Pietersen texted me about England job, says Warne

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The Independent Online

Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has laughed off speculation that he could be England's next coach but admitted he had received a tongue-in-cheek approach from former captain Kevin Pietersen.

The 39-year-old said he had not taken Pietersen's approach via text message seriously and turned it down.

"Yes, KP dipped his toe in the water jokingly," Warne told The Times.

Warne, who captained Pietersen at Hampshire, said that Pietersen should have been given more support by players and selectors.

"The balance between captain and coach should be simple; the captain runs the show and the coach is there in the background," said Warne, who retired from international cricket two years ago after taking 708 wickets in 145 tests.

With English cricket reeling from this week's resignation of Pietersen and the sacking of coach Peter Moores, Warne though was quick to distance himself from the situation.

"I could not give a full-time position the time required to do the job properly. In any case, following a team around the world is what I have given up. If that is what I wanted, I would still be a player," he told The Times. "But - and we all have this "but" in life - if an offer comes that sounds too good to be true, I would have to stop and think."

Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Mail today, Monty Panesar admitted England felt "flat" under Kevin Pietersen during their Test series defeat in India - but dismissed any suggestion that damaging cliques have evolved in the squad.

Panesar sensed from afar that "something was wrong" with Pietersen's England in the one-day series, which they were losing 5-0 when it was cut short because of the Mumbai terror attacks.

But it was not until he joined the squad for the first time since last summer, for a two-match Test series just before Christmas, that the slow left-armer knew for sure the atmosphere had changed.

"When we won the Test against South Africa at The Oval, which was Kevin Pietersen's debut as captain, everything was very upbeat and positive," Panesar recalled. "But when I came back into the Test team out in India, something had changed. It felt like something was missing.

"There just wasn't the same buzz or vibe around. It felt flat compared to the atmosphere during that Oval match. We just didn't feel as together or connected in India."

Pietersen's subsequent resignation has been accompanied by revelations about the disintegration of his relationship with coach Peter Moores, who himself has been sacked.

It has also been reported that Pietersen did not have the support he anticipated from his team-mates when the England and Wales Cricket Board sounded them out, as his stand-off with Moores reached crisis point.

Concerns are being aired that new captain Andrew Strauss may therefore have to quell the threat of a clique culture within his squad as he seeks to rehabilitate Pietersen in the ranks on the tour of the West Indies over the next three months.

Panesar, however, simply does not recognise that description of the England dressing room: "Of course there are various groups, but it would be wrong to call them factions or cliques. If there were cliques they would have come out by now. Everyone has their own group of friends, but the word 'cliques' suggests we can't work as a united team - and we can."

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