Kevin Pietersen strongly rejects being 'uninterested' in Ashes debacle

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The Independent Online

England's new era seems to be in full swing following Thursday's emphatic win over Sri Lanka but the spectre of Kevin Pietersen still lingers.

The discarded batsman has hit back in a strongly worded statement in response to accusations from the managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton, who said in an interview during Thursday's one-day international that Pietersen was "uninterested" during the Ashes and the rest of the squad did not want him in the side.

Pietersen said: "The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue.

"I was fully motivated to play for England and whilst I accept that the series as a whole fell well below my own personal standards, I finished the series as the top scorer. I did, and continue to have a good relationship with most of the England players."

Downton admitted his frustration that Pietersen was displaying a "this is the way I play" attitude, to which the batsman responded: "I feel it's only reasonable to remind Mr Downton that this method has brought me over 13,500 runs for England."

Back in the present, the form of Chris Jordan and Harry Gurney against Sri Lanka was pleasing. And as the series continues tomorrow at Chester-le-Street, the former professed not to have thought of a place in the side for the upcoming Tests, but he was plainly aware that he and Gurney have made telling contributions of which the selectors will have taken due note.

"There are a couple of places up for grabs at the minute and there is good competition as well," said Jordan. "I do see myself as hopefully taking on one of those places and I'm sure Harry does as well."

Jordan is probably ahead but Gurney is desirable simply because left-arm bowlers have their own special kudos. The match in the far north will continue to tell more.

Durham teams: The second ODI

England (possible): A N Cook (capt), I R Bell, JE Root, G S Ballance, E J G Morgan, J C Buttler (wk), R S Bopara, C J Jordan, J C Tredwell, H F Gurney, J M Anderson

Sri Lanka (possible): T M Dilshan, K C Sangakkara (wk), D P M D Jayawardene, L D Chandimal, H D R L Thirimanne, A D Mathews (capt), K M D N Kulasekara, N L T C Perera, S M S M Senanayake, R A S Lakmal, S L Malinga