New ECB chairman Colin Graves said on Friday he did not mislead Kevin Pietersen, stating that he did not give the 34-year-old any guarantees about a recall to the England team.
Graves suggested in March that the batsman, sacked by England in 2014, could return with good county form, but new ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss said he would not be selected due to ‘trust’ issues, with Pietersen describing the decision as ‘deceitful’.
‘Kevin was told on Monday and I completely support the decision that was taken,’ said Graves. ‘He may not have liked what he heard but it allowed him to look at his opportunities.
‘Despite everything, he can work with us to rebuild the relationship and make a further contribution to English cricket. It was important he knew where he stood.’
In a statement, Graves also said he felt motivated to release the statement because ‘his integrity has been called into question’.
In a conversation in March, Pietersen reportedly asked him if he ‘thought his England career had ended in the right manner’. Graves agreed ‘that nobody particularly emerged with much credit, particularly given his achievements for England’.
Pietersen then told him he ‘felt he had a lot to offer’ and that ‘he wanted to contribute, whether as a player or not’.
Strauss offered Pietersen a role as an adviser on a board to improve the one-day side, which was turned down.
In Pietersen’s column for the Telegraph after he learnt of his omission, he said ‘I’m afraid, as everyone can clearly see, this is the biggest load of rubbish. I had two phone conversations with Colin Graves and he was crystal clear in saying I had to get a county, score runs and that there was a clean slate. He said that when he comes in as chairman he wants the best players playing for England.’
Pietersen’s omission has divided opinion, particularly after he scored an unbeaten 355 for Surrey against Leicestershire earlier this week.
‘I feel sorry for him,’ said England all-rounder Chris Woakes on BBC Radio 5 Live. ‘By the sounds of things, he desperately wanted to play for England again. By the looks of it, that’s not going to be the case. Many England fans would have wanted to see him play again. Others may not have done. I feel sorry for him but at the same time, we’ve got to concentrate on moving forward. It’s a busy, important summer.’
According to former England teammate Ian Bell, Pietersen was the best batsman he had played with, and was right to feel aggrieved. Bell said there were no problems between Pietersen and other England players, and that he ‘did not know’ whether there had been disputes ‘behind closed doors’.
Source: BBC Sport
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