England v West Indies, 3rd Test, Edgbaston, 4th day June 10, 2012

Pietersen blames schedule for one-day exit


Kevin Pietersen has blamed his decision to retire from limited-overs international cricket on England's unrelenting schedule but reiterated his desire to play in the World T20 in September.

In a thinly-veiled attack on the ECB, Pietersen utilised the close of play press conference on the fourth day of the third Test at Edgbaston to criticise the schedule of the England team and what he suggested were unreasonable demands placed upon the shoulders of players. Pietersen, 31, the player of the tournament when England won the World T20 in 2010, said his heavy schedule was in danger of making him fall out of love with the game but expressed a hope that the ECB would "change the rules" and allow him to participate in the World T20.

Pietersen announced his decision to retire from all limited-overs international cricket just over a week ago. While he had not wanted to retire from the international T20 format, the nature of ECB central contracts dictates that a player has to be available for both forms of the limited-overs game to be considered for either. The ECB fear that if players are allowed to pick and choose their games or their formats, then their ODI side will be hit by several high-profile withdrawals.

"I've said I'll play the T20 World Cup," Pietersen said. "If they want me to play the T20 World Cup, I'll play the T20 World Cup. But contracts are contracts.

"I'd had enough of the schedule. I can't carry on doing everything. I play every single form of cricket that there is. I play the IPL and I've the Champions League in October. Apart from MS Dhoni, I've played the most days of international cricket over the past seven years. There comes a time when some form of the game has to be taken out of my schedule. One-day cricket was it.

"It is a shame, but that is schedules we have. If the schedules weren't like that, or I played for another country where you had months and months occasionally to rest and recuperate, or if I had the opportunities to be rested things might be different. But you don't get those opportunities when you play for England. So I had to make a decision. You know what that decision is.

"I can't play at my peak - I can't keep on playing every single game and enjoying every single game - when I have to play every single form of cricket, or when I have to train every single day. You fall out of love with it. And I want to still play cricket until I'm 35."

The England schedule is undeniably heavy. After a desperately hectic summer, including internationals games against West Indies, Australia, South Africa and Scotland, those members of the squad who play all three formats of the game will spend less than two weeks in the UK from late October to early April. For those involved in the World T20, that period will be even further extended.

Pietersen's argument is partially flawed, however. The ECB do not oblige him to participate in the IPL or the Champions League - other players have, at times, chosen to use such periods for rest - and the entire squad did enjoy the best part of two months off ahead of the tour to the UAE. He has also been rested from limited-overs games in the past. However Pietersen suggested his decision was not motivated by a desire to play more T20 competitions around the world - "I'm not playing the Big Bash," he said - but simply by a desire to rest physically and mentally and to spend more time with his family.

"Of course it was a difficult decision," he said. "I'm giving up something. It was a very difficult decision, but waking up the next day I was absolutely buzzing: no regrets at all. I've moved on. I don't want to talk about it. It's done and dusted and it would be unfair to this Test for me to create headlines talking about it. I've finished with one-day cricket and T20 - unfortunately - was a part of that."

Pietersen expects to play his next competitive game in the Friends Life T20 for Surrey against Sussex at The Oval on July 3. He will then play two more T20 matches before participating in the championship match against Lancashire at Guildford beginning on July 11 ahead of the Test series against South Africa.

"I'm having a break until the beginning of July," he said. "I'm going to continue hitting balls throughout June because I think I need to; I want to try and keep myself in this nick. But I will be going on breaks with the family."

Pietersen was adamant that he would have no mixed feelings knowing that his England teammates were in action against Australia in the forthcoming ODI series. "No chance," he said. "Absolutely no chance. I'll be enjoying time off with my family. If I had wanted to play those one-dayers, I would have played them. I'll be enjoying my time off."

But he did admit that he hoped a solution could be found to his stand-off with the ECB whereby he could play in the World T20. He said the T20 format was "definitely" taking over from the ODI format as T20 "is fun, it is exciting and people come and watch it".

"I hope so," he said, when asked if he thought he might still play in the World T20. "But I've been through this with the ECB. I don't know; they'd have to change the rules."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinivas on June 13, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @Salman Raza, ask a proper patriot and he'll tell you if working in our jobs in our own country even as a clerk is a National Duty or not, just in case you don't understand that. For example, take an assembling worker in America in a Chevrolet plant. He says I'm proudly working for America and the car is proudly and affectionately made in USA, just so you know.

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas, How is my job or anyone else's job 'National duty?' You work for a company, not your country there. Cricketers of this stature are chosen to represent their Country. There's a big difference if you don't understand that.

  • Srinivas on June 12, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    All the guys crying foul over national duties and all of that nonsense need to look into a mirror. How many of you have left your country for the sake of a better job in another country? And mind you, all you guys must have left your country just for the sake of a few thousand dollars or pounds or euros. Here for KP and other cricketers we are talking in Millions of Dollars. Are you guys for real? So please stop your obsolete, hilarious, mundane and unintelligible arguments. I don't want to have a terrible side-strain again by LMHO ( o _ O )!

  • I on June 12, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    @jmcilhinney I may be mistaken here, but was not the reason that Morgan left the Irish side specifically so he could have a test career?

  • Dummy4 on June 12, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    Ridiculous argument by Pieterson. I do think that National duty always comes first and all these IPLs and BPLs later. May be if Pieterson wasn't so greedy for money and fame these three formats would then be fine for him. I don't think anyone is in favour of leaving out room for the IPL since all other boards are at a major disadvantage. It's up to the players, if they can't afford to play all the formats, and it's just this tiring, then why play the IPL? I'm sure Pieterson would have known the T20 World Cup with other cricket is right around the corner. Honestly, such a person should not be in any format. National duties should always come first. However, I'd like to point out that he isn't really British now is he so may be he feels differently.

  • R on June 12, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    @randyoz... pattinson is only famous for losing to NZ

  • Roo on June 12, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    @JG2704... Think you meant BPL rather than BBL - typo?... Disregard my previous comment :) ...

  • Andrew on June 12, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    @arjun814 - I would use your suggestions as a guideline, allowing for 5 Test series, & I would have bilateral T20s prior to or just after an ODI series on a 3-format tour. == == == Can't see England defending their T20 crown without KP.

  • John on June 12, 2012, 2:09 GMT

    @cricket-india on (June 11 2012, 14:24 PM GMT), one thing to take into account there is that not many people really thought Morgan should have been in the Test team to begin with, so the fact that he's not trying especially hard to get back in is pretty much OK with most England Test cricket fans. I'm fairly sure that at least part of the reason that KP gets more criticism than some other players is the fact that he's not a native Englishman. Having players born outside England bothers some people more than others. Personally, it doesn't bother me too much and I try to treat all qualified players the same way but I'm sure that there are those who, while happy to claim KP's triumphs as their own, feel a bit more comfortable criticising him than they do those players born and bred in England.

  • John on June 11, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    @arjun814 on (June 11 2012, 15:52 PM GMT) Did I read somewhere that some players were still chasing money fromtheir BBL stints or did I dream it?

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