Kevin Pietersen (above) © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen (above) also had a commentary session with Ricky Ponting last week © Getty Images

Melbourne: Jan 17, 2015 

Former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting believes England have “missed a trick” in choosing to discard batsman Kevin Pietersen. Ponting also said his desire to “learn more” about the inner workings of the England cricket team was the catalyst for his in-depth questioning of Pietersen during a Big Bash League (BBL) commentary stint last Monday that drew headlines in the cricket world.

“I saw Kevin Pietersen last week and told him that if I got him in the commentary box, there were a few things I wanted to talk to him about,” Ponting wrote in his News Ltd column. “I had been reading his book and there were a few issues there I wanted to explore a little further. He was a bit worried it might start World War III, but he knew I was coming for him so it was no ambush.”

Pietersen claimed that new England One-Day International (ODI) captain Eoin Morgan “would love” to have the discarded batsman back in the side, while the pair also discussed the machinations of the England dressing room and its varying personalities. “It was English cricket that I wanted to learn more about when I had him in the box next to me the other night,” Ponting wrote. “I had picked up his book and had a look at it and we all knew what he’d said about bullies and cliques in the dressing room, but I wanted to know more.

“I’d seen the way England’s bowlers treated the fielders and it never sat right with me. KP talked about how in one team meeting the bowlers demanded that there be a rule that if a fielder dropped a catch or misfielded they would have to apologise. How can you have an attitude like that within a team? How can you have a rule like that? We had run into another senior English player out here who told us that everything KP said was 100 per cent true, which further interested me.”

While there was never any love lost between Ponting and Pietersen through almost a decade of international rivalry, the Australian said he had enjoyed discovering a different side to the controversial batsman.

“It’s interesting to chat about egos in the opposition side because I have to say that having Kev and ‘Freddie’ [Andrew Flintoff] around I have found them the most relaxed, easy-going blokes to deal with.

“They might have had a bit of attitude when I played against them but they have been great company. We can all see that KP is a unique guy and a huge talent and maybe one of those guys who just needs a bit more attention from a captain, but it takes all types and managing personalities is what is important. They have missed a trick letting him go.”