Kevin Pietersen believes he was a popular figure in England’s dressing room, despite speculation stating otherwise.
The destructive batsman was overlooked for February’s tour of the West Indies and appears to have played his final international match after learning he would not be picked following the Ashes embarrassment in Australia.
In the aftermath of Pietersen’s omission, Sussex wicketkeeper Matt Prior said the atmosphere would be better without the 33-year-old.
England’s record run-scorer dismissed this point of view when he spoke to the Indian Times, however.
"Contrary to popular belief, I have a very good relationship with most of the guys in the English dressing room,” Pietersen said.
He often speaks with Jos Buttler and Ravi Bopara on Twitter and wished them luck during England’s ill-fated World T20 tournament. Other relationships are rumoured to be less harmonious.
It is public knowledge he had his differences with Graeme Swann after the spinner questioned the decision to make Pietersen captain in 2008, and Prior's recent comments would not have been welcomed.
Although his treatment by the ECB will have hurt Pietersen, he should remember his fabulous debut Test series against Australia, 2010 World T20 success and being a key part of England’s first Test No.1 ranked team.
Now, Surrey and various franchises will be the recipients of his entertaining style, whereas England look to rebuild after a horrendous winter.
Refusing to select Pietersen is a major risk to England recovering.
Despite being on the receiving end of two Ashes whitewashes, the Delhi Daredevils skipper was his adopted nation's highest run-scorer in both dreadful tours down under.
In difficult times, Pietersen was England's best performer with the bat. Popularity divides opinion. Statistics do not.
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