Strauss was right to drop me - Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen has conceded for the first time that Andrew Strauss, his former England captain and now director of cricket at the ECB, was right to overlook his claims for a Test recall ahead of this summer's Ashes victory.
Speaking at the Sports Industry Breakfast Club, Pietersen admitted that Strauss's decision, which was made in a face-to-face meeting in London only hours after he had scored a career-best 355 not out for Surrey against Leicestershire at The Oval, had initially left him furious.
However, having watched from the sidelines as a new-look England team beat Australia 3-2 in an eventful Ashes series, Pietersen admitted that Strauss's stance had been vindicated. He also claimed to have drawn a line under his international ambitions.
"At the time I would have said it was ridiculous and nonsense," Pietersen said, "but England won the Ashes. I don't draw back to a meeting in May and think 'goodness how things could been different'.
"[Strauss] made his decision and it's turned out absolutely fine. Absolutely it seems to be the right decision at the moment.
"I didn't find it hard [to watch] at all," he added. "I love seeing England win. I have some real close buddies in that side and seeing them do the business was something that made me happy. Seeing those guys play so well and just seeing the structure and the way it has developed makes me so happy."
The animosity between Strauss and Pietersen is no secret, with Strauss having inadvertently aired his opinion of his former team-mate during the MCC bicentenary fixture at Lord's last year, when he was caught swearing on an open microphone in the Sky Sports commentary box.
However, Pietersen claimed to have been impressed by Strauss's first summer in his new role, and praised in particular his efforts to rebuild the connections between the current England team and its former players. Ian Botham and Bob Willis were among the names invited to speak to the team during the Ashes, a move that Pietersen described as "brilliant".
Pietersen's next career move is set to be a stint in the Pakistan Super League as he continues his foray into the world of the freelance Twenty20 cricketer. However, he insisted his first love remains Test cricket, and called for greater remuneration for its players to protect the integrity of the five-day game.
"Twenty20 cricket is here to stay, the game brings in a whole different audience to the sport, but I love Test cricket," he said.
"We owe it to the great game to speak positively about Test cricket. It's an amazing part of what we do and it's the thing I miss most about the game.
"Test cricketers should get paid more, they need to know they are being looked after. With the lures of franchise cricket, we need to protect the game. Test matches should be the pinnacle."
"I would love to play Test cricket. If that can't happen then I will just keep plying my trade anywhere I can over the next few years."