Kevin Pietersen may not be inclined to join the celebrations for the 150th edition of Wisden that is published on Thursday.
Reflecting on a turbulent 2012 in which Pietersen was dropped and then reintegrated by England, Lawrence Booth, the Almanack's 17th editor, describes the behaviour that triggered the events as "arrogant" and "self-pitying".
Booth, who, in his other role writing for the Daily Mail, broke the story that Pietersen had been sending texts to members of South Africa's team, has also commissioned a reflection on "The KP Summer" by Patrick Collins, the Mail on Sunday'smuch decorated sportswriting veteran, entitled "It's tough being Kevin".
"Affection continues to elude him," writes Collins. "There are reasons for this, and most of them involve self-absorption, self-promotion and a distressing absence of self-awareness."
Both Collins and Booth make efforts to see the other side of the story. Collins writes of Graeme Swann's "clunking conviction that he has a talent to amuse", and that "on his day, Stuart Broad appears capable of outpreening Pietersen". Booth says that, "as his exile dragged on, the ECB began to look petty, if they showed their faces at all", and suggests that the punishment of Pietersen for tweeting criticism of Nick Knight's Sky punditry was inconsistent and heavy-handed.
Even with 42 of the book's 1,584 pages – around 2.7% – taken up with a celebration of Wisden's past that strays close to the self-obsession of which Pietersen is accused, there is plenty of fresh meat to enjoy. But if cricket's administrators are tempted to respond to the inferences of opportunism and overkill in Booth's thoroughly reasonable observation that "10 straight Ashes Tests from July to January will be less of an occasion, more of a routine", they could point to what appears to be a Wisden 150 cottage industry.
Bloomsbury has also published a separate book, called The Little Wonder; 150 limited edition Wisden 150 bats have been produced; and an exclusive Wisden 150 Club will hold three lunches during this busy, and lucrative, Ashes summer.
Nick Compton is the only England player among the Five Cricketers of the Year, alongside Marlon Samuels of West Indies and three members of the South Africa touring team who earned recognition as the best Test team in the world – Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla. Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, is recognised as the leading cricketer in the world in 2012, when he scored four double-centuries.
Meanwhile England's national selector Geoff Miller expressed confidence that Pietersen will have recovered from what he described as "a nasty injury" in time to play a full part in the international summer. "It's been rectified … he'll be fine," he said.
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