England in crisis

Pietersen says he was forced to quit

Cricinfo staff

January 11, 2009

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Kevin Pietersen: Why was I asked to resign? © AFP
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Kevin Pietersen has said that he was forced to resign as England captain by the ECB and had not been given any explanation as to why he was asked to stand down. He said he was informed of the ECB's decision while he was on holiday by a brief phone call from Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, and that a subsequent email from the board confirmed the end of his tenure as captain.

"He [Morris] said they [ECB] had had an emergency board meeting and they had accepted my resignation," he told the News of the World. "I said: 'Excuse me?!' They said: 'We've accepted your resignation.' I said on what basis has it been accepted? They had no answer. Next, I received an email from the ECB saying: 'Your resignation is of immediate effect'."

The crisis started when Pietersen informed the ECB on New Year's Eve that he could not take the team forward if Peter Moores remained the coach. Before heading out on his African holiday, he had sent a mail detailing his strategies for England's upcoming series, against West Indies, and also for the Ashes.

Moores was sacked the day Pietersen was asked to step down as captain but Pietersen was initially unaware of that. He said he was even more puzzled at losing his job after Moores was removed. "I was surprised because after that phone call I thought Moores was still in the job, with them taking my resignation because of the strategy I had drawn up and my conclusion. So when they got rid of Moores I did ask the question -- but got absolutely nothing."

Pietersen had been captain for only five months, taking over last August after Michael Vaughan's tearful resignation. He said it was crushing to lose the job but stressed that he would have no trouble playing under new captain Andrew Strauss. "The ECB asked me about my availability and I was like 'excuse me?' I thought it was a threat against me but I said I will be 100% committed to winning games of cricket for England."

He said all his actions were taken in the interests on England cricket and felt he had "unfinished business" as captain. "But right now, I feel it is right for me to go back and just play - to do something that I totally, totally love, which is scoring runs and more runs for England."

Media reports have suggested that several senior members of the side, including Andrew Flintoff, were unhappy with his methods but Pietersen denied any rift with them. "I've got zero problem with walking back into that dressing- room. I can look anybody in the eye.

"My relationship with Freddie was great and towards the end I sat down with him and I said: 'Mate, this is what is going on.' I explained about the meetings I'd had with the management over the situation with the coach. We had a good chat and Freddie's parting words were: 'You cannot leave as England captain.'"

Pietersen also said that Flintoff and three other senior members of the side - Strauss, Steve Harmison, and Paul Collingwood - to whom he had spoken about his difficulties with Moores had all asked him to stay on as captain. "And they all - 100%, I promise you categorically - said to me: 'Do not leave, please, as England captain','" he said. "That's not to say they wanted Peter Moores sacked."

He was distressed at being portrayed as "the most hated man in cricket" by the media after plunging England cricket into turmoil by asking for the coach's removal, but was gratified by the "loads of messages of support from within and from outside the game".

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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