I’m absolutely ‘baffled’ by the ECB’s decision to axe Pietersen, says Graeme Swann

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“I’m sure every cricket fan would like to know more details because Kevin is the player more than any other who puts bums on seats”

England spinner Graeme Swann, who recently announced his retirement from international cricket, has admitted that he is absolutely “baffled” by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to axe batsman Kevin Pietersen from their future plans.

Swann revealed that he was not a member of Pietersen’s “fan club” when the flamboyant batsman allegedly sent derogatory text messages about former captain Andrew Strauss and ex-head coach Andy Flower to the South African team in July 2012.

However, following Pietersen’s ‘reintegration’ into the national team, Swann conceded that he immediately noticed a change in Pietersen’s attitude.

“I’ll be honest about Kevin Pietersen – myself and several other England players were not exactly members of his fan club during the Textgate scandal of 2012,” Swann wrote in his column for The Sun. “But I changed my opinion of him once he was reintegrated back into the England team towards the end of that year.

“He made a huge effort to improve his attitude around the dressing room. I saw or heard no issues with him in Australia this winter, his approach was exceptional.

“That’s why I was baffled on Tuesday when he was effectively sacked as an England player.

“Looking back, I could understand if Kevin’s career with England had finished after Textgate. But to go through the reintegration process and then, just 15 months later, discard him for good seems very strange.

“Clearly, Kevin must have upset people enough for the England hierarchy to decide he is no longer wanted. Don’t forget we’re not talking about a middling player here – we’re talking about a batsman of sublime talent.

“As I say, I saw nothing while I was on the Ashes tour. His approach was spot-on.

“Until the powers that be shed some light on the situation we are left only with conjecture and rumour.

“I’m sure every cricket fan would like to know more details because Kevin is the player more than any other who puts bums on seats.

“Let’s hear the truth so all the speculation disappears.”

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