England in South Africa 2004-05 October 20, 2004

Pietersen hits out at non-selection

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen: © Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen, England's newly qualified South African-born batsman, has hit out at his non-selection for this winter's tour of South Africa, hinting that politics may have played a part in his omission.

"I was disappointed not to go to South Africa because I have scored more than 5000 first-class runs in county cricket at 54 in the past four years," Pietersen told The Guardian. "I haven't spoken to the selectors but I have heard that they don't want to take me back to South Africa, with all the extra pressures."

Pietersen, who was born and raised in South Africa, has an Afrikaaner father but an English mother, and he has already earned himself something of a reputation for plain-speaking. His resentment of non-white quotas in South African sport played a major part in his decision to shift his allegiance to England, and his burning ambition led last season to a major rift with his county side, Nottinghamshire, where he has been spending his four-year qualification period.

"You are brought up to be loyal to the country you are in," added Pietersen, "but I have never been totally patriotic to South Africa. It is a case of how I was brought up at home. My mum ruled the roost and she is English through-and-through. Dad is an Afrikaner but he doesn't speak Afrikaans at home. If England go to South Africa and win, I'll be a happy boy."

Rod Marsh, Pietersen's coach at the National Academy, is adamant that his country of origin played no part in his omission from the South Africa tour, adding that England will benefit from his desire to play at the highest level. "English cricket's spirit will be strengthened by him, not diluted," said Marsh. "He has made an enormous sacrifice of leaving his own country. Maybe English cricket's spirit has been diluted in the past by those English players who have not wanted it enough."