Me, me, me- It's all about KP
A LOCAL hagiographer was unhappy last week when one South African was muscled out of a deserved spotlight by another.
But enough about Biff. This is all about Kevin Pietersen. Even during the third cricket test at Lord's, which is unfolding like a good book, all the talk has been about KP.
Tomorrow it will again all be about KP. When England name their squad for the Twenty20 World Cup the presence, or absence, of KP will be the first point of discussion.
The smart money says that there will be no KP in tomorrow's squad but bridges don't burn that easily for someone with a test batting average a fraction below 50.
It has now been revealed that KP's embrace of England eight years ago, patriotic tattoo and all, has since been alienated with a simple Afrikaans word that starts with a D, ends with an S and has a pair of vowels in between.
No less amusing was the British press's attempts to give the word some meaning to enlighten a no-doubt-puzzled readership. One newspaper described it as vile, which will come as a surprise to some locals here who use it daily. KP had no doubt about its meaning when he used it to describe his captain, Andrew Strauss. The irony was that the self-proclaimed Englishman has been brought down by good old South African vernacular.
There has also been a lot of dissembling.
When the controversy broke just over a week ago, the South Africans were quick to deny any involvement. Did they mean that KP had only imaginary friends? Their denial, never credible, now looks even less solid.
The ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board) insisted on one simple truth: an assurance from KP that he had not sent derogatory texts about his team-mates to the South Africans. If he could assure officialdom of that, he'd be in the clear. But, as the ECB managing director Hugh Morris, intoned: "This has not been forthcoming."
That led to KP being dumped from the team playing South Africa in the deciding test match at Lord's, making him the first test cricketer to be dropped not for poor form, not for bad behaviour, not for slow scoring (as Ken Barrington once was, but this is not about Ken Barrington), but for an SMS sent to the enemy. He was lucky it wasn't the Tower for him.
He also became the first test cricketer to refer his dismissal - even before it was given - to the ultimate third umpire: YouTube.
All it got him was confirmation of the original decision. The day after the stage-managed, self-pitying, self-obsessed YouTube clip, Morris let the axe fall. Belatedly, KP realised that they wanted him to use a word as simple in English as it is in Afrikaans: "Sorry".
He managed to get it out, eventually, but it was too late.
Does he deserve to be dropped? Probably. Strauss is not the first skipper to be described as an Afrikaans box and he won't be the last. But the England skipper's barely restrained anger in an interview last week revealed that KP's SMS might have to do with more than the "vile" word. In such a situation, only a complete narcissist could return to a team dressing-room. So KP might still be able to pull it off. It rests with the selectors tomorrow.