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Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has announced that he believes “there is an underlying current of unhappiness” amongst the players after their 100-run loss to Sri Lanka during the second Test at Headingley.
The 1-0 loss to Sri Lanka is a major setback for England as they are looking to recover and rebuild from their disastrous tour of Australia in November to January.
“England were in winning positions in both matches but blew it, and I believe that is a symptom of the senior players being very unsettled. They are not turning up for the captain or coach,” Pietersen wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “(Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson looked jaded at Headingley. Why? Why was Jimmy so emotional? We have lost a lot of matches in the past but he has never shown such emotion. He has been through tougher times and suffered lower moments but never been in tears before.
“It says to me there is an underlying current of unhappiness. The Australia tour was hard. We were beaten up due to a lot of reasons I cannot go into right now, and some of the senior players are still suffering, with the result that they are struggling to offer leadership in the dressing room.”
Pietersen also expressed his concern at captain Alastair Cook’s captaincy and struggles with the bat.
“Cook’s form will be affecting him,” Pietersen wrote. “I have played with Cooky long enough to know that when that happens he becomes very quiet and introverted. He struggles to handle it. We have all been through it and it does play on your mind.
“Captaining the side without any runs plays on your mind too. I saw in Cook at Headingley the same look Andrew Strauss had when he played his last Test at Lord’s. He was a rabbit in the headlights. It was a shame to see Cooky looking that way.”
However, Pietersen lauded England’s new imports for their performance during the series and added that the national selectors need to draft all-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler into the side.
“It was absolutely fantastic to see Gary Ballance, Sam Robson, Joe Root and Moeen Ali scoring hundreds,” he wrote. “Add Ben Stokes and (Jos) Buttler to the mix and suddenly England will have a team mostly made up of young cricketers without any baggage, taking to Test cricket quickly and being successful.”