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Kevin Pietersen hits back at Paul Downton's accusations

Reuters
May 24, 2014 at 10:26am IST

Kevin Pietersen has hit back at suggestions that he was insufficiently motivated when playing against Australia last year and that he lacked backing from his team mates.

England managing director Paul Downton accused him on Friday of being "disinterested" on the pitch and having no support from other senior players prior to his sacking by England in the wake of the 5-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia.

"The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue," Pietersen said in a statement. "Although I was having injections in my knee which inhibited my mobility and my ability to field close to the wicket, I was fully motivated to play for England.

Kevin Pietersen hits back at Paul Downton's accusations

"The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue," Pietersen said in a statement. (Getty Images)

"While I accept that the series as a whole fell well below my own personal standards, I finished the series as the top scorer. "I did, and continue, to have a good relationship with most of the England players, which has been subsequently highlighted by a number of press interviews."

The controversial batsman's England career was ended in February when he was left out of World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and the preceding tour of the West Indies.

Downton, who was instrumental in the decision to end Pietersen's international career, also said the batsman's stubborn attitude allowed Australian captain Michael Clarke to play him "like a schoolboy".

"There was an enormous amount of frustration surrounding KP from everyone in the management team in terms of his attitude and whether he was really fighting it out," Downton told BBC's Test Match Special programme.

"There was a feeling KP wasn't engaged in the way he should be. I talked to quite a few senior players and couldn't find one supporter who wanted KP to stay in the side."

Downton said he was shocked at Pietersen's performance in the fifth test in Sydney which England lost by 281 runs with Pietersen contributing only nine runs.

"I watched every ball and I've never seen anyone as disinterested or distracted on a cricket field as Kevin," he said. "It led me to talk to every person on the management team within England and a lot outside it.

"I then spent the next three weeks speaking to more people but the decision we came to was in the best interests of English cricket. I'm not saying all that happened in Australia was down to KP, team dynamics disintegrate when you're under pressure."

Pietersen played 104 test matches for England, averaging 47, but managed only two half centuries in the five tests in Australia. Downton said Pietersen's refusal to dig in for the team and a series of soft dismissals hastened the end.

"It was frustrating seeing him with his 'this is the way I play' type attitude'", Downton said. "Clarke played him like a schoolboy almost."

Pietersen, however, was quick to point out his decade-long contribution to England before he was unceremoniously dumped.

"With regard to the criticisms aimed at the way I play, which Paul Downton had said, I feel it's only reasonable to remind Mr Downton that this method has brought me over 13,500 runs for England in addition to being part of four Ashes-winning teams, and a World T20 winning side, all of which achievements I am hugely proud of," the 33-year-old added.

"I will continue to abide my the confidential provisions contained in my settlement agreement, which I believe applies to both the ECB and myself."

England's Ashes debacle also led to coach Andy Flower leaving along with batting coach Graham Gooch while spinner Graeme Swann retired before the end of the series.

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