Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has laid into the team’s management of Kent batsman Joe Denly after he was left out of England’s second Test with the West Indies.
Pietersen feels that the team’s leadership have forced Denly to try and temper his aggressive instincts in a bid to make him fit their mould.
Denly was dropped from the playing XI after the first Test against the West Indies where he lost what was effectively a bat-off against Zak Crawley.
Pietersen feels that Denly is a naturally aggressive player and that England setting him a target to bat for 100 balls knocked the 34-year-old off his game.
“The way that Joe Denly has been treated over the last two years, being told by senior management to just try and face 100 balls, is atrocious,” Pietersen wrote in a blogpost for BetWay.
“I saw what Denly did in the Big Bash a couple of seasons ago. He turned up and started whacking everybody all around Australia. The guys at my team, Melbourne Stars, couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
“I played with him in the first part of his England career, too. He always looked to attack and get after the bowling.
“He has every shot. He’s got a wonderful cover drive, he plays the pull shot, he plays the hook shot. I’d definitely like to see him be given the opportunity to go out and bat freely. If that doesn’t work, then he’s not good enough for Test-match cricket. Good night.
“But you can’t tell him to change his ways, just face 100 balls, and then drop him because he doesn’t do it. It’s truly abysmal.”
Pietersen also took time to defend Stuart Broad who spoke of his frustration at being dropped during a TV interview.
“He is an outspoken person, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. The captain and coach might not have enjoyed it, but he is lucky to be playing in an era now where speaking honestly is tolerated,” Pietersen wrote.
“I have always been a believer that, if a player is unhappy, they should be able to say so.
“There are plenty of people who drip-feed nonsense into the media, trying to create things that aren’t actually there, so I have no problem with players speaking out openly.
“The public would like to see a player who is passionate and who wants to play for their country, not somebody sitting there going, ‘Well, yeah, whatever’s good for the team.’ We don’t want to hear any of that nonsense.
“‘I’m upset, I want to be playing, I should be playing. End of story.’ I thought it was good to hear.”
Broad returned to the England XI for the second Test against the West Indies with James Anderson rested, and Jofra Archer dropped for breaching bio-security protocols.
The wicketkeeper struggled behind the stumps but made 75 in a match-winning partnership with Chris Woakes.
Craig Overton claimed four wickets for 12 runs in the Bob Willis Trophy match.
The pair turned the tables at Old Trafford with a 139-run stand which turned the tables on the tourists.
England captain Knight, whose side are defending champions, believes it would have been safe to play the tournament.
The pair shared a half-century stand at better than a run a ball to keep an unlikely run-chase alive.
The hosts lost Rory Burns for 10.
Pakistan resumed 244 in front and eight wickets down but added 32 runs in just 16 balls on the fourth morning.
The hosts still face an uphill task to win the series opener at Old Trafford.
The England vice-captain helped drag the hosts back into the first Test.
Chris Woakes Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes help out as the tourists struggle second time around.