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KP slams 'wholly untrue' Downton comments

George Dobell
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'I was fully motivated to play for England and whilst I accept that the series as a whole fell well below my own personal standards, I finished the series as the top scorer' © Getty Images
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Kevin Pietersen has dismissed as "wholly untrue" comments made by Paul Downton, the managing director of England cricket, relating to the decision to end the batsman's international career.

Pietersen has reacted to an interview Downton gave to the BBC on Thursday by releasing a statement on his website strongly refuting Downton's version of events and clarifying his desire to seek a final settlement when it became clear he would not be picked again by England.

In the BBC interview, Downton said he had "never seen anyone as disinterested or distracted on a cricket field" as Pietersen had been during the Sydney Test and that, after talking to the management team and several of the senior players there was a "unanimous feeling" that the time had come to move on from the player. Downton said he "couldn't find one supporter" for Pietersen's retension.

But Pietersen has now responded in typically uninhibited style. Not only has he insisted that he retains a good relationship with most of the England squad involved in the Ashes - a claim that is generally supported by comments made by those team-mates in subsequent interviews - but he has issued a reminder of his international record that brought him more runs than any England player in history, a part in four Ashes-winning sides and a man of the tournament award in England's only global success: the World T20 title of 2010.

"The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue," he said.

"Although I was having injections in my knee, which inhibited my mobility and thus my ability to field close to the wicket, I was fully motivated to play for England and whilst 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.

"With regard to the criticisms aimed at my 'the way I play type attitude', 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."

Pietersen also sought to clarify Downton's claim that it was the player who "wanted to come to a settlement to terminate his central contract." While Pietersen accepts that is true, he points out that it was a decision he made only after it became clear he would no longer be considered for England selection.

"It was made very clear to me that I was not being selected for the World T20 squad," Pietersen said. "And the ECB did not try to give me the remotest confidence that I would be seriously considered for selection for England again.

"Had I allowed my contract to 'wind down', as the ECB proposed, I would not only have forfeited the performance-related elements that are part of the England player remuneration, but more importantly my availability as a professional cricketer would have remained under the control of the ECB for a further eight months."

Pietersen and the ECB are supposedly bound to confidentiality clauses that were designed to keep such squabbles private. But Downton's decision to speak so freely about the issue has ensured that Pietersen's shadow will linger over the England team for some while yet.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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