England v SA, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day August 6, 2012

Pietersen threatens England exit


Kevin Pietersen could have played his last game for England after conceding that there were deep, perhaps irrepairable, divisions with the ECB and some other members of the England dressing room.

Pietersen, who has been unsettled for some time by the demands of the England schedule, refused to confirm that the final Test of the series against South Africa at Lord's would not be his last and expressed his anger that private conversations between him and officials at the ECB had been leaked to the media.

His comments are sure to be poorly received by those at Lord's and by his England colleagues. With a vital Test looming it is far from impossible that Pietersen could be disciplined or even dropped in an attempt to retain a semblance of team spirit within the England camp.

"I can't give any assurances that the next Test won't be my last," Pietersen said. "I'd like to carry on but there are obstacles that need to be worked out. There are other points I'm trying to sort out in the dressing room.

"It would be a huge shame. I love playing Test cricket for England, but we'll see. For me, the saddest part about all this is that the spectators just love watching me play and I love playing for England."

Pietersen confirmed that some of his issues concerned a desire to play more IPL cricket, a wish to spend more time with his family and his enthusiasm to be included in England's World T20 squad. But he also insisted that there were "a lot of other issues that are more important that are being sorted".

"It's absolutely 100% not about money," he said. "This is not a money issue. The politics is what I have to deal with personally. It's tough being me playing for England.

"There's always speculation. There's speculation every single day. You guys speculate about my life all day every day. I'm going to make some decisions that will make me very happy."

Pietersen's current cause for concern is the leaking of information he regarded as private. Admitting that it revived memories of his sacking as England captain at the end of 2008, when Pietersen believes that his private concerns about the then England coach, Peter Moores, were also leaked to the media, he seemed to suggest that public opinion was being manipulated against him.

"It was blamed on me that before this Test series I was grabbing the headlines," he said. "Did I leak anything to the media about the meetings I was having with the ECB? I never spoke to the media for one single second and it was me grabbing the headlines and journalists talking about me grabbing the headlines. I never spoke a single word to a single journalist about anything that happened behind closed doors that I thought were closed doors. So you guys are always going to speculate and make me out to be the bad guy. No problem."

The catalyst for the latest controversy in a career that has seen more than most - including his dismissal as England captain and his departures from Nottinghamshire and Hampshire - is the prospect of a new round of annual central contracts in September. Pietersen, who effectively retired from international limited-overs cricket in May after expressing a reluctance to make himself available for all ODIs, has also requested that he is allowed to miss the Test series in New Zealand in March in order to play a whole season of IPL.

While he insisted that, in a perfect world, he would like to continue to play for England in all forms of game, his desire to pick and choose his series is most unlikely to be tolerated by the ECB. The ECB, citing the importance of treating all players equally and the dangers of setting a precedent, demands that players are available for all matches if they are to be considered for any.

Andrew Strauss, the England captain, was reluctant to be drawn on Pietersen's words. He did, however, underline the fact that the needs of the team would remain more important than the needs of the individual and that it was vital England were not distracted ahead of a Test that will confirm which is the No. 1 ranked Test side.

"One thing I will say, and it is important to stress this, is that the Team unity that we have had over the last three years has been outstanding," Strauss said. "It is something we all pride ourselves on, always have done and will continue to do so going forward.

"I hope the Kevin issue isn't going to be a distraction. The truth is we want as few distractions as possible in making sure we win this third Test match. I'm not here to talk about Kevin Pietersen. It is not something I want to talk about at this stage."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on August 9, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    I could see one solution. ECB could start scheduling series so they don't clash with IPL. I don't think they'll do it as it's only KP who wants to play IPL at the expense of England but it's a thought for the future.I'd love to see KP remain an England player but this is the only solution I see which would not put other players noses out of joint

  • John on August 9, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (August 09 2012, 09:00 AM GMT) Mate , do you see KP being an England player after this series in any format? I'm actually thinking that KP won't quit England because I think that ECB just won't offer him a new test contract.

  • Anupam on August 9, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    go KP go now you don't have career in ENG. you retire from ODI & T20 and you don't care about test cricket & IPL is the future of cricket as you said earlier.your desire & passion towards IPL go with your passion. migrate to INDIA and say rubbish about ENG as you said earlier about SA when you migrate to eng. ODI- sehwag, gambhir, kohli, KP, raina, yuvi, MS dhoni, pathan, ashwin, yadav, zaheer. Test- sehwag, gambhir, KP, tendulkar, laxman, kohli/raina, dhoni, irfan, ojha, zaheer, yadav.

  • Torsha on August 9, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    I kinda agree with KP. IPL as he said is one of many points but I think schedule is what he is concerned about.

  • Satish on August 9, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    @S.Jagernath : Certainly KP is one of greatest to have played for England.. If the guys like Atherton or Hussain are consider themselves as greats and comment rubbish, then why not KP.. I would say as a match winner, KP is on par with any one who played for England.. Better than Freddie himself.. Yes KP is lucky to play for England but so is England to get KP playing for them.. @Patchmaster : KP does want to earn mroe money for the period he misses to spend with the family :-) Who said Legends don't go for money.. They go saying as rebel - Like Kapil or a Tony Greig..

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    I am looking forward to KP Version 3. Playing for NZ, with the black cap and the Fern tattoo. My only worry is, how he will deal with Buchanan. If John Buchanan's personality can drive out a perfect gentleman like John Write, he (JB) deserves a player like KP to deal with. Eagerly waiting to see that drama unfurling. The fact that no one from NZ attacked me for trying to peddle KP to them, shows how good they are. I love them for their gentle-manliness -- except can't fathom why they (may be only a few administration) went for a guy like Buchanan. Those who love Buchanan can also love KP

  • Charles on August 9, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    It looks like KP will miss the world T20 finals this year's tournament and the next , whatever happens to his English test future . I am sure this is what his latest outburst is about - all sport stars want and need to play in the world cups. The problem is that he has picked the wrong time and place for the fight - he needed a number of senior players to also want time to play in the IPL and also make a fuss . I guess the current English players are happy with their central contract payment and know they can always play the IPL later in life.

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    What a shame no cricket for KP and England. Who loses more. I dare say England. And why? Because he wants to complete an IPL season. And who wouldn't. I most likely be raining in England anyway and the top NZ players will not be taking part as they will be at the IPL. GET REAL

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    @"Zorrofortomorro Mask" ; Mask, rip of your mask; are you an agent of this guy? Indian team have enough Prima Donnas already, who pick and choose series to suit their royal convenience. We don't want any more, particularly imports, like England do to tier chagrin. We don't want any "zorro for tomorro". And the "mask" to cover that "zorro"

  • Dummy4 on August 9, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    What a shame. No KP because he wants to coplete the whole if the IPL. And who can blame him. Other want also to play. All the NZ star players will miss the start of the series. And it will more than likely RAIN

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