Pietersen: A relief to be out of the dressing room


Batsman Kevin Pietersen has expressed relief after being omitted from the England and Wales Cricket Board's plans.

Batsman Kevin Pietersen has expressed relief after being omitted from the England and Wales Cricket Board's plans.

Labeled a disruptive influence and the subject of lean stretch of form, Pietersen was dropped from the Test squad in the wake of a five-nil Test series defeat to Australia earlier this year.

The talented right-hander has since been publicly criticised by new managing director Paul Downton and national selector James Whitaker – and won't feature in this month's series against Sri Lanka or July and August's fixtures against India.

"It has been a relief to be out of the dressing room because it was not a pleasant place in Australia. We were losing and in my opinion the environment was poor and I was not alone in thinking that. It is a view shared by a number of the players who have spoken their minds since coming back from the tour," Pietersen wrote in a column for the <i>Daily Telegraph</i>.

"As soon as we arrived the Australian media turned the heat up on us. I have had that for years so it did not bother me. It was fun. But for other players you could sense it was a problem. The senior players were tired and it soon became a really long grind against an Australian side that had their backs up in their own country."

The 33-year-old Pietersen managed a mere 294 runs in 10 innings in Australia and, like the bulk of the visiting middle order, struggled to combat the pace and bounce generated by fast bowler Mitchell Johnson.

Left-armer Johnson, who was not picked for the tour of England in 2013, marked a prolific return to the team with a Player of the Series performance, clinching 37 wickets in five matches at a remarkable average of 13.97.

"Mitchell was sensational on those pitches and he was handled brilliantly by Michael Clarke. Even if he picked up a wicket in his third or fourth over of a spell, Clarke would take him off and save him for later in the day. It was brilliant captaincy. Johnson's bowling was the best and most aggressive I have seen during my career, and I told him so at the end of the Test series when we shared a beer," added Pietersen.

"On a personal note, I did not score the runs I would have liked in Australia but I have played a certain way throughout my career and will continue to do so. There is method to my batting but I play on instinct as well and I would absolutely play that way again if we could go back in time."

The South African-born Pietersen captained the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League last month, but sunk to a humiliating nine consecutive defeats, and scored a mere five in Surrey's big defeat to Essex in the T20 Blast this week.