Pietersen still has a strong desire to represent England in the future
England batsman Kevin Pietersen has hinted that he may have played his last Test match for his country after admitting that there have been some ongoing disputes with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and with some of his team-mates.
Pietersen has been rattled by the hectic schedule England have ahead of them, but refused to say whether his international career was over after being dropped from the team for the final Test against South Africa at Lord’s.
The England batsman also expressed his anger at the fact that private conversations between him and the ECB had been leaked to the press.
With England needing to win the final Test at Lord’s in order to retain their world number one Test team ranking, the decision to drop Pietersen has received mixed reviews from cricket pundits and the England fans.
Speaking to the press after the second Test at Headingley, Pietersen said: “I can’t give any assurances that the next Test won’t be my last, I’d like to carry on but there are obstacles that need to be worked out. There are other points I’m trying to sort out in the dressing room. It would be a huge shame. I love playing Test cricket for England, but we’ll see. For me, the saddest part about all this is that the spectators just love watching me play and I love playing for England.”
Pietersen confirmed that some of the other “obstacles” were about wanting to play a full season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), spending more time with family and being part of the Twenty20 squad that will represent England at the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka next month.
When asked whether the problem he had with the ECB was about money, Pietersen said: “It’s absolutely 100% not about money, this is not a money issue. The politics is what I have to deal with personally. It’s tough being me playing for England. This is not a money issue. The politics is what I have to deal with personally. It’s tough being me playing for England.”
Pietersen further stated that he was extremely concerned about how his private conversations were being leaked to the media, which also occurred when he was sacked as captain in 2008 due to his own worries about the then England coach Peter Moores.
“It was blamed on me that before this Test series I was grabbing the headlines, did I leak anything to the media about the meetings I was having with the ECB? I never spoke to the media for one single second and it was me grabbing the headlines and journalists talking about me grabbing the headlines. I never spoke a single word to a single journalist about anything that happened behind closed doors that I thought were closed doors. So you guys are always going to speculate and make me out to be the bad guy. No problem,” Pietersen said.
As if all these problems were enough, Pietersen also has to deal with the new annual contracts being given out next month, and decide whether he wants to play for England again or not.
Pietersen retired from limited overs cricket in May due to a reluctance to play in ODI cricket, which he called “dull” and also because of the hectic schedule England have for the upcoming season.
However, Pietersen mentioned that he may consider making a comeback to limited overs cricket if the ECB allowed him to miss two Test matches against New Zealand next year in order to play a full season of the IPL.
Pietersen expressed his desire to continue representing his country, but the ECB will not tolerate any player picking and choosing whichever game they feel like playing.
England Test captain Andrew Strauss noted that even though many members of the team had been distracted by Pietersen’s removal, their top priority will be to concentrate on winning the third Test match against South Africa in order to keep England in first place on the ICC Test team rankings.
“One thing I will say, and it is important to stress this, is that the Team unity that we have had over the last three years has been outstanding, it is something we all pride ourselves on, always have done and will continue to do so going forward. I hope the Kevin issue isn’t going to be a distraction. The truth is we want as few distractions as possible in making sure we win this third Test match. I’m not here to talk about Kevin Pietersen. It is not something I want to talk about at this stage,” Strauss said.