence of Kevin Pietersen but you have to remember that Alex Hales came into his place against West Indies earlier this summer and immediately scored 99. Our plans haven't changed because KP will not be there and I'm honoured to be the captain.

The future

It was an honour, too, to be named in the ICC Test team of the year, particularly as there were two other England players there in Alastair Cook and Matt Prior. I know we have had some difficult times this year but that shows you that it has not all been doom and gloom and that we have much to look forward to. We are starting again under a new captain but we are doing so with a firm base. It's not like 2009 when it was almost like starting from scratch. I am really looking forward to the challenges that await this England team and I am very confident that we will rise to those challenges. The future starts now.

Kevin Pietersen cannot deny sending texts about Andrew Strauss, so England days look over

No easy way back: Pietersen cannot deny sending texts, so England days look over

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 12 August 2012

Kevin Pietersen's international career came crashing down when he would not or, more accurately, could not deny that he sent derogatory texts about his captain Andrew Strauss to players from the South Africa homeland he left behind to throw in his lot with England. Quite simply, he had to go.

So many subplots and intrigue have swirled around Pietersen in the last week that it has been difficult to pinpoint why exactly he has become so disenfranchised within the England set-up to the point where few if any of his team-mates will lament his absence from a Test they must win at Lord's this week. But clarity was thrown on the situation with a brutal efficiency by England.

Pietersen will not be missing from the final Test because he is disillusioned with the international schedules nor because he despaired of dressing room politics. He is out despite playing the innings of his life at Headingley because he has undermined the team unity that Andy Flower, Andrew Strauss and the England hierarchy place such store by. It was the final straw for a management team at the end of their tether.

Final fling Kevin Pietersen hit a marvellous 149 at Headingley earlier this month

Final fling Kevin Pietersen hit a marvellous 149 at Headingley earlier this month

England squad

England v South Africa, Thursday, Lord’s: Andrew Strauss (Middx, captain), James Anderson (Lancs), Jonny Bairstow (Yorks), Ian Bell (Warwicks), Tim Bresnan (Yorks), Stuart Broad (Notts), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middx), Graham Onions (Durham), Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt), Graeme Swann (Notts), James Taylor (Notts), Jonathan Trott (Warwicks).

The most eventful, bizarre and truly surreal 48 hours of Pietersen's highly eventful England career culminated with the bombshell announcement at 2.30pm on Sunday that England had finally run out of patience with their gifted maverick and had decided that not even the significant weakening of their team for a must-win Test could stand in the way of their principles.

It was Sportsmail's Lawrence Booth who put a great big lion among the England pigeons on Friday when he revealed that Pietersen had sent texts to South Africa's Dale Steyn and AB De Villiers during the second Test that were critical of Strauss and had even encouraged Steyn in his efforts to dismiss the England captain. It was an explosive development.

There have been considerable attempts at spin-doctoring and back peddling by a South African management who truly did not want to get involved in the affair despite the demoralising effect it will have on their opponents but they could not deny the truth. Nor could Pietersen when the crunch came and his whole England career depended on it.

England, furious at what they saw as unforgiveable behaviour from Pietersen, immediately set about finding out the full extent of their player's disloyalty. First they approached South Africa only to be frustrated by their opponents understandable reluctance to help.

On the way out: Pietersen's criticism of Andrew Strauss was unforgivable

On the way out: Pietersen's criticism of Andrew Strauss was unforgivable

'It was only banter,' was the South African response with Pietersen's old nemesis Graeme Smith more wary than most of getting involved. It was even suggested by the tourists that Steyn and De Villiers were not the recipients of the incriminating texts but South Africa were arguing about semantics.

Some of them may have been sent by Pietersen to Morne Morkel, his Delhi Daredevils team-mate in his beloved Indian Premier League, with the request to pass them on. But it was Steyn and De Villiers they were aimed at.

And, in the interests of fairness, it should be pointed out that Pietersen did not criticise Andy Flower in the missives that were to come back and haunt him. He did mutter some comments about 'Mr Rules' and England's 'schoolmaster' when he spent time fraternising with the South Africans during practice at Headingley but the texts that were to bring him down were about Strauss.

