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‘KP made scapegoat’

Viv Richards

London: Kevin Pietersen has been made a “scapegoat” for England’s Ashes humiliation in Australia, according to Vivian Richards.

England controversially axed their all-time leading run-scorer across all formats following a 0-5 series loss Down Under, where he was their highest-scoring contributor with the bat. “You were looking for some heads to roll and, for some reason, Kevin Pietersen’s head was in the way,” the West Indian legend said.

“He’ll have been disappointed with the series in Australia, but overall I think he’s been a good servant to English cricket,” added Richards, one of the greatest batsman in the history of cricket. “At times, and just judging from my side of the fence, it looks like you’re looking for some little scapegoat, and he was made into one.”

Richards’ comments echoed those of retired all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, a former England team-mate of Pietersen’s, who was at a loss to explain the 33-year-old South Africa-born batsman’s banishment from international cricket.

“If his attitude was that bad, why did he play five Tests (against Australia)?” Flintoff said in the Daily Mail. “Who made the decision to drop him? Do they genuinely believe we are better off without him, or are they just fearful for their own jobs and too afraid to say no?”

English cricket chiefs have so far refused to pinpoint in public a specific reason regarding form, fitness or indeed a disciplinary infraction that led them to take such drastic action against Pietersen, one of the most talented batsman of his generation.

Instead they have said Pietersen’s failure to fully support current Test skipper Alastair Cook and the need to have everyone “pulling in the same directions” were behind his exit.

(PTI)