In what amounts to a rapprochement of sorts Stuart Broad claimed on Sunday that Kevin Pietersen’s abrupt sacking from the England set-up a year ago was over the top and should have been dealt with differently.
Broad came in for some heavy criticism from the pen of Pietersen, who claimed in his autobiography last autumn that the fast bowler was a prime mover in a bullying culture within the England dressing room.
Broad was also implicated in the parody Twitter account, allegedly initiated by members of the England team, that left Pietersen “completely broken, absolutely finished, mentally shot”.
Ahead of England’s opening World Cup warm-up match in Australia, Broad told BBC Sportsweek: “It just became a bit of a media uproar, the whole sacking, it just seemed a bit unnecessary when every other player in the history of the game just gets dropped for poor form.
“His form was pretty poor over 18 months, every other player just gets dropped. Obviously Kevin’s very disappointed with that and every player should be disappointed if you’re not going to represent your country again. It could’ve been handled very differently, I think, by everyone.”
Pietersen might have lined up against his old team-mates this week had his cheeky offer via Twitter to captain the Australian Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra on Wednesday been accepted following the withdrawal of Mike Hussey through injury.
Though Pietersen has not given up hope of representing England again, Broad thinks that unlikely, especially in the Test arena where, he points out, they have coped well without him.
“He’s not played any red-ball cricket for a year so I don’t think a return in Test matches is very likely and he’s not set the world alight in the white-ball format either,” Broad said. “The three Test matches we won in the summer against India were probably the strongest performances I’ve played in, in the 74 Tests I’ve played, and they were without Kevin Pietersen. The guys who have come in – Joe Root, Gary Ballance – have been the shining lights of the England team.
“When you lose a great player, younger guys come in and perform, so actually if Kevin Pietersen was still in the side, would Joe Root have taken the responsibility on this summer and averaged 99? Probably not, but he became the shining light of the England batting line-up.”
England’s World Cup preparations began overnight against an ACT XI. Next up is the Prime Minister’s XI at the Manuka Oval. The idea that Pietersen might have been in the opposition was not one taken seriously by captain Eoin Morgan, who took over from the axed Alastair Cook last month.
“It’s a hugely prestigious game, for the Prime Minister’s XI. To give an opportunity to somebody who is not Australian is pretty ambitious,” Morgan said in his first media conference as captain.
“When sides tour England and we put out Lions teams we give opportunities to our youngest and best. I don’t think it would have spiced up the game at all. It doesn’t really bother me.”
Pietersen put his name forward while chatting to commentators during a Melbourne Stars Big Bash fixture on Saturday, declaring himself “always available”. He then tweeted his desire to play against England in a post directed to the Australia premier and sealed with a kiss, “Dear @TonyAbbottMHR – I’m available x” it said. However, Abbott went with the straight bat appointing Chris Rogers to replace Hussey.
Meanwhile, injured Australia captain Michael Clarke has been named in his country’s World Cup squad but will be replaced if he cannot prove his recovery from hamstring surgery by the second group game.Reuse content