South Africa have the bravest man in world cricket as their captain, while the man who famously called him a “muppet” has just resigned as England captain. In just over six months, Smith has gone – in the eyes of this blog – from zero to hero; Pietersen has gone dramatically in the other direction.

The stock of Graeme Smith – once considered amongst the most annoying cricketers – has risen dramatically in The Village Cricketer’s opinion. In the English summer, it was obvious that the arrogance of youth had been softened, and Smith cut a diplomatic and mature figure, comfortable in his role leading a good South African team.

Pietersen, on the other hand, who was only given the greatest job around in August, has lasted less than five months in the job. The Village Cricketer expressed reservations at the time, and has been completely astonished by the ridiculousness that has surrounded the whole Moores/Pietersen affair. Worried about the effect on his batting, it was the ego we should have been more concerned about.

Cricinfo’s analysis suggests that Pietersen didn’t like Moores and wanted him out, the ECB didn’t play ball quick enough, so KP has taken his bat and walked (as has Moores). Plus, somehow the ECB has seen fit to let the whole sorry debacle play out in the papers, in the manner of an A-list celebrity marriage bust up. Mind you, even Mr & Mrs Ritchie had the decency to keep most of their dirty linen behind closed doors.

So what next? Strauss is tipped for the job in the West Indies, and England enter into an Ashes year as a laughing stock, a far cry from the side that had humbled South Afica in South Africa in the 2004/5 winter. As for Pietersen, is entirely possible (albeit unlikely) that he could turn his back on England and go and earn a fortune playing IPL. He’d have done well to consider being more like the “muppet” that has just tried to save a dead-rubber test match against a lively Canary Yellow attack, on a wearing fifth day Sydney pitch, with a broken hand.

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