Cricket

ECB chief explains KP exit

2014-05-22 20:38
Kevin Pietersen (Getty Images)

London - England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton gave his most detailed explanation yet on Thursday for the controversial decision to end the international career of the "frustrating" Kevin Pietersen.

The South Africa-born batsman, England's leading run scorer across all formats, was sensationally axed from the national set-up following the team's 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.

During a Lord's news conference on April 19 where Peter Moores was unveiled as England coach after Andy Flower stood down following the Ashes debacle, Downton said there was "no going back" for the "disconnected" Pietersen and that it was time for everyone involved in English cricket to get behind captain Alastair Cook.

Former England wicketkeeper Downton gave a more detailed explanation for his decision to ditch the 33-year-old Pietersen in an interview with BBC Radio's Test Match Special on Thursday.

"One of the huge issues after Australia was 'what are we going to do about Kevin?', Downton said of a series where Pietersen was England's leading scorer, albeit with just 294 runs at 29.4.

"I watched every ball of the Sydney Test live, and I've never seen anyone as disinterested or distracted as Kevin; it looked very strange," he added.

- 'Not focused' -

"I talked to every person on the management team and quite a few senior players, and I couldn't find one supporter who wanted Kevin to stay in the side.

"There was a significant amount of frustration in terms of his attitude, 'are you really fighting it out?'

"The accusations were that Kevin had too many agendas and wasn't 100 percent focused on playing for England.

"I'm not saying everything that happened in Australia was down to Kevin.

"There is no smoking gun; this was in the best interests of English cricket.

"We'd just lost 5-0 with Kevin in the side. Are you going to back Cook and Ian Bell to be the backbone of that side, or are you going to back Kevin?

"There was a strong feeling in the dressing-room that we weren't going to grow as a side until we addressed that," Downton insisted.

Pietersen was briefly exiled from the England team when, after making a match saving century against South Africa in the 2012 Headingley Test, it emerged he'd sent "provocative" texts allegedly critical of Strauss to Proteas players.

But Pietersen -- still on the books at Surrey and currently captaining Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League -- was soon back in the fold when Cook took over the captaincy following Strauss's retirement.

"It lasted 18 months, and now we've decided on a split," said Downton.

"We went to Kevin and said we weren't going to pick him for the World Twenty20 (in Bangladesh this year) and it was clear from then that he wanted to reach a settlement on his central contract, as we couldn't offer him any guarantees on the summer -- we would have been happy to let the contract run out.

"He wanted freedom to play where he wanted to play, and won a very big (IPL) contract because of that."

But former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott, said Pietersen would still be playing international cricket if he was under a better 'man-manager' as England captain.

"Would Kevin Pietersen still be playing Test cricket if Michael Vaughan, Mike Brearley or Raymond Illingworth was captaining the side?," Boycott said.

"My answer is categorically, 10 out of 10, yes."

Read more on:    ecb  |  kevin pietersen  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

South African woman learns to surf at aged 70

Anthea Petzer just wants to learn how to stand on her yellow Australian surfboard and carve up the waves.

 
 

Outdoor

Extreme Kiteboarding in Pumping Conditions!
The Arctic becomes an unlikely surfing hotspot
A romantic holiday to beat the winter blues
Why should you do a 5k?
 
 
/News
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

SuperBru Super Rugby challenge

Enter and challenge Sport24's staff!

Featured

As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Should Proteas coach Russell Domingo stay - or go - as national coach?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.