Whitaker refuses to break silence on why Pietersen was axed

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“That is a legal position and at the moment I am not at liberty to say”

England national selector James Whitaker has refused to break his silence on the why batsman Kevin Pietersen was no longer needed in the national team’s future plans during an exclusive interview with Sky Sports.

 The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) no longer have an interest in Pietersen following the national team’s disastrous tour of Australia.

“That is a legal position and at the moment I am not at liberty to say,” Whitaker said. “But what I can say is that there is a group of players there looking forward to re-energising this team, going forward with different values and re-evaluating the culture of the team.

“It will start in the West Indies and I have every confidence in the players and the management group that takes the team to the West Indies that it will happen.

“Any team has certain values – sometimes written down, sometimes they are just forms of communication – that good teams adhere to and that good teams will carry forward with them, and England over the past four or five years have shown these values.

“Over time they can dissipate a little bit but now we believe is the right time to re-write those values and whoever is involved in the management group and the players will do that.

“They will continue to communicate it and I believe it starts from smart work; it starts from winning back the country’s perception of what the cricket team is about.

“We want to see a pride back in the cricket and I believe that the players we select will show that to the country. I believe that performances can get better.

“Sometimes when performances go against us you have to re-evaluate what is going on. No one is really privy to what goes on within the intricacies of a team working, but we have to review various conversations with people and make decisions.”

Despite the absence of Pietersen, Whitaker remains confident that England’s World Twenty20 squad have a good chance of doing well in the tournament, which gets gets underway next month in Bangladesh.

“We would always review our options of players available to play for England,” he said. “I am happy we have selected a really good group of players that can help us perform well in the West Indies and Bangladesh.

“The ODI team and the England T20 team has played a number of matches over the last 12 months or so without Kevin, and on occasions performed very well, so we would hope that that’s still going to be the case going forward.

“Yes, while it is a surprise going into an ICC competition without one of our leading run scorers, the players and the management group are well rehearsed in coping without him.

“So yes in a way it was a tricky decision but in another way it gives opportunities for players to play in that environment and excel in it.”

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