Axed Pietersen hits back at Downton accusations

LONDON, (Reuters) – Kevin Pietersen has hit back at suggestions that he was insufficiently motivated when playing against Australia last year and that he lacked backing from his team mates.

England managing director Paul Downton accused him yesterday of being “disinterested” on the pitch and having no support from other senior players prior to his sacking by England in the wake of the 5-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia.

“The suggestion that I was uninterested during the winter Ashes series against Australia is wholly untrue,” Pietersen said in a statement.

“Although I was having injections in my knee which inhibited my mobility and my ability to field close to the wicket, I was fully motivated to play for England.

“While I accept that the series as a whole fell well below my own personal standards, I finished the series as the top scorer.

“I did, and continue, to have a good relationship with most of the England players, which has been subsequently highlighted by a number of press interviews.”

The controversial batsman’s England career was ended in February when he was left out of World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and the preceding tour of the West Indies.

Downton, who was instrumental in the decision to end Pietersen’s international career, also said the batsman’s stubborn attitude allowed Australian captain Michael Clarke to play him “like a schoolboy”.

“There was an enormous amount of frustration surrounding KP from everyone in the management team in terms of his attitude and whether he was really fighting it out,” Downton told BBC’s Test Match Special programme.

“There was a feeling KP wasn’t engaged in the way he should be. I talked to quite a few senior players and couldn’t find one supporter who wanted KP to stay in the side.”

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