DateLine: 7th January 2009
Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores have resigned as England's captain and coach respectively, leaving the ECB in complete turmoil following the emergency board meeting that took place on Tuesday evening to discuss the rift in the leadership of the team. The 12-man board met by teleconference on Tuesday night, raising the possibility that Pietersen, who had not been due back from his holiday in Africa, would pay the price for his outspoken views on the future direction of the England team.
Now, however, it appears that Pietersen has taken his future into his own hands, and handed back the role he took on from Michael Vaughan barely five months ago. According to Sky News, Pietersen has given as his reasoning the fact that the ECB did not act quickly enough in responding to his demands over Moores's future. Pietersen had stepped down after losing his power struggle with Moores, whom Pietersen believed lacked the tactical and technical know-how of a top international coach. South African-born Pietersen gave credence to longstanding rumours that his relationship with Moores was in trouble.
Meanwhile, Moores's departure comes as less of a surprise. His position became untenable following the revelations of the rift, and there had been little evidence of progress under his tenure and his credibility had been damaged beyond repair.
Research conducted by the ECB's director of England cricket, Hugh Morris, however, suggested that Pietersen did not have the steadfast support of his team-mates or the back-room staff. The majority of the England support staff are understood to be supportive of Moores while most of the players are underwhelmed by Pietersen's dramatic intervention, as Steve Harmison demonstrated with his ambivalent comments on Tuesday. There was also some sympathy towards Moores who, it is understood, was given the authority to select the England captain when Paul Collingwood and Vaughan resigned, and there are those within the set-up who feel that Pietersen had betrayed the coach's trust.
Although Kent's coach, Graham Ford, had been touted as Moore's probable successor, his candidature had been raised with a view to finding a man who could work alongside Pietersen. Ashley Giles is another option, although Warwickshire have warned they may not necessarily keep his job as the county's director of cricket open, should he be asked to fulfil a role as "stop-gap" coach in the Caribbean.
There was no immediate reaction from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Pietersen was appointed captain in August after Michael Vaughan resigned. Andrew Strauss, who captained England in 2006 when Vaughan was out of the team with injury, is the hot favourite to lead them on the tour of West Indies, which begins in exactly a fortnight's time.