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The Time Was Right to Call Time on Kevin Pietersen's Magnificent England Career

11/02/2014 16:48 GMT | Updated 13/04/2014 10:59 BST

Kevin Pietersen is England's greatest ever run scorer. Roy Keane was arguably one of Manchester United's greatest ever players. Lewis Hamilton, was the whizz-kid extraordinaire. Three iconic sportsmen - but none of them are team players.

The effect they have had on their respective sports has been immense. And the same type of people have the same effect when it comes to business. Star performers at banks will do more deals, make more money; in newspapers they produce the best stories and in movies they put more bums on seats than sometimes more dedicated performers.

Lawrie McMenemy, the former manager of Southampton, puts it like this: "In every team you need road sweepers who grind out the work, violinists who perform acts of beauty and a first violinist whose talent must be recognised by the whole team. It is no good having 11 first violinists."

This is the dilemma with Pietersen. He was the lead violinist, the star player, the man who could turn a match on his own and who was always the strongest under fire. His figures speak for themselves - his 8,181 test runs include 23 centuries and 34 half centuries. He holds more Man of the Match awards than any other England player and commentators often refer to him as England's greatest modern day batsmen. Some have even likened his batting to that of the great Viv Richards.

In my experience special performers need to be nurtured because the reality is they are often more fragile than those less gifted.

That special talent can become a burden; the expectation and responsibility puts such pressure on the individual, the mental damn will burst unless they are given that special care and attention and "permission" to fail occasionally. They are often anxious personalities and it is that sometimes deep-hidden anxiety that has been the driving force for their success.

Those people need a lot of one on one care and attention and the "carer" needs to appreciate their value to the team above the cost of managing the talent.

Sadly it is my view that these first violinists have a shelf life... particularly when existing in a losing team. The team-mates who were prepared to sit back and let him/her have special treatment because they could rely upon the individual for a match-winning performance, find it hard to tolerate when they have become one of road sweepers.

It can also be a problem when a team is on tour (like England was in Australia) and several violinists are off tune at the same time. They demand care and attention and there just isn't enough love to go around.

That in my view is why it is right that Pietersen had run out of time.

How many poor teams, or teams going through a negative run of results, hang on to their star players? England had to regroup and rebuild a team ethic because without that they have no chance with the forthcoming challenges. It was the same with Roy Keane and to a certain extent Lewis Hamilton.

Trying to justify these decisions in the media is impossible and my view is that the criticism levelled at captain Alistair Cook and the England Cricket Board is unjust.

Relating stories about the fall-out between team management and their star player will look trivial and irrational in newspaper reports. The reality is that after nine years of managing Pietersen, the importance of gelling the team and rebuilding confidence among the road sweepers and violinists became more important than rallying around the one individual.

Building that structure will mean that another first violinist will emerge to become the star man. The bad news is that cycle is likely to start all over again, which is why England fans were aware they had to enjoy the team's success while it lasted.