England cricket captain Andrew Strauss issued a warning to his squad on Thursday regarding the dangers of Twitter, after Kevin Pietersen’s latest spat on the social networking site.
Pietersen, one of England’s leading batsmen, was fined an undisclosed sum on Wednesday by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for going on to Twitter to question the credentials of former England international Nick Knight as a Test match commentator of Sky Sports.
Strauss, speaking on the eve of the second Test against the West Indies at Trent Bridge, said that Twitter was a double-edged sword.
“I’m far too boring to use it,” he said. “There are always shades of grey with Twitter. It does a really good job of publicizing the game, but players can find themselves in hot water occasionally.”
“There is a line they need to tread with regards to their conditions of employment. We have our own code of conduct and it is manageable. You will get occasions when people step out of line and they will be dealt with accordingly,” Strauss said.
Pietersen reacted to being fined an undisclosed sum, part suspended for 12 months, by insisting he had nothing against Sky, whose commentary team includes several former England captains.
“Just so as you know, [Michael] Atherton, [Nasser] Hussain, [David] Gower and [Ian] Botham, legends,” Pietersen said.
Pietersen took to Twitter to question the credentials of Knight, who averaged 23.96 in 17 Tests with one century, as a broadcaster.
“Can someone please tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for the Tests? Ridiculous,” Pietersen said.
Pietersen’s comments about Knight were especially sensitive, as Sky in January agreed a new four-year deal to show live international and county cricket, believed to be worth at least ￡260 million (US$407.6 million) — the ECB’s main source of income.
An ECB statement issued on Wednesday said Pietersen had been fined for comments considered to be “prejudicial to the interests of the ECB and a breach of the England player conditions of employment in relation to clauses regarding public statements.”
ECB managing director Hugh Morris, himself a former international batsman, is wary of Twitter, once labeling its use by England players as “like giving a machine gun to a monkey.”
The 31-year-old Pietersen had previously taken to Twitter to accuse Knight of “stealing a living” from Sky last year and had also run into trouble after using the site to announce his omission from an England one-day squad.