Opinion: Sorry seems to be the hardest word

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After giving an interview to that paragon of objectivity, Waitrose and the ECB's own Jonathan Agnew, in which he called Kevin Pietersen all sorts of unsubstantiated, unprovable things, he's said to KP, "Sorry if you feel upset'.

Can you imagine being married to Paul Downton? *shudders* He's that passive-aggressive, always-right spouse, who never, ever apologises for what he actually did, but is only sorry that you're making him feel bad about it.

After giving an interview to that paragon of objectivity, Waitrose and the ECB's own Jonathan Agnew, in which he called Kevin Pietersen all sorts of unsubstantiated, unprovable things, he's said to KP, "Sorry if you feel upset'.

In reality, Downton apologised on Saturday morning, via the very hard-working and frankly you-don't-pay-me-enough ECB PR/legal department, for calling Pietersen 'uninterested and 'distracted' and having a 'this-is-the-way-I-play' type of attitude'.

Of course, this breached the confidentiality agreement signed between the parties when Pietersen was sacked after the Australia tour, and while KP had been minding his own business by starting beauty salons and cricket academies, the ECB were forced to backpedal.

To be clear, Downton has not apologise for WHAT he said. He, in essence, apologised to Pietersen's lawyers. A man who can make one agree with Piers Morgan, who responded to the 'apology' on twitter by calling the ECB 'clowns', is truly loathsome.

Additionally: The KP part of the interview was cringe worthy and petty to anyone without ECB loyalties. Downton went on to say that, "I could not find one supporter who wanted Kevin to stay in the side."

This is, of course, ludicrous. One imagines him standing over each player, with their hands tied behind their backs with barbed wire and sitting under a heat lamp, with a cricket bat to their heads, whispering, 'So, is KP our sort of people? Issss heeee?'

We can think of a few players, off the top of our heads, who openly expressed shock at Pietersen's sacking, and even more openly said how much the veteran batsman had helped them in the nets, or given them advice on that hellish tour.

Chris Tremlett, Michael Carberry and Stuart Broad (who was notably not on KP's side at all before his 'reintegration') all spoke well of the batsman, as did rent-a-quote Graeme Swann. Michael Vaughan's comments don't count.

Evidence: Tremlett: "I'm pretty good friends with Kevin and I was involved in that tour in Australia and from what I saw he didn't do anything wrong."

Carberry: "It was a big surprise. I don't think anyone saw that coming. Through the tour, certainly, Kev was very helpful to me. Over the years Kev, as one of the greats of the game, has always been very helpful in talking about the mental side."

So, are these players lying? Or did they not voice their support at the time? Or more likely, they were not part of the consulted group. This is a silly point, but an annoying one, as Downton came across as Regina George from Mean Girls while saying this. 'Kevin, stop trying to make England happen! It's not going to happen!'

Let's be honest. Everyone who disliked Pietersen before *raises hand* has shifted firmly over to his side now, with every gaffe Downton and Giles 'Right Sort/Get Over It' Clarke have made in recent months. It's impressive, actually, to win a charm offensive without making much of an effort.

To be sure, Pietersen has taken a peek over the line once or twice since 'retiring', mostly on Twitter, by taking the piss when Joe Root was injured, saying he was 'waiting by the phone'. He also commented, 'Everyone deserves a second chance!' when Peter Moores was appointed.

But he's never spoken out of turn (has he?). He's been the one half of a relationship who actually attempts to get over a break up, by finding new hobbies and making new (rich oil baron) friends. Downton's been the one doing the stalking on Facebook, and making snotty remarks on KP's Instagram pictures.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

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