Broad 'not deeply involved' in KP axe
Stuart Broad has said he did not have a major involvement in the decision to sack Kevin Pietersen despite his role as Twenty20 captain but believes that changes had to be made after a "disaster" of a tour in Australia which meant England "lost a lot of good men."
No single reason has been given for Pietersen's departure with the ECB talking - through press releases - about "team ethics" and the need to back Alastair Cook, who has been rested from the one-day leg of the West Indies tour, as the Test and ODI captain but the topic was not off-limits at England's pre-departure press conference as they flew out to the West Indies.
It has been reported that Broad wanted Pietersen in his side for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month but while he acknowledged the role Pietersen had played he was keen to talk about "moving forward." However, he did offer a hint that the environment behind the scenes had become difficult during the debilitating stay in Australia.
"I was aware of discussions towards the end of the Australia tour but I was not deeply involved particularly,'' Broad said of the decision to end Pietersen's international career. "It was a decision made by guys that have the English cricket team at their heart, and they want the team to improve.
"The guys that made the decision are very keen for England cricket to move forward, there's no egos involved in making decisions like this. It's about improving performances on the field and atmospheres off it. All I can focus on is this trip now."
The last time England were in the Caribbean was for the 2010 World Twenty20 when they secured their only piece of global silverware in a team captained by Paul Collingwood who has been appointed assistant coach for this trip and Bangladesh. Pietersen was Man of the Tournament in that event and Broad remembered the good times he had helped bring to English cricket.
"There's no doubt Kev was a fantastic player for England, part of a hugely successful era," he said. "I have fond memories of KP from 2010 when he was the kingpin in helping us win that World Cup. But it's time for the guys in that changing room to realise they can be match-winners and can step up now."
Broad admitted he did not spend much time with Pietersen in Australia but was also keen to mention others who suffered on the tour. "To be honest, I didn't see a lot of Kev in Australia. We crossed paths going to the middle," he said.
"I'll repeat that KP has been a fantastic player for England - he's scored a lot of match-winning runs but a decision was taken by guys who are desperate for England to improve in the future not just over the next four or five months but going forward in to the next few years.
"It was heartbreaking to go to Australia and lose 5-0 and we've lost a few good men in doing that - [Andy] Flower has stepped down and [Graeme] Swann retired and obviously [Jonathan Trott] Trotty went home and [Steve Finn] Finny. It's a winter that was a disaster, but as an England side we have to look forward now."
The new era begins with three ODIs and three T20s in the Caribbean before England head to Bangladesh. Although the West Indies leg includes one-day matches, the squad is very much geared towards the 20-over campaign. The squad contains three uncapped players in Moeen Ali, Stephen Parry and Harry Gurney although the latter is only part of the one-day team.
"We don't spend a lot of time together as a T20 side, so we've got to make use of these next three weeks," Broad said. "We are going to Bangladesh in three weeks' time with an opportunity to show something different.
"When you've lost so many games over the last six months, it hurts, so we've just got to get back to winning to be honest. Twenty20 is about match-winners and taking the game by the scruff of the neck, so that's the challenge for this young group now."