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Pietersen lost England trust - Strauss

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 9, 2014

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Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower and Kevin Pietersen observe England's net session, Abu Dhabi, January, 24, 2012
Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower were at the centre of Kevin Pietersen's suspension from the team in 2012 © AFP
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Debate has continued to swirl around the sudden termination of Kevin Pietersen's international career, with former England captain Andrew Strauss citing a "total absence of trust" as the reason behind the ECB's decision.

The move to leave Pietersen out of England's future plans has sharply divided opinion, amid a sense of public disgruntlement about the lack of transparency from the ECB. Little information has been forthcoming, beyond the ECB's stated desire to rebuild "team ethic and philosophy".

It was suggested that the ECB would release a statement further clarifying the situation on Sunday, though confidentiality clauses pertaining to the end Pietersen's central contract and underlying legal issues would doubtless have limited its scope.

Strauss, writing in the Sunday Times, said that a lack of trust was the deciding factor in the ECB ending the career of England's leading international run-scorer. Describing the nine-year arrangement between Pietersen and England as being like an "illicit affair", Strauss said that the disastrous tour of Australia, which ended in an Ashes whitewash, had reopened old wounds.

Strauss was at the centre of one of the most controversial Pietersen episodes, when the batsman admitted to sending "provocative" texts to South Africa's players during the 2012 series; his reintegration only came about after Strauss' retirement at the end of that summer. Strauss at the time referred to "underlying issues on trust and respect" when explaining why Pietersen had been dropped and he returned to those themes in his newspaper column.

"Without trust, the team environment is stillborn," Strauss wrote. "It is for this reason that Kevin Pietersen's international career had to be brought to an end. The media have been searching for a 'smoking gun'. Everyone is looking for disciplinary problems, bust-ups and character clashes, but they are looking for the wrong thing. The smoking gun is the total absence of trust.

"What happened in Australia from November onwards, when the heat of the furnace was fixed on the embattled side, was that old grievances came back to the surface. Past history weighed too heavily. Trust still did not exist. His relationship with English cricket has been like an illicit affair. Full of thrills and excitement, but destined to end in tears."

There was support for Pietersen to be found among former colleagues, however. Steve Harmison, who was in the team alongside Pietersen as England memorably reclaimed the Ashes in 2005, called the ECB "arrogant" over its handling of the situation, while the Sunday Mirror went so far as to claim that Stuart Broad, the T20 captain, wanted Pietersen in the squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Broad was among those consulted by Paul Downton, England's managing director, in his review of the Australia tour and it is believed that he felt the T20 team would be stronger for Pietersen's involvement. However, after meeting with Alastair Cook, the Test and ODI captain, and Ashley Giles, the limited-overs coach, Downton decided to draw a line under Pietersen's England career.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Cubey on (February 11, 2014, 3:26 GMT)

They should've made Pietersen Captain.

Cook can't handle the pressure, and he hasn't got the talent. Cook NEEDS to drop the captaincy to focus on his batting again.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 10, 2014, 22:49 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (February 10, 2014, 0:38 GMT) The fans are owed nothing but I still think the fans (not so much the armchair fans like myself but the ones who attend games) deserve to know exactly what has gone on. It's not like textgate where he was suspended and there was still hope. They have ended his career. Of course it could be that they have very good reason but if it leads to fans boycotting games then ECB have only themselves to blame for not being open. I harp back to my mentioning of the Tevez/Mancini incident - how Mancini reacted and how he got the fans support. Re Strauss - if he has no exact info he should not be saying what went on when it is just guesswork based on what he experienced. Again it would have been good if he enlightened us on what happened in his era - some examples and not just come across as "he did bad things but I cant say what they are but trust me"

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 10, 2014, 19:51 GMT)

Cook is clueless. Simple as that. When you call for a meeting, you have to hear the opposing viewpoints. Looks like Cook is not only clueless but also arrogant beyond belief. I would love to see KP playing for his Motherland South Africa. It's a shame that such a talented player is being kicked around by all and sundry. He still has a lot more to offer to cricket in all forms of the game. SA should welcome him with love and respect. That'll be his second wind. IPL loves him, as we all know already. KP should just move on from this ill-conceived 'illicit affair'. He never was an English player and he never will be. Strauss, another South African, should just take it easy and relax. He was an average and boring batsman and an even worse writer. Thanks but no thanks. Love and sympathies to KP - from India.

