KP and JT — The two popular sportsmen

We will soon see Kevin Pietersen batting rather than broadcasting.-R.V. MOORTHY

It would be a shame if John Terry never plays international sport again. The football manager Roy Hodgson has already regretted Terry’s retirement and I am sure that he will work to bring him back. By Ted Corbett.

It is far from a coincidence that England’s two most dominant sportsmen were in trouble with authority at the same time.

We had discussed the cause of Kevin Pietersen’s removal from the England Test team and its tour parties often enough for us to agree that he is the outstanding batsman of his era, one of the great draw cards in world cricket and a charismatic sportsman. Now we also know how much England miss him.

My belief is that the old-fashioned and conservative England and Wales Cricket Board did not take enough trouble to see his point of view and that they made a big mistake in dropping him.

The dispute is now settled and Pietersen will be batting rather than broadcasting.

England’s other great national sporting hero — who divides opinion almost as much as KP even though football is not as torn by snobbery and social class as cricket — is John Terry, the Chelsea centre half, captain and legend, as his fans chant at Chelsea.

Like Pietersen, he is a leading member of the awkward squad; like KP, Terry is known by his initials JT. He is a natural leader, the stern central defender with his club and his country but more likely to instigate a brush with authority than to meet the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace.

His most recent problem arises from a conversation he had with Anton Ferdinand, the Queens Park Rangers centre half during a Premier League match last season. He was charged in his local magistrates’ court with using racist language against Ferdinand — the brother of Manchester United’s Rio and long-serving centre back with Terry — and acquitted.

The Football Association charged him with the same offence and found him guilty. It used to be the generally understood principle that a man could not be tried twice for the same offence. On the other hand whenever a sportsman is punished by his governing body he finds on appeal to a civil court that the judge will uphold the decision.

The judges’ reasoning has always been that when you agree to play under the sporting body’s rules you must accept their judgements.

So what are the chances of JT playing for his country again?

You might think that since Terry has announced his retirement from international football, there is very little possibility.

I remember a different scenario. I was working in the head office of my newspaper when I received a message from the cricket correspondent who was in the West Indies with England. Bob Willis he said was coming home and “I think this latest knee trouble may be the end of his career.” Eighteen months later Willis was not only playing but taking wickets on his way to breaking Fred Trueman’s record of 307 Test victims and finishing with 325 but he was England captain.

It is only one example of the way sporting life can turn upside down.

It would be a shame if Terry never plays international sport again. The football manager Roy Hodgson has already regretted Terry’s retirement and I am sure that he will work to bring him back.