Pietersen insists he is England's lionheart

Ex-captain takes on critics with passionate avowal of dedication to the cause

With the three lions tattoo and his emotions on show, Kevin Pietersen confronted his doubters yesterday. It was not the first time, it will not be the last but it made for riveting theatre, a one-man show of boldness and spirit.

"There are no traumas at all, I am 100 per cent committed to England as much as when I was captain, as much as before I was captain," he said. "I knew that there was never going to be a problem on this trip because I love playing for England and I am so committed to playing for England."

If he said it once, he said it a dozen times over the course of 15 minutes. Kevin Pietersen wants to play for England. Anywhere, anytime. It had been another tumultuous three days in his England career.

During an interview last week he had used the unfortunate phrase that he was at the "end of his tether" on this England tour of the Caribbean after which it emerged that he had requested to go home for two days. When he pulled up with a back spasm in the fourth one-day international on Sunday – in which England pulled level in the series – there were many who doubted he would play in the deciding match on Friday. But that is to underestimate his strength of character.

"Maybe I was a bit too honest with stuff, but the honesty came from frustration on two parts," he said. "I was captain in the first half of the winter and that didn't go according to plan. Coming into last week, the only game we'd won on tour was because of that little mathematical error on the West Indies' part. To have gone through since the end of last August last winter without winning a game really, really is frustrating.

"The second point is that it's the longest time I've ever gone without seeing my wife. That's playing on me. I will not be without her for 11 weeks ever again, we've decided that."

His wife, Jessica, was unable to come to the West Indies because she was taking part in the television show Dancing On Ice.

"What never came out is how desperate I am to win, and win games for England. Me saying at the end of my tether last week was not a case of me wanting to leave the shores. I love playing for England, it's a dream come true to play for England and I realise that every day. I cherish it and love pulling those three lions on every time."

If it was not a mea culpa it was a majestic performance of illegitimi non carborundum. Nothing was quite his fault and he was not going to let the bastards grind him down. He denied still being affected by the loss of the captaincy in January, when he and the coach Peter Moores were both deposed because of the irretrievable breakdown in their relationship, but conceded that his South African background would continue to sway opinions about him.

"My relationship with the players is absolutely 100 per cent fine," he said. "I haven't even had a hint of an argument, everything has been perfect. I am going to have to live with the South African thing for my whole career. I lived with that on Friday when we played a poor game of cricket and I got some comments about South Africa, South Africa, South Africa. I deal with that on a daily basis and that's just the way it is, unfortunately."

Pietersen wants to be loved and maybe, given all the runs he has scored for England, he deserves more affection than he is given. If there was general astonishment among his colleagues yesterday that he had agreed to bare his soul publicly, it was typical of the man.

But only a few days after arriving at the home he has missed so much, Pietersen will be off again to play for Bangalore Royals in the Indian Premier League in South Africa. He could not quite see that this might cause some to suggest that home did not count so much when money (perhaps £350,000) is at stake. "It's not a case of playing cricket for money. Everyone has this money tag attached to it, quite rightly so, but I am going to South Africa to learn. The reason why India have taken cricket to a new level is because of how they played Twenty20 and how the IPL has improved so many of their players. I want to improve, be the best player I possibly can be."

After scans on his back in Barbados, Pietersen will be fit for the match on Friday. That is two days away and two days is a long time in the life of Kevin Pietersen. Anything can happen and probably will.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker