Kevin Pietersen: ‘My fury at England deceit'
In an exclusive column, England’s record runs scorer reveals the truth about devastating meeting that ended his Test career
I am absolutely devastated that it looks like my hopes of an England recall have been brought to a close, especially given everything that has been said and asked of me.
I had a meeting with Andrew Strauss and Tom Harrison at a hotel in London on Monday night. I expressed my fear to Tom last week when he asked for the meeting that I did not want to sit in a room and be told that I was not going to be picked for England again.
I have been down that route before and I knew I would be in the middle of a game for Surrey which would need my whole focus and concentration.
Tom said: “No, no, no you have had one of England’s greatest careers and we need to work together.” So, of course, I agreed to the meeting.
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 certainly didn’t tell anybody, so who did? They say they don’t trust me but how can anybody trust them?
I went into the meeting expecting Strauss to say that England’s batting order is good at the moment but if I continued to score runs and if an injury occurred then I would be in contention to play. I would naturally have to earn my recall, but at least I would be eligible. But no. Quite simply, I feel deeply misled. Tom has tried to say that Colin Graves was misrepresented by the media when he said there was a way back for me.
I’m afraid, as everyone can clearly see, this is the biggest load of rubbish. I had two phone conversations with Colin Graves and he was crystal clear in saying I had to get a county, score runs and that there was a clean slate. He said that when he comes in as chairman he wants the best players playing for England. He told me that on the phone in two separate conversations. He also repeated it to national newspapers.
I have done everything I can. Was I lied to by the chairman? Only he can answer that. Tom Harrison and Andrew Strauss have said today that all three of them are united in this decision, so I don’t know what to think.
What has happened since Colin told me if I scored county runs I would be available for selection?
Nobody has called me. 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.
I am angry and hurt but right now there is nothing I can do about it. Strauss will be judged on his results. Yet I have heard from two very good sources that results do not matter this summer anyway. The job description for the director of cricket job is focused on longer term goals.
But if Strauss has been told he does not have to win this summer then why should the players train and work hard? In essence, quite incredibly, they have all been given permission to lose the Ashes. I have never heard that before. It is not in my make-up and I know it is not in the make-up of the English public either. Especially for those who have paid a lot of money for tickets.
It is an absolute disgrace if that is their mindset. Is this the reason Strauss got that job, because he would accept those conditions? Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart certainly would not.
It is true that after telling me I did not have a future for England, Strauss offered me the chance to sit on his advisory panel. But I told him to forget it. How can he in one sentence say we cannot trust you and then in the next try and say we want you to be on a board because you have such a wonderful cricket brain?
At that point I asked: “Who doesn’t trust me? You have a new chairman, a new CEO, we have spent the last 10 minutes sorting out our differences like adults. Let’s go through the batting order.”
I rattled off names. He could not give me any names. He said it is a broader thing and not just the players.
I accepted that Alastair Cook and I need to sort a few things out. But I thought we could manage that and Strauss is in a position to facilitate it happening. It is his job to ensure Alastair and I could do that.
I asked him if he thought that a new coach not being able to pick perhaps his best team was the right thing to do for the fans. Especially in an Ashes summer against a tough Australian team, who we’ll have to be at the top of our game to beat. He started throwing statistics around.
I said: “Please do not sit in a meeting with me, telling me I can’t play for England and start lobbing stats at me to justify it.”
I just find it incredibly deceitful what has happened to me and am frankly finding difficult to understand right now. I have done everything I have been asked. I keep asking myself, what more could I do?
Under the agreement of releasing me from my IPL contract, Sunrisers Hyderabad have the right to recall me for the final stages of the tournament, so on Friday – at their request - I’ll be travelling out to India. It’ll give me a good opportunity to cool down and assess what I’m going to do next. I’m just sorry it won’t be putting on an England shirt. (© Daily Telegraph, London)