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.