While most people would probably lament being dropped from an international sporting team, Kevin Pietersen appears to have a distinctly different point of view of his England exile.
The 33-year-old – who played his last Test match during England’s humiliating Ashes trip earlier this year – has revealed that he was actually relieved to have been afford an escape from the national side’s dressing room.
Relayed by Sky Sports, Pietersen took to his column in the Daily Telegraph to explain his reasons for feeling so free now that he has departed the international stage.
He wrote: “It has been a relief to be out of the dressing room because it was not a pleasant place in Australia.
“We were losing and in my opinion the environment was poor and I was not alone in thinking that. It is a view shared by a number of the players who have spoken their minds since coming back from the tour.”
Pietersen played his 104th Test match for England against Australia at the SCG, back in January. He has amassed 8181 runs at an average of 47 in that time.
Many feel that he is England’s best batsman, and that there could be some teething issues trying to adapt to life without the big hitter.
Instead of playing internationally, Pietersen is now concerning himself with three separate club sides. Earlier this year he captained Delhi Daredevils to a last-placed finish in the IPL.
Now he is currently playing for Surrey, before he represents St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League later this summer.
The Kia Oval-based batsman was also critical of England’s currently selected squad, which is due to take on Sri Lanka at Lord’s this week. KP was especially damning about the omissions of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler from the side.
Pietersen added: “I don’t understand why Ben Stokes isn’t playing… he strikes me as one of those players who can rise to the occasion.
“I find it unbelievable that we have started the summer with Buttler not an automatic choice for England’s Test side.”
The South African-born cricketer reportedly had a strained relationship with some of his teammates down under, but Pietersen has denied there being any bad blood.
He added: “I have no issue with the players, as many have said in interviews since the tour ended. I speak to Stuart Broad and I even organised for Graeme Swann to go on holiday to one of my friend’s hotels after he retired.”
So there may not be any malcontent between the explosive batsman and former England players, but the Delhi Daredevils captain feels that his relationship with Ashley Giles prevented the former spinner from getting permanent control of the national side.
The pair were both members of England’s heroic 2005 Ashes triumph, and Pietersen believes that their strong friendship was enough for the left-arm bowler to be ruled out of the running.
“Sadly I think he was just too close to me for the England and Wales Cricket Board’s liking. That is the problem. He had spoken too positively about me in Australia for the ECB to give him the job. It is a shame for both sides,” added Pietersen.
Instead of opting for Giles, the ECB decided to appoint Peter Moores as England Head Coach for a second time. The former Lancashire man takes charge of the first Test since his re-appointment this week, when England play Sri Lanka at Lord’s.
Meanwhile, Pietersen will continue his return to British shores, performing for Surrey in the Natwest T20 Blast before jetting off to another limited-overs competition – and payday – on the white sands of St Lucia.
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