England news May 30, 2014

ECB forced to apologise to Pietersen

ESPNcricinfo staff

The ECB and its managing director, Paul Downton, have been forced to apologise to Kevin Pietersen for making comments in a radio interview last week about Pietersen's attitude during the Sydney Test that were "in breach of the settlement agreement" between the two parties drawn up after his sacking.

Speaking to the BBC's Test Match Special programme during the first one-day international at The Oval, Downton said he had never seen anyone as "disinterested or distracted" as Pietersen was in Sydney, claimed there was not one person within the team that he spoke to who wanted Pietersen to stay and "the accusation made was that he had too many different agendas and was not 100% focused on playing for England."

Downton also said it was Pietersen who wanted his central contract ended, pinpointing the proximity of the IPL. "It was a week before the IPL auction," Downton said. "KP wanted the freedom to play where he wanted to play and he won a big contract because of it."

Pietersen reacted angrily to Downton's comments through a statement on his website last week, calling them "wholly untrue". The last line of his statement said: "I will continue to abide by the confidentiality provisions contained in my settlement agreement, which I believe applies to both the ECB and myself."

The ECB apology, issued late on Friday evening, did not state there was any issue with what Downton actually said. Downton previously, on the day Peter Moores was named coach, said he had never seen anyone as "disengaged" as Pietersen.

"On May 22 during an interview on BBC Test Match Special, Paul Downton of the ECB made a series of comments about Kevin Pietersen with which Kevin takes issue including the comments he made regarding his perception of Kevin's attitude during the Sydney Test on last winter's Ashes tour. Some of those comments were made in breach of a settlement agreement between the ECB and Kevin Pietersen which was concluded at the time Kevin's central contract was terminated earlier this year.

"Paul Downton and the ECB both apologise to Kevin Pietersen for those comments made that were in breach of the settlement agreement and have confirmed that they will abide by its terms moving forward.''

Pietersen's return to an English cricket pitch was delayed after a finger injury prevented him playing for Surrey in the NatWest T20 Blast against Middlesex but he is expected to appear for them next Friday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    All commenters here stating that his last 10 matches were below par for him.I would like you guys to consider two things: 1.There were other players in the England team who had a dip in form during this team,some a lot worse than KP. 2. KP had been dealing with this drama pretty much throughout that period, imagine the stress he had to carry! England has accepted Trott STRESS RELATED issues openly, how about sparing a thought for KP who had to put up with a few team members up to no good and a coach who wasnt getting along with him!Still he didnt back down.

  • Colin on May 31, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    KP's knees are gone and he should play in the IPL for a few years. I think he has given great service to English cricket but should now enjoy playing the hit and giggle stuff. England move onwards and so does Kev! Everyone should be happy.

  • John on May 31, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    @JG2704 on (May 31, 2014, 9:49 GMT), I'm not having a go at KP at all. An agreement was made and he was completely within his rights to do so. The issue I have is that people who claim to support KP are having a go at the ECB for not releasing information but it's at KP's instruction that they are not doing so.

    I think some people are just completely unrealistic when it comes to this affair. They seem to think that sacking KP was a decision that the ECB took lightly but, while I don't know any more details than anyone else, I am 100% confident that it was not. There has been trouble hovering around KP for a long time; even before he came to England really. He's a very talented player but he's obviously a problem. I think that it's pretty much guaranteed that people think that things weren't as bad as they actually were because, like now, the ECB didn't want to air their dirty laundry in public.

  • David on May 31, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    As big a mess as this is, lawyers don't belong in cricket

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    This whole unholy mess could've been avoided had the ECB had the sense to simply drop KP on the basis of his Test performances over the last 15 months allied to a (quite understandable) desire to rebuild. I'm firmly in the KP camp, but there *was* a marginally justifiable case for replacing him with one of our excellent young middle-order batsmen (either Ballance, Taylor or Vince). Simply not including him would've also left the door open for him to be parachuted back in should a middle-order batting emergency arise.

    Instead, the ECB made themselves look petty & vindictive. Far worse, they've succeeded in turning a lot of England supporters against both the England management as well as Cook, Prior, et al at *precisely* the time when the management, the players & the fans need to be pulling together. It was yet another ECB omnishambles of biblical proportions.

  • Mark on May 31, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    The stat I took was from cricket writers on Sunday not deliberately picked by me. So what if he has done a bit better than Cook since then, Cook is a fair bit younger, has no long term knee problem and hasn't tried to make himself completely unavailable to ODI cricket over the last 2 to 3 years. The hard cold fact is, as well as being a troublemaker he has been in decline for a while.

  • Nick on May 31, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    @markatnotts what does Cook average over last ten tests against Australia? Compare that to KP. I like the way you pick the game after KP scored a breathtaking match winning series turning innings. There are lies dam lies and your stats. In his last two series KP was 2nd highest and highest England run scorer. That is a stone cold fact!

  • Mark on May 31, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    @Dunross, so you have spoken to every single England fan? Funny as there are an awful lot of people I know who disagree with you.

  • John on May 31, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (May 31, 2014, 9:03 GMT) I will say one thing in KPs defence. The agreement was 2 way and not just KP. KP has been keeping his end of the bargain and then Downton stirs it up again after everyone else kept their side of the bargain I'm just wondering whether there would be even more of a hoorah if it had been KP who started it all off again? Personally I would love to know about everything so I can judge for myself whether his sacking was just or whether it was unfair but thet's not going to happen

  • Mark on May 31, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    @SimonHawk, a fact for you, since Mumbai 2012 he had averaged 33 for England in Tests and had found it far too tiring to play much white ball cricket as well.

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