Kevin Pietersen's revelations have shaken English cricket © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen’s revelations have shaken English cricket © Getty Images

By Julian Guyer

London: Oct 10,  2014

Kevin Pietersen conceded on Friday he may “potentially” have played his last match for England as the controversy surrounding his autobiography continues. During an intensive publicity campaign, South Africa-born batsman Pietersen — England’s all-time leading run-scorer — has indicated a wish to resume an international career abruptly cut short in February following the team’s return from their 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.

That has long appeared a slim hope while England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Giles Clarke and managing director Paul Downton remain in post, with Pietersen admitting as much on Thursday when he said “Clarke would have to go” if he was to play for England again.

Allegations in his book of a “bullying” culture led by senior England bowlers such as James Anderson, assisted by wicketkeeper Matt Prior and severe criticism of the methods of former coach Andy Flower are one thing, but given Pietersen did not play County Championship cricket for Surrey last season, there is no way of his returning to the England set-up on form grounds any time soon.

However, in an interview on with BBC television chat show host Graham Norton, to be broadcast later on Friday, Pietersen asked how likely it was he would play for England again, said: “Potentially not, no. I’ve got to accept that.” The former England captain added, “What I’ve been lucky to achieve, I’ve got to be grateful for and happy with. “There’s more to life now, and I just get on and do what I need to do.”

Strauss regret

Meanwhile Pietersen insisted even he had been surprised by the scale of the media storm generated by a book which only went on sale on Thursday but which was widely publicised beforehand, saying “it’s gone mad”. One area in which Pietersen, often accused by his detractors of being unwilling to accept his mistakes, acknowledges he erred in sending “provocative” texts concerning then England captain Andrew Strauss to opposition South African players during a home series against the Proteas in 2012.

Pietersen, who had not long been told at the time that some of his England team-mates were involved in a parody Twitter account mocking him, again expressed his regret on the Norton programme for an incident that saw him briefly dropped from the England side. “We all make mistakes, and I certainly made them,” Pietersen said. “One of the biggest mistakes I made was with Andrew Strauss just before he played his 100th Test match. I was involved in the text messaging scandal, and there was a bit of mix-up that meant one of my best friends — who was a fantastic captain and great cricketer — had his whole week tarnished, a week that should have been one of the great moments of his career. I regret that and am so sorry for that.”

Meanwhile fast-medium bowler Anderson, in an interview with Friday’s Daily Telegraph, urged all concerned with the England set-up to focus on the upcoming pre-World Cup tour of Sri Lanka rather than rake over the past. “We’ve got cricket to play — more important things to worry about than someone’s book,” said Anderson, who admitted to being perplexed by the depth of Pietersen’s feelings. “The issues that have been brought up are sad really — the dressing room for the last seven or eight years when we’ve been winning has been amazing. You don’t achieve what we have without guys pulling in the same direction. I can’t get my head round it — he seems like he’s just not enjoyed it for however long.”

However, Anderson said Pietersen’s case was unusual. “This is not an ideal situation, but it’s different with Kev,” he added. “He never got a chance to stand up for himself in the dressing room, because the opportunity to be in the dressing room was taken away from him by the powers-that-be. He is now venting his frustration through a book. You never get a team where everyone gets on together.”

More from Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography here