Bob Willis says Kevin Pietersen's unease in the England set-up could be a symptom of domestic stagnation.
Last Updated: 23/01/09 3:00pm
It upsets me a lot to see the England captaincy treated the way it has been in the last week.
It is one of the greatest honours in sport but the whole row between Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores has certainly cheapened the office.
The ECB's management board have had their noses seriously put out of joint by the way Pietersen has broken ranks and gone public in the News of the World.
I've never been happy with current players having lucrative newspaper columns - I always think that is a recipe for disaster.
Most of the time they just come out with banal platitudes but when a story breaks like this you think, 'well the ECB are playing Pietersen a lot of money so he should really have gone through the correct channels before breaking a story like this' because that clearly is the volcano that he has set off.
If he does end up losing the captaincy he's played a gambling game and lost; he thought he would get the backing of the team and the media, which as it turns out hasn't happened 100%. In their words, the board always take a dim view of putting things into the public domain.
There have been cliques in the England side for a long time, we've known all about that. Duncan Fletcher had his favourites and a clique of players has existed in the England side even since Michael Vaughan's resignation.
Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison as senior players have not been part of that clique and that is why there has not been 100% support form within the team for what Pietersen has been trying to do there. Harmison and Flintoff did not get on with Duncan Fletcher when he was in charge and they probably sympathise with Moores in this mess.
Moving forward, England have a history of keeping former captains in their ranks whereas as soon as someone stops captaining the national side in Australia they are out of the door and never seen again.
England's approach very rarely works satisfactorily but Pietersen is so self-motivated and so keen on becoming the best batsman in Test cricket that I'm sure he could return to the ranks if and when it is necessary.
In his defence, Pietersen flagged up the problem with Moores before he accepted the job and the two had a meeting about the way the team was going to be run.
Clearly, it hasn't been run the way he wants it to be run. It doesn't matter how many levels of management, how many hangers on in the dressing room - the bottom line is that in cricket the captain runs the show. He has to be happy with how the structure is.
The same must be said for English cricket in general. We quickly form working parties and committees in this country when things go wrong but they quickly get swept under the carpet.
The structure of the ECB is such that the 18 counties rule the roost and they will never do anything that jeopardises their revenue stream so you never really get the right people in the right positions.
Apart from Mike Gatting's token role as managing director of cricketing partnerships, whatever that means, none of England's high-profile cricketers get involved in the administration of the game because it is so frustrating and a bucket of black treacle to try and swim through to get a decision made.
Committee men know this and always try and play the time card and the best people around end up in the media rather than cricket administration.