Pietersen shock at phone sacking

Deposed captain reveals how England's cricket chiefs 'accepted resignation' after he sent them plans for future
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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen is claiming he was sacked as England captain. Although he officially resigned from the job last Wednesday, he has told the newspaper for whom he writes a column that he was dumped by the England and Wales Cricket Board while on holiday.

"My phone rang, it was Hugh Morris [England's managing director]. He said he had had an emergency board meeting and they had accepted my resignation. I said: 'Excuse me?' They said: 'We've accepted your resignation.' I said, on what basis has it been accepted. They had no answer. Next I received an email saying 'Your resignation is of immediate effect'."

He makes his comments in today's News of the World. He was in South Africa when the storm broke over his rift with England's coach Peter Moores, who was sacked on the same day that Pietersen was said to have resigned.

Pietersen claims he had numerous meetings with Morris and the ECB's chief executive David Collier and says that during the final Test of the India tour before Christmas he was asked by them to prepare "a full strategy on how we wanted to work, how the structure should be. It was them who asked me to do that". He sent them an email on New Year's Eve. "I said that I can't lead this team forward and take it to the West Indies if Peter Moores is coach. I did say that, yes."

One bone of contention is that he did not know the Board intended to sack Moores. "I wasn't told in the telephone conversation or the email that Peter Moores wasn't coach. I only found out the following afternoon and I thought, 'What is going on?'. I still don't understand why it happened like that. I was surprised because after that phone call I thought Moores was still in the job, with them taking my resignation because of the strategy I had drawn up and my conclusion [that he could not work with Moores]."

The subject of a change of coach had already arisen. "I was hand in hand with the ECB. I followed every one of their instructions. We had mentioned a few names as a possible new coach. Yes, we had spoken about names."

Despite speculation that he did not have the support of the dressing room, Pietersen also says he had spoken to fellow players Andrew Flintoff, new captain Andrew Strauss, Stephen Harmison and Paul Collingwood, "and they all – 100 per cent, I promise you categorically – said to me, 'Do not leave, please, as England captain'."

The explosive nature of Pietersen's comments will certainly prolong the disruption in the England squad and test the ability of Strauss to bring harmony to the dressing room.