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Stuart White

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”  So sing the nuns in The Sound of Music in their desperation to curtail the exuberance of their enthusiastic novitiate with a heart of gold but a tendency to headstrong impulsiveness.  And I bet the English Cricket Board know just how they felt.  For ‘Maria’ just substitute ‘Kevin Pietersen’ or KP, if you prefer.  For he is the problem they have never been able to solve and this week it appears they’ve given up trying.

This South African born cricketer has had controversy as his middle name pretty much ever since he appeared on the cricketing scene.  Now best known as a batsman, KP went through the training and selection process in his native South Africa as a bowler where he was thought to have potential and might have had a promising career, making his First Class debut playing for Natal in 1997. 

But he grew impatient with the slowness of his rise through the ranks, blaming the racial quota system in South African cricket which he felt was holding him back and soon after he flounced off to England in high dudgeon, the first of many flounces and many demonstrations of high dudgeon that were to be characteristic of his undoubtedly charismatic career. 

Even over in England he also had to wait his turn and pay his dues by playing in county cricket for 4 years, before eventually being picked to join the England squad in an ODI against Zimbabwe in 2004, quickly followed by a place on the Test Squad team in the Ashes the following year, after which he secured a more or less permanent spot on the team. 

And his stats as an England player are undoubtedly impressive: 104 test matches, a total of 8181 runs, including 985 4s and 81 6s;  136 ODIS, 4440 runs, including 427 4s, and 77 6s;  37 T-20s, a total of 1176 runs, including  119 4s and 32 6s.

No doubt then the man can bat but he’s also a prat!  These are only some of the controversies that he has initiated in his 10-year career with England:

1. In 2003, he was trying to chart out a path to international success so when Nottinghamshire were relegated to the second Division, Pietersen wasn’t happy and voiced his opinion to the people who matter at the county. It is reported that Nottinghamshire Captain  HYPERLINK "" Jason Gallian threw Pietersen’s kit bag from the dressing room.

2. In 2006, Pietersen slammed the South African quota system in his book and also took a dig at South African captain  HYPERLINK "" Graeme Smith for his sledging tactics during England’s tour to South Africa in 2004-05, describing him as a ‘muppet.’ In reply, Smith stated, “I’m patriotic about my country, and that’s why I don’t like Kevin Pietersen.”

3. Pietersen created quite a stir with his switch-hit when, during a One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand, he changed his footing several times and pulled the ball through the off-side. This continues to divide opinion, but it hasn’t stopped Pietersen from continuing to play the shot.  

4.  This was a doozy. Peter Moores took over as England coach in 2007 and Pietersen was given the captaincy in 2008, after Michael Vaughan’s withdrawal. He was off to a good start after winning one test against South Africa at The Oval and all 4 ODIs 4-0 but humiliating tour defeats against the Windies and the Indies were laid at his door for his controversial captaincy style.  Before the year was out, the differences between Pietersen and Moores were evident as the former declared that he couldn’t work with the coach.

As a result, Moores was axed, but Pietersen too lost his captaincy. The ECB stated that he had resigned, although Pietersen didn’t exactly remember putting his papers.  This was the shortest reign as captain in English cricketing history.  

5. When England played Pakistan at home in 2010, Pietersen was left out of the ODI side and he expressed his disgust with an explicit tweet. The tweet was deleted, but not before it was noticed by the world and the England management.

6. During the England-West Indies Test series in 2012, Pietersen set his sights on former England player Nick Knight, tweeting, “Can somebody please tell me how Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Tests? Ridiculous.” As a result, the ECB fined him for his outburst. The amount was never revealed.

7. On June 1, 2012, the world was stunned when Pietersen called time on his ODI career when he opted for the lucrative IPL instead, leaving the ECB stunned.

8. In a test series against South Africa, England’s chances weren’t helped by Pietersen sending texts to some of the South Africans, with helpful hints as to how to bowl out Captain Andrew Strauss as well as derogatory remarks concerning Coach Andy Flower. As a result, Pietersen was immediately removed from the test team.

9. In the Ashes 2013-14 a silent war brewing between Pietersen and Flower. It was reported that Flower told the ECB it was him or KP.  Initially, Flower was backed by the board, but he then quit in early February 2014. Pietersen’s future seemed more secure, but then came the final blow on February 4 as the ECB decided that they have to move on and communicated their decision to the batsman and the world.

But it’s said that revenge is a dish best served cold and how sweet that must have tasted to newly-appointed Director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss this week whose first major decision was to advise KP that he would not be playing for England this season, despite the batsman having given up his IPL contract and returned to county cricket to try and prove he deserved a place on the team and despite the fact that this came on top of his unbeaten 326 for Surrey in a match this week against Leicestershire.  

His England career now seems over once and for all, finishing with a bang and a self-pitying whimper as KP took to social media again to garner sympathy.  There are those in the cricketing fraternity who believe he deserves a little.  He was a big star with a big ego and some believe it was the job of management to manage him better. 

The counter to that is how do you control a loose cannon who goes off at odd moments in unexpected places – you might just as well blame meteorologists for tsunamis and earthquakes. And anyway, he’s down but hardly out, with lucrative contracts in the Caribbean Premier League, a return to the IPL and potential other T-20 contracts. 

So the world has not heard the last of Kevin Pietersen yet and I suspect that even when he finally retires to that great cricket pitch in the sky there’ll still be messages from beyond the grave of a less than angelic nature.  
STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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