Fast forward to Saturday lunchtime and one of the team-mates that Pietersen had grown so distant from decided that he should try to do his bit for the team. Matt Prior is the most selfless of cricketers, as can be seen whenever he bats, and now, off his own back, he decided to ring Pietersen to try to get to the bottom of why his team-mate had barely conversed with the England team for months.

At arm's length: Matt Prior (right) engaged in clear-the-air talks with Pietersen on Saturday

At arm's length: Matt Prior (right) engaged in clear-the-air talks with Pietersen on Saturday

The pair spoke openly for an hour, thrashing out their differences, and Prior was content that he had made progress in clearing the air with Pietersen on behalf of and for the betterment of the England team. He then rang Andy Flower to tell him what he had done and for a while there remained genuine hope that Pietersen might be welcomed back to the fold. It was to prove disappointingly unfounded.

Now England decided to play their trump card and drew up a document asking Pietersen to declare that he had not sent any texts, tweets or any other modern mode of communication that was negative in any form about his captain and, crucially, sent during a Test that England had to win to triumph in their series against South Africa.

It remains unsigned even though Pietersen could easily have just gone along with it because there is no way the South africans were going to come out and call him a liar. The texts may have been forwarded to several members of the South African team but they have all been deleted now.

Instead Pietersen, inexplicably, took to YouTube to declare that he was making himself available for all forms of cricket and regretted much of what he had said. It was a desperate last throw of the dice of a man who knew the axe was about to fall and had decided to try to elicit public sympathy. It was doomed to fail and only raised questions about the people giving advice to Pietersen.

Airing his views: Pietersen took to YouTube in a final bid to save his England place

Airing his views: Pietersen took to YouTube in a final bid to save his England place

'I want to commit to all forms of cricket for England because I love playing for England,' said Pietersen, wearing the top of a sponsor rather than any England attire. 'I am absolutely not insisting on playing the whole of the IPL season. I am taking that back. I will come back and play the Tests against New Zealand. I have realised what's important to me. I've realised I can be happy. I can't wait to play in Straussy's 100th Test.' It is not going to happen.

The ECB knew what Pietersen planned on doing and advised him against it but he plowed on with his singular furrow, happier to take the questionable advice of someone like Piers Morgan, who then tweeted 'If England drop @kevinpp for the crucial final Test, after his u-turn tonight, then we'll know who the real villains are.' With friends like that a man truly does not need enemies.

A glance at the Mail on Sunday would have told Pietersen the full height of the mountain he had to climb to get back on proper speaking terms with his team-mates. Often you have to read between the lines in player columns in newspapers to find out what the writer truly thinks. There was no need in this offering from Jimmy Anderson, one of the players particularly distant from Pietersen along with Graeme Swann.

Distant: Jimmy Anderson and Pietersen do not see eye to eye

Distant: Jimmy Anderson and Pietersen do not see eye to eye

'Frankly, as players we do not need this distraction,' wrote Anderson, now one of the most influential voices in the England dressing room. 'The stand-off between Kevin and the ECB is not something we needed. To me it's all been going on too long. The players want this put to bed so we can concentrate on the game. No player is ever bigger than the team. To be as successful as we have been you need all 11 players pulling in the same direction.' No room for confusion there and it is fair to say Anderson's views are shared by the bulk if not all of his team-mates.

KP: How we broke the story

Even then England wanted to give Pietersen one last chance to jump back from the edge of the abyss and, unprecedentedly, delayed the announcement of their final Test squad by five hours to give him more time to apologise, something lacking in his YouTube performance, or clarify exactly what was said in the texts. The silence told england all they needed to know.

'Over the last three years or so the key to our success has been a team purpose, a unity in the dressing room and strong leadership by Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss,' said Hugh Morris, the quiet power behind the England throne. 'We need that on Thursday and we feel at the moment we have some issues with Kevin that we've been unable to resolve.

'Despite spending a lot of time trying to solve these issues we feel we're better served with Kevin not being at Lord's. We were keen for Kevin to make a public statement that none of these texts were derogatory towards any of the England players in any way. We haven't been able to reach an agreement on that and subsequently we go into Thursday's match with Jonny Bairstow, who is a talented player with a very bright future.

