The tragic events in the last week of November meant that there was no cricket played in India. The England team understandably left the country with the last two ODIs being cancelled, as the country reeled in shock and anger at the happenings in Mumbai. The speculation whether they would return was fuelled by conflicting reports coming from England, and though admittedly they were more speculative than factual, it made for spicy copy.
The moment England left for Abu Dhabi it was quite clear that barring an adverse report from their security expert, the tour would go ahead.
In the interim, Pietersen made a truly unforgettable statement that he and his team were ready to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with India at this hour.
The English skipper has an unfair image in his country where he is regarded more of a dilettante, and someone who cannot look beyond himself.
What the last week has shown is that there is more to him than his image and his courage is not limited to the field, but off it too.
He has shown extraordinary leadership qualities and while he has refused to take credit, there is little doubt that his persuasive skills convinced certain worried and uncertain key players to give their go ahead for the tour.
Not surprisingly there are cynics who have tried to suggest that it was pure lure of lucre that made up the minds of the England players, forgetting that for most of the squad there will be no invitation to play in the IPL.
Not just the majority of the players but for the support staff too there will be no franchises running after them, and so they could have voted against the tour, but that it was a unanimous decision tells you a lot about the leadership of Pietersen.
Compliments are also due to the England and Wales Cricket Board for encouraging the players to take their own decision, and India will always be grateful for this wonderful gesture to go ahead with the tour.
Ironically, those conscientious objectors to the tour and those suggesting that it was money that made up the players minds are not shy of making money commenting and writing about the tour, showing us that double standards are alive and well.
A country whose unofficial religion is cricket now knows who actually cares for the game, and those who only talk about it.
Their credibility or the lack of it is exposed and clever wordsmiths that they are, they will justify themselves and look in the mirror without flinching at their double speak.
No cricket was played last week but for their brave call to go ahead with the tour, the entire England team are the Ceat Cricketers of the Week.
Professional Management Group