Kevin Pietersen’s XI aimed at fans impatient for England revival

Pietersen paid the price for England's failings Down Under and while he admits he is 'grateful' for his England career, he is pleased to have left the international fold

In breaking his silence on Monday, Kevin Pietersen seemed to want to have it all his own way. Perhaps it embodied his international career.

On the one hand he said the England dressing room in Australia last winter was not a pleasant place. On the other he said his relationship with the other England players was fine and it was an incredible tour on and off the field.

There were moments during his first lengthy public comments since his sacking when it appeared he was breaching the confidentiality clauses agreed by lawyers. He has already won an apology from the England and Wales Cricket Board for comments made by Paul Downton, the managing director, criticising Pietersen’s attitude in Australia. They might have been true but they were not permitted under the agreement.

The ECB steadfastly declined to become embroiled in any public spat with its former employee yesterday. It recognised no good could come of it but the ECB had better brace itself for much more to come throughout the summer.

 

Pietersen made his comments in his inaugural column for The Daily Telegraph. His verdict on the ill-fated Ashes tour aside – and he did not attempt to justify his alleged lack of interest in proceedings, to which Downton had alluded – his comments could hardly have been made at a more uncomfortable time for England.

Three days before they launch their new Test team without him he also told the selectors precisely where they were going wrong and what team they should have picked for the opening match of the series against Sri Lanka, starting at Lord’s on Thursday. There were four changes in Pietersen’s team from the one the selectors have opted for and he is likely to have abundant public support.

He berates the selectors for not picking Lancashire’s Jos Buttler and the Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes in the squad and as the Test match draws closer the decision does not look any the wiser.

Pietersen, hardly a bosom buddy of the recalled wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, is shrewd enough to know that his comments will have a wide currency in the dressing room. The players may say they are not talking about them but they can hardly do anything else, given that Pietersen was so firm in his view.

“I don’t understand why Ben Stokes is not playing at Lord’s this week,” he wrote. “In Australia I saw a genuine star.” Of Buttler he said: “I find it unbelievable that we have started the summer with Buttler not an automatic choice for England’s Test side.”

The truth is that most of the cricket-watching public agree with Pietersen on these issues. Pietersen would also have picked as batsmen Eoin Morgan in the middle order and Somerset’s Nick Compton to open. There is no doubt that Compton has been shabbily treated by England, whatever Sam Robson’s virtues. Pietersen’s strategy would be for a solid start, followed by aggressive batting in the middle. It sounds abundantly sensible.

His intervention so close to the series slightly overshadowed the naming of Ian Bell as England player of the year last night. Bell was chosen largely for his three hundreds in last summer’s Ashes, back when England were still winning.

“We got blindsided by Australia,” Bell said. “We got hit [and were] unaware of where they were as a team. After Australia left our shores they were already on the way up and we were staying exactly where we were, which was dangerous.

“That is the reality. Now we’ve got to do a bit of reacting ourselves and striving forward to get better.”

England must avoid at all costs walking out at Lord’s thinking, like Pietersen, that they have the wrong team.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little