Disinterested? Kevin Pietersen played his last international match at the SCG in January. Photo: Getty Images
LONDON: England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton has given his most detailed explanation yet for the controversial decision to end the international career of the "frustrating" Kevin Pietersen.
The South Africa-born batsman, England's leading run scorer across all formats, was sensationally axed from the national set-up following the team's 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia.
During a Lord's news conference on April 19 when Peter Moores was unveiled as England coach after Andy Flower stood down following the Ashes debacle, Downton said there was "no going back" for the "disconnected" Pietersen and that it was time for everyone involved in English cricket to get behind captain Alastair Cook.
England's manager director of cricket, Paul Downton, speaks with Jonathan Agnew of the BBC's Test Match Special at the Oval. Photo: Getty Images
Former England wicketkeeper Downton gave a more detailed explanