Kevin Pietersen has launched a furious attack on the England and Wales Cricket Board following the decision to close the door on his international return.
The batsman said he was “absolutely devastated” to see his hopes of an England recall dashed.
It is horrendous to feel I have been led down the garden pathKevin Pietersen
New ECB director Andrew Strauss said yesterday there was no way back for the 34-year-old because of a “massive trust issue”.
Writing in his column in the Daily Telegraph, Pietersen said: “I just find it incredibly deceitful what has happened to me and am frankly finding it difficult to understand right now.
“I have done everything I have been asked. I keep asking myself, what more could I do?”
Pietersen said he felt he had been lured to a meeting with Strauss and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison under false pretences, having been given the impression he would be told he could still force his way back into England’s plans. The meeting came just hours after Pietersen’s triple century for Surrey, against Leicestershire, a career-best knock.
Pietersen added: “I have never hidden my determination to once again represent England and having played one of the best innings of my career earlier in the day, I must admit I was riding the crest of a wave.
“Yet it now looks clear Tom knew exactly what Strauss was going to tell me. I messaged Tom after the meeting and asked him why he got me into a hotel knowing precisely what I was going to be told and having already explicitly asked him if that was going to be the case.
“You talk about trust,” I said. He simply replied: “I am sorry you feel that way, Kevin.”
“They have used the word trust to justify not selecting me, well, trust is a two-way thing. I couldn’t believe just half an hour after I had my meeting, the result of it was on the internet and on the BBC airwaves. Now I didn’t tell anybody, so who did? They say they don’t trust me, but how can anybody trust them?”
“I have given up my IPL contract, at great expense, to play in county cricket. Surrey did not have any funds free to pay me, so I said I would play for nothing, just a donation to charity, and it is horrendous to feel I have been led down the garden path. They knew all along this was a dead end for me.”
Earlier, Strauss had undertaken an exhaustive round of interviews at Lord’s to stress the decision to offer no way back for Pietersen was one made with a heavy heart and “in the best interests of English cricket”.
The issue of trust – or lack of it – was at the heart of the message from both Strauss and Harrison in spite of an offer to Pietersen to work as a strategist to help improve England’s flagging limited-overs fortunes. That offer was rejected by Pietersen, suggesting a permanent schism in the pair’s working relationship which was soured in 2012 when Pietersen admitted sending “provocative” texts about his then captain to opposition players from their native South Africa.
Strauss said: “Kevin has got brilliant experience in one-day cricket. I think it would be madness not to try to get that information out of his head. Ultimately that may be an opportunity for us to start rebuilding trust. But as it stands right at the moment – for a number of reasons over a long period of time – there is not trust between Kevin Pietersen and people.”
Strauss, whose first deed as cricket director was to oversee the sacking of coach Peter Moores, has confirmed a search will begin to find a new incumbent.
Caretaker Paul Farbrace has agreed his role will not rise in the long term above “assistant”, and the intention is to have a new coach for the start of the Ashes in July. Strauss describes the Yorkshire coach and former Australia fast bowler, Jason Gillespie, as “one of the candidates”.
Alastair Cook will continue as Test captain, with Joe Root his deputy, and Eoin Morgan in charge of the one-day international team. Strauss is hoping all of the above, and specifically his decision on Pietersen, is a starting point for an honest and open tenure. “We are in a situation where there is a massive trust issue between Kevin and me,” he added. “I wish that wasn’t the case. I’m not apportioning blame – it’s just a fact. That’s why I’ve tried to clarify our position today.”
Meanwhile Harrison expressed “regret” at the ECB’s handling of the dismissal of Moores, which seeped into the public domain before Moores had been informed. Harrison said: “Once it was in the public space, it was absolutely clear that what I needed to do was deal with it very quickly – my sole priority being Peter Moores and dealing with him with the respect he deserves as a coach who has done a great job for England.”