Reacts to criticism of South Africa's selection policies

Graeme Smith slams Pietersen

Cricinfo staff

September 2, 2006

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Smith: 'If he [Pietersen] had kept his mouth shut he would have had far fewer people angry at him and he would have taken far less flak from the crowds' © Getty Images
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Graeme Smith, the South African captain, has slammed Kevin Pietersen for criticising South Africa's selection policies and blaming them for his move to England.

"I'm patriotic about my country, and that's why I don't like Kevin Pietersen," Smith told Super Cricket. "The only reason that Kevin and I have never had a relationship is because he slated South Africa. It was his decision to leave and that's fine, but why does he spend so much time slating our country?"

In an exclusive extract from his new book Crossing The Boundary, being serialised in the Daily Mail, Pietersen said that he was left out of the Natal side in 2000 because of the prevalent quota policy. "The system is bullshit," Pietersen wrote. "It created an artificial team and that will never do anything to encourage the racial integration of cricket in South Africa." He said that he and his father tried to reason with Phil Russell, Natal's coach, but got nowhere.

Pietersen called Smith, who had made "snide comments" during England's tour of South Africa in 2004-05, an "absolute muppet". He added that the angry reception he got had upset his parents. "They knew I would get some stick, but didn't expect it to be that bad. Neither did I."

However, Smith said that it was Pietersen's own fault. "If he had kept his mouth shut he would have had far fewer people angry at him and he would have taken far less flak from the crowds. Wait until he gets to Australia, the abuse will be far worse there."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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