London: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and their managing director Paul Downton have apologised to Kevin Pietersen regarding comments he made about the former England captain earlier this month, British media reported on Friday.
Downton, who played an instrumental role in the decision to effectively end Pietersen’s international career in February, said the controversial batsman had become “disinterested” during their 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia.
Downton also said Pietersen had lost the support of the senior players in the England dressing room during the November to January Test series, but the batsman responded by saying his allegations were “wholly untrue”.
Pietersen also said: “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 ECB released a statement on Friday expressing their regret over Downton’s comments.
“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,” they said.
“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 was a member of victorious Ashes teams in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and is regarded as one of England’s greatest ever players having scored 8,181 runs in 104 Test matches at an average of over 47.
England’s catastrophic Ashes tour also led to coach Andy Flower leaving his position along with batting coach Graham Gooch, while spinner Graeme Swann retired mid-series.
Speaking to BBC, former England captain and wicket-keeper Alec Stewart expected Pietersen to turn out for Surrey next week, versus Worcestershire, at the County Championship Division I, at The Oval. “I wouldn’t use the word ‘seething’ to describe his mood. He accepts it. He wants to make sure he gets on with his cricket career. I expect Pietersen to play for Surrey next week.
“He’s disappointed not to play for England. He wanted to score 10,000 Test runs. A decision has been made whether you agree with it or not, which is, he will not play for England again.”
Another former captain Michael Vaughan was more critical of the whole issue of confidentiality agreements. “I understand where you have an agreement where you never speak. But if you have one that ends in a certain month, then it shouldn’t matter whether an official or a player speaks out after that,” Vaughan remarked.