In a week when David Beckham became the proud owner of his own soccer team and Manchester City lost at home, the once-genteel sport of cricket threw up its own Big News Story.
Kevin Pietersen will not be playing any more cricket for England.
I once saw KP play in a test match against the West Indies. Disappointingly he managed to get out when most of us were probably hoping for a few hours of entertainment, courtesy of his batting. Getting out disappointingly became something of a theme. Too many daft shots, for some experts. Mind you, he still managed to score over 8000 Test Match runs.
The last few months have not been great, mind you, and now he has been told that his services will no longer be required by team England!
And it’s big news.
So what’s the problem? Read around, listen to the pundits, and make your mind up as to whether it’s a question of a big ego that causes too much trouble in a team sport or that KP is a son of the free-market economy that has begun to characterise professional sport. Or is he simply a maverick at a time when conformity is king?
I discovered that the term ‘maverick’ goes back to the days of a Texan cattle-rancher called Samuel Augustus Maverick, who didn’t brand his herds. The mavericks were free to roam and the term came to be applied to people who refused to conform to the herd.
Reminds me of the famous ‘herding cats’ concept!
One former England cricket captain, turned radio expert, suggested that the KP problem was a problem of leadership: those in charge of the England team ought to have found a way to accommodate Pietersen, despite the challenges.
Which raises some interesting questions about leadership and mavericks more generally. Here are two, for specific consideration by leaders of churches and other Christian organisations:
- Does the cause of the Kingdom require mavericks who are prepared to take risks, pioneer new ventures and generally work outside the box?
- If you are a pastor/minister and you have a few mavericks in your church, can you work with them or do you feel threatened and frustrated by them?
And one for the mavericks themselves:
- If you are a maverick, how do you think you should relate to existing structures?