Posted by Lord_mac on (February 10, 2014, 15:31 GMT)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Clarke and Cook have both won and lost exactly the same number of Ashes series. So it's 1-1 as things stand.

Go back to the India series when the Aussie camp was in disarray and people were being sent home - their performance at the time was hopeless. Then they put their house in order. Now they are a good (but not great) side again.

What England is now doing is no different. The ECB has identified the problems and made changes. In their judgement, Cook has fallen on the right side of the line, though whether he would be better advised to focus on his batting is a question to addressed.

I see no reason by 2015 that England should not be competitive in the next Ashes series - in fact, I expect them to win it. I believe that the young players available to England are at least as good as those available to the Australians.

We cannot have the process of rebuilding disrupted by one man of whom the statistics show is clearly past his best.

Posted by   on (February 10, 2014, 14:00 GMT)

There's no doubting of KP's ability as a batsman and the destructive/innovative brilliance he's capable of. But that doesn't give him the right to constantly undermine the Captain or Coach, when he has a issue. By all means voice your opinion, but for communications to completely break down, is the behaviour of petulant teenagers, not grown adults trying to address the problem for the greater-good. The bottom line is this, if they (ECB) decided to rebuild around youth, so much depends on the few seniors that remain to guide and show the youngsters that they're united as one. Having a maverick in the team brings unpredictability and great box-office entertainment. But at the same time having someone whose shown in the past, that he plays and performs to win, but doesn't adjust or play to the circumstances of whatever situation the team is in, is confirmation that he's not a "team" player and the ECB feel justified in not trusting his loyalties towards them or his team-mates.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (February 10, 2014, 13:33 GMT)

I wonder if Strauss felt the same all these years basking the collective glory that KP was significantly contributing to, or if this is still a residue of the "text gate". Strauss could be forgiven if he still carries grudges but the fact is, KP has been the standout cricketer during his time and even his own behavior doesn't warrant being chewed and spat out. It wasn't "always" meant to end in tears...

Posted by ThirteenthMan on (February 10, 2014, 10:39 GMT)

I see people supporting Pietersen and blaming the ECB and Cook. Do they really think they know better than Andrew Strauss?

Probably they do think that. It doesn't mean they do! Best ignore their nonsense.

Posted by bobmartin on (February 10, 2014, 10:19 GMT)

I have a theory.. no evidence.. just an idea. Cook... after having a one-to-one meeting with Pietersen was instrumental in bringing him back into the England side after his disgraceful antics over the SA text messages. Clearly, Cook must have got some assurances from Pietersen and decided to trust him. Now Cook has been part of a decision to get rid of Pietersen.. So one has to have more than a little suspicion... and it seems logical to deduce.. that somewhere along the line for some reason that trust has broken down and Cook feels betrayed. It must have been something more than a little dressing room spat. Cook is far too nice and sensible a guy to let something as simple as that lead him to come to a decision as serious as he did.......

Posted by Sleepingfreddyb on (February 10, 2014, 9:33 GMT)

A lot of comments and opinions. Unfortunately for the fans, it is the rest of the England team who has to share the dressing room with him, not the fans. Cook has backed himself. He's backed himself to win the ashes back as well as backing himself to be to the top run scorer of his generation. Only time will tell to see how this pans out.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 10, 2014, 9:27 GMT)

Finally , I'm starting to think it's not so much what KP said/did - but who he said/did it to/about? I believed in ECB re textgate but then when Clarke came out and said he believed there was nothing derogatory in the texts (on KP's return) it made me wonder about ECB's values here. I wish a journalist would have said to him "Then why was he suspended and why did KP apologise?"

Interesting that 2 of the players who were supposed to have fallen out with KP in 2012 (Swann and Broad) have both publicly backed him now

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