THE BLOG

The ECB Is Not North Korea, Despite the Way It Acts

18/03/2014 14:50 GMT | Updated 18/05/2014 10:59 BST

The ECB, whether it likes it or not, is not North Korea. It cannot disappear people without explanation, nor can it lie to the public about maladies afflicting key apparatchiks without facing repercussion of any sort.

That a cricketing D-notice has been slapped on Kevin Pietersen's career is one of the great scandals of British sport. He has been fired because the brains trust in the dressing room don't like him, we know that now, and we are supposed to swallow it without asking questions.

On the other hand, in the case of Jonathan Trott, a South African whose face fits, the ECB is prepared to protect a career by inventing serious psychological illness in order to deflect attention from recent poor form.

That both instances involve treating the cricket-going public like morons is neither here nor there to the ECB. No apology or proper explanation has been issued and none is forthcoming. The ECB is not accountable to you, and you're a fool if you thought it was.

Andrew Walpole, ECB spokesman, explains: "The ECB is fully accountable to its fourteen-strong management board, which is elected by the wider cricket family."

In other words, it's a closed shop - cricket's governing body in England and Wales is answerable to no one but itself.

The ECB now considers Pietersen a brand so toxic that even to ask why he has been fired is to place yourself "outside cricket", the regime-style phrase used irritably in its last and final communiqué on the subject.

That is wasn't so long ago Pietersen was appointed captain of the national team indicates, to this observer at least, a level of changeable, schizophrenic megalomania in the ECB of which Kim Jong Un might be proud.

One second the ECB's main man, the next thrown to the dogs.

Today, "legal reasons of confidentiality" is wielded like a broadsword against enquiries as to why the ECB eschews transparency, as if the legal system of this country is log jammed with cricketers seeking retribution.

Rapists and murderers are not going untried because Robert Key and his ilk are taking their appeals to the High Court.

Pietersen himself says he has no idea why he has been fired nor what he did wrong. You'd think, even if it does not believe the people who pay some £100 a ticket a day to watch England play should know, the ECB might tell the man himself.

How has it come to this? The ECB has only to select the best eleven cricketers in the land, on our behalf, and then to create the optimal conditions for them to thrive.

That that job has become a popularity contest in which personality-based vendettas are allowed to hold sway, influencing decision making, is plainly absurd. The time has come for resignations.

Everyone else in this country knows you cannot prevent people from doing their job simply because you don't like them.

In fact, there is only one area of British life where discrimination of this sort is not only tolerated but encouraged, and perhaps the ECB is missing a trick by not embracing it fully.

If team selection is to be based on who is popular and who is not, then, please, let us have cameras in the dressing room and weekly evictions decided by nation-wide telephone voting.

The money raised would do wonders for the grassroots game, and the situation could hardly be more ridiculous than it currently is.