By CricketCountry Staff
London: Aug 12, 2012
England pace spearhead James Anderson accepted on Saturday that the Kevin Pietersen retirement row and his dispute with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has distracted the players, as they gear up to take on South Africa in a must-win third Test at Lord’s.
Anderson wrote in his column for the Daily Mail, “Frankly, as players, all this has been a distraction we could well do without as we approach a massively important final match at Lord’s, one we must win to retain our hard-earned status as the No 1 ranked side in world cricket.”
“The stand-off between Kevin and the England Cricket Board over his future availability was not something we needed going into a big Test series.”
Anderson said the issue has lasted long and it was necessary to do away with it, so that the players can concentrate on the task ahead of them.
“Nor, when we have a must-win game, was it ideal to see some of the things that have been said. To me it’s all been going on too long. I’m sure the two parties will have had a lot of discussions. All the players want is this to be put to bed so we can concentrate on the game,” he wrote.
However, Anderson claimed that the accusation of politics within the dressing room made by Pietersen during the last week was something he had never heard of.
‘Kevin talked about having issues within the dressing room. What’s frustrating is that this was, literally, the first we knew about it. Kevin has mentioned nothing to us.
“From the time Kevin first announced he was quitting one-day cricket and why, we have tried to get on with things the best we could, even though there has been a lot of speculation,” he wrote.
Anderson urged his side to come out all guns blazing to level series with South Africa, as a loss will mean England losing their No 1 spot in ICC Test rankings.
“Leaving aside all possible distractions, this is a hugely important game for us. We worked hard for the No 1 Test ranking and if we were to lose it to South Africa at Lord’s, it would feel like we let it slip too easily after not long enough at the top,” he said.
“I can’t put my finger on why we haven’t kept our form since beating India 4-0 last summer. It could be that, having chased something so hard for so long, we suddenly found ourselves with nothing left to chase and that, once we got to No 1, teams played against us with a different mentality,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pietersen on Saturday declared that he is fully committed to England and will be available to play in all forms of the game.