Kevin Pietersen: Colin Graves rejects 'deceit' over England recall

By David OrnsteinBBC Sport
Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen said he had been "misled" by the ECB over a potential recall to the England side

New England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves says he did not mislead Kevin Pietersen over a potential recall to the England side.

Graves suggested in March that the batsman, sacked by England in 2014, could return with good county form.

But new ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss said he would not be selected over "trust" issues, with Pietersen describing the decision as "deceitful".

Graves insists he "did not make any promises" to the 34-year-old.

He added in a statement: "Kevin was told on Monday and I completely support the decision that was taken. He may not have liked what he heard but it allowed him to look at his opportunities.

"Despite everything, he can work with us to rebuild the relationship and make a further contribution to English cricket. It was important he knew where he stood."

In the statement, Graves also said:external-link

  • he felt motivated to release the statement because "his integrity has been called into question"
  • in a conversation in March, Pietersen asked him if he "thought his England career had ended in the right manner"
  • he agreed "that nobody particularly emerged with much credit, particularly given his achievements for England"
  • Pietersen then told him he "felt he had a lot to offer" and that "he wanted to contribute, whether as a player or not"
  • he gave Pietersen "no guarantees" that he would be selected to play
  • but he can "see something has been misunderstood around the conversation and in the following debate"
  • a "clear decision" needed to be taken and he stands by "those people whose job it was to take decisions on team selection"
  • Pietersen can still "work with us to re-build the relationship and make a further contribution to English cricket"

Strauss offered Pietersen a role as an advisor on a board to improve the one-day side, which was turned down.

Pietersen's omission has divided opinion, particularly after he scored an unbeaten 355 for Surrey against Leicestershire earlier this week.

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen scored an unbeaten 355 for Surrey against Leicestershire earlier this week
England's Chris Woakes on BBC Radio 5 live
"I feel sorry for him. By the sounds of things, he desperately wanted to play for England again. By the looks of it, that's not going to be the case. Many England fans would have wanted to see him play again. Others may not have done. I feel sorry for him but at the same time, we've got to concentrate on moving forward. It's a busy, important summer."

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Pietersen said he had been "misled" by the ECB.

"I just find it incredibly deceitful what has happened to me," he said. "I am angry and hurt but right now there is nothing I can do about it."

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme in early March, Graves refused to rule out a recall for Pietersen but said selectors and coaches would make any final decision.

Graves later told the Telegraph that the selectors "can't ignore" Pietersen if he "scores a lot of runs" for a county side.

"Forget personalities," he added. "Selectors pick the best players in form, taking wickets and scoring runs. That is their job."

Meanwhile, Angus Porter, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, said he has had no recent contact with Pietersen or his advisors.

He hopes England's players will be allowed to ignore the saga and focus on the upcoming series against New Zealand and Australia.

"The policy on Pietersen is a matter for the ECB board," Porter told BBC Sport. "The current England players are getting put in a really difficult position every time they are asked for their views.

"It is nothing to do with the players. Managers manage and the players play. You just hope that the team will be given every support during what will be a very challenging summer ahead."

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