ECB Chief Paul Downton has apologised for calling Kevin Pietersen “disinterested” and accusing him of having “too many agendas” during the Ashes.
The fall-out from the Australia tour – which England lost 5-0 – does not look like it is going to end any time soon. Crucially though, Downton stopped short of apologising for what he actually said, only that it was in breach of the confidentiality agreement thrashed out by the ECB and Pietersen upon the batsman’s departure from international cricket.
Evidently, Downton has not changed his views on KP’s attitude, which was called into question despite the Surrey player being England’s top-scorer Down Under.
However, the ECB insist the terms of the agreement will be abided by in the future.
Downton has been on the end of a backlash from disgruntled England fans, many of whom are bemused at how a wicket-keeper who delivered fairly little for the Three Lions is now representative of the highest board in the country.
A number of high-profile former team mates have come out in support of Pietersen, including former England bowler and Ashes winner Simon Jones.
Hampshire’s Michael Carberry, meanwhile, has blamed England’s coaching staff for the mishaps in Australia and insisted Pietersen was amongst the most helpful stars to incoming players.
The apology appears to be a response to Pietersen’s own recent comments, in which he refuted the accusations made against him by Downton, labelling them “wholly untrue."
The real frustration for England head coach Peter Moores will be that once again, the talking points surrounding his side are off the field, while an excellent performance against Sri Lanka – in which they bowled out the visitors for 67 – is being forgotten amidst the conflict.
It is becoming increasingly impossible for Moores to bury the perennial rubble he inherited from predecessor Andy Flower, which threatens to rear its head again and again.
The ECB have at least made a fair attempt at concealing the apology, which was issued at around 10 pm on Friday night, perhaps in the hope that the cricket world would all be asleep. There was also a delay in releasing the statement to news channels.
If Downton hopes that will be the end of the matter, then he clearly understands little about the workings of Kevin Pietersen. Back in England after captaining the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, Pietersen is now attracting attention as he prepares to make his comeback for Surrey, and that can only be to the ECB’s detriment.
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