Kevin Pietersen, the former England batsman, has expressed the one regret he has over his premature exit from international cricket – the lack of game on home soil to “say thank you to all the fans”.
Pietersen was still arguably one of the best Test batsmen in the world when he played his last Test against Australia in Sydney in January 2014. However, after England crashed to a 5-0 loss, the ECB announced he would no longer be considered for selection.
Pietersen has now expressed his one regret that there wasn’t even scope for a farewell game. “The one thing is, I wish I was able to say goodbye to English cricket with a game in the UK, to finish playing for England,” Pietersen said in the My Sporting Mind podcast.
“I played over 100 Test matches and at the time when I was finishing, I think I was the leading run-scorer in all forms of cricket. So to be cast aside in the way I was cast aside is one thing.
“It would have been so nice to give English cricket a thank you and all the fans and spectators a thank you by being able to bat one last time in front of them.”
Pietersen had a difficult relationship with the ECB, to say the least, especially when it came to the Indian Premier League. Pietersen was unhesitant in his demand to be allowed to play in the premier franchise tournament, but the ECB didn’t always relent.
“The game has never seen anything like this. Pietersen is surely the first man in flannels who chose to be famous.”@_PaulHayward on the emergence of Kevin Pietersen in the 2006 @WisdenAlmanack.https://t.co/PEiswV7SS1
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 27, 2020
However, over the last few years, ECB’s stance on the IPL has changed, and Pietersen said he was right all along. “People only have to look at what has happened in English cricket, and they realise I was an annoying alarm clock that was going off way too early for the ECB. And every single thing I was wanting then that got me into trouble, is happening now and has been happening for the last three or four years,” he said.
“I knew I was right, and I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong by wanting to play the IPL, by wanting to miss cricket matches for England to make sure I cashed in, in India, and made as much money as I could from my career.
“Your career is short and why shouldn’t you? I knew all that stuff and I was the only one in that situation but it takes a little bit of time and you’ve seen what Strauss has said over the last couple of years about me and my career and how he made mistakes.”