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One Vital Detail Is Still Missing in the Kevin Pietersen Storm

08/10/2014 10:34 BST | Updated 07/12/2014 10:59 GMT

In all the furore about Kevin Pietersen this week, one vital detail has been overlooked.

The ECB has still not said officially why he was sacked.

It seems almost a small and inconsequential detail at this point, so much water having passed beneath the bridge and so many daggers having been placed so expertly between so many shoulderblades.

But it is the most important detail of all.

By remaining silent, the ECB has played a PR masterstroke of which Machiavelli himself would have been proud: silence, predictably, has created a vacuum, into which a hundred thousand voices have rushed.

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting," said legendary tactician Sun Tzu, and one has to wonder if he is not on some sort of retainer from beyond the grave as a media consultant at the ECB.

In the absence of an official explanation for finishing Pietersen's international career, social media for months has been ablaze on the subject, conjecture transmogrifying into score-settling and character assassination.

Scores of uninformed voices on both sides have vied to be heard, volubly drawing attention to Pietersen's past crimes and glories, and slagging one another off with a viciousness that makes the England dressing room, supposedly a vipers' nest, look like Glyndebourne on a warm summer's evening.

Where the anti-Pietersen brigade sees the batsman as brash, disloyal and mercenary, the pro-KP brigade sees a man who has been treated unfairly, buried by the Establishment for issues of personality rather than professional ability.

All of this nastiness, of course, could have been prevented if the ECB had only let the British public know the real reason for its decision.

There must be one, after all.

That is has been able to get away with keeping schtum for so long must ultimately be seen as a failure for the UK's cricket media, the vast majority of which is peopled by ex-international players who seem, perhaps understandably, still frightened to question the decisions of their old paymasters.

For some ten months following the sacking of Pietersen, the ECB, somewhat conveniently, was able to cite a confidentiality agreement with the player as the reason for its lack of transparency, but that confidentiality agreement has now lapsed and still we are none the wiser.

It goes without saying that a fundamental principle of British life is the transparency and accountability of public institutions, and whether it likes it or not, the ECB, guardian of the national cricket team, is a public institution.

That it has failed to be transparent is beyond dispute, and so it falls to the game's journalists - those with access - to ask the awkward questions the likes of chiefs Paul Downton and Giles Clark might prefer not to answer.

But that hasn't happened.

Last week, for example, Downton gave an interview to the Times' chief cricket writer and former England team captain Michael Atherton. Downton said he was "extremely reluctant" to discuss Pietersen. And so they talked about other subjects entirely.

At the start of the year, former England bowler and BBC voice of cricket Jonathan Agnew said that not only was he not interested in the facts surrounding Pietersen's dismissal, but that he moreover supported the ECB management's stance to the hilt.

This week, Simon Hughes, former England bowler turned media pundit for the Daily Telegraph and Channel 5, went so far as to suggest the ECB's silence itself was illuminating: "'I don't know why I was sacked,' claims KP. Underlines his extraordinary lack of self-awareness. THAT'S why he was sacked!" he tweeted, somewhat elliptically.

But for those of us who are not privy to dressing room gossip or off-the-record briefings in the corridors of Lords, it is disappointing to see the games' writers so docile and reluctant to hold its administrators to account.

It is perhaps no coincidence that the man who has done the most to try to make the ECB explain itself, Piers Morgan, is a veteran news journalist, not a former sportsman happy to accept the status quo unquestioningly.

Put simply: the ECB's failure to explain why it sacked Kevin Pietersen makes it look as if it has something to hide. With the confidentiality period now over, there is no longer any excuse for silence.

There are many reasons to explain officially why Pietersen had to go, but surely chief amongst them is that it is insidious in the extreme to punish a man so publicly, while at the same time giving him no case to answer.

Even the batsman's most ardent critics must see that.

So, in the interests of openness and fairness, Mr Downton, won't you please tell us, once and for all, why was Kevin Pietersen sacked?

And then, please God, perhaps we can all move on.