Kevin Pietersen last night spoke of his hurt and disappointment in the way in which he has been portrayed since resigning as England captain.
Pietersen stood down as captain on Thursday because he could not form a constructive working relationship with Peter Moores, the England coach. Believing he had the support of the England dressing room behind him, Pietersen offered the ECB a "back me or sack me" ultimatum, but in subsequent conversations between the England and Wales Cricket Board and senior players he does not appear to have been given the backing he expected. The revelations led one national newspaper to describe Pietersen as "the most hated man in cricket".
"I'm not angry with anybody, I'm just a bit let down by the character assassination which has happened since I got back in the country," Pietersen told Sky News. "I didn't think it was going to be this bad, especially before anyone had heard my side of the story. I didn't feel I had done anything wrong.
"It has been a really, really dark week but I am coming out the other end. It has been hard and horrible, and it has been hurtful and disappointing. What has been written and said has definitely hurt me. If people wanted to hurt me, they have achieved that. It has been disappointing because it has also hurt my family and friends. I know that I am not a bad bloke.
"Everybody likes to be liked. I know that I am liked and that I have been portrayed in another way. I also know that the media like to kick someone when they are down. I have seen it happen to a lot of people and unfortunately it has been me this week."
Pietersen was asked whether he felt that the events of the past week would affect his confidence and the way in which he plays cricket. "I don't think I will tone things down," he said. "I have been going OK doing what I have done.
"On the cricket field I still believe in myself. I will do anything to win. I will always try my best and I will never give up. I have a never-say-die attitude. But a lot of what has happened this week has been really, really harsh. My whole life has been scrutinised.
"I am looking forward to the freedom I have when I get on a cricket field with a cricket bat in my hand. I wish I could do that now. It is now a case of me going out and doing my business, doing something I absolutely love, which is batting for England, and getting back on track," Pietersen declared.