'It really is important to have an open and honest environment with each other in any team. The selectors will be considering contracts in the coming weeks and it is up to the board to have a look at this issue.'

Pietersen responded with a statement of his own, calling himself 'gutted' about the development. 'The fact is I love England and I love cricket. This episode has been demoralising for me and my family. However, none of this constitutes the end of my international career.'

Maybe Pietersen should have been careful what he wished for because it looks like a long way back from here. He could yet open the door, with England's squad for the World Twenty20 being named on Saturday, to his return with a full public apology to his team-mates. Yet the question remains – will he have the humility and the self-awareness to offer it

Euro 2012: Michel Platini won"t back goal-line technology, whatever Sepp Blatter thinks

Platini won't back goal-line technology, whatever Blatter thinks

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 30 June 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini has launched another attack against the use of technology to help referees.

After much wrangling, it is expected
FIFA will give the green light to the use of goal-line technology when
their International Board meets in Switzerland on Thursday.

For FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the
final straw came in Donetsk, when it was not spotted by the officials
that a shot from Ukraine forward Marko Devic had crossed the line before
it was hooked away by John Terry.

Goal: Michel Platini thinks Ukraine's 'ghost goal' against England is a reason not to have technology

Goal: Michel Platini thinks Ukraine's 'ghost goal' against England is a reason not to have technology

Yet Platini uses that incident to underline why he does not want technology in the game.

Replays have established Devic had been offside earlier in the move, and that had not been spotted either.

'The goal between England and Ukraine: it was a goal. It was a mistake from the referee,' said Platini.

'But there was an offside before then.

'If the officials had given offside there wouldn't have been a goal.

'So why don't we have technology for offside decisions as well Where does it stop'

Hawkeye: What the new system might look like

Hawkeye: What the new system might look like

There is some validity to Platini's argument. In virtually every other sport that uses technology to make decisions, its scope has widened far beyond what was originally intended.

'It's not goal-line technology in itself,' said Platini. 'I am against technology coming into force to actually make decisions.

'It invades every single area.

'If tomorrow someone handballs it on the line and the referee doesn't see it, what then

'We can't just have goal-line technology. We also need sensors to see if someone has handballed it.

'We need cameras to see if it should be a goal or not.'

United front: But Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter (right) disagree on goal-line technology

United front: But Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter (right) disagree on goal-line technology

In addition, whilst Blatter has been convinced by the technology that has been used, Platini is less certain of its worth.

'Are you sure that it works' he said.

'No one has seen the trials, no one has seen anything.

'I read an article from a journalist saying 'We are not 100% sure but we think it will help the referee. We don't know any more than that'.'

There is even the possibility that Platini might look to prevent technology being used in UEFA's flagship tournaments even if FIFA decide to pursue the venture.

'We are going to see if this is suggested and proposed to all federations,' he said. 'The national federations will have then have the chance to decide whether they want goal-line technology.

'Mr Blatter knows what I think of this and I know his thoughts on the issue.'

Jack Wilshere calls cops over cocaine claim

Arsenal ace Wilshere calls in cops over Twitter cocaine claim

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UPDATED:

08:17 GMT, 13 June 2012

Jack Wilshere has called in the police and closed his Twitter account after internet trolls claimed he had tested positive for cocaine.

Wilshere has been out with an ankle injury since last summer but it was suggested last week his absence from Arsenal and England was down to a failed drugs test.

The 20-year-old’s partner Lauren Neal has also closed her account on the social networking site.

Sidelines: Jack Wilshere (left) has been out of action for almost a year

Sidelines: Jack Wilshere (left) has been out of action for almost a year

A friend of midfielder Wilshere told The Sun: ‘Someone is spreading hateful lies and he and Lauren have decided enough is enough.

‘Most of the abuse was the kind of stuff he hears on the terraces. But it has got more personal.

‘The stuff about the drug test was the final straw — he would never take drugs. ‘It’s upsetting that someone can be so vile.’

The claims were tweeted from two accounts and Wilshere, who has spoken to police but not made a formal complaint, has kept the messages and is ready to hand them over.

Arsenal have called in lawyers and said: ‘The rumoured reason on social networks behind Jack’s absence this past season is entirely fabricated and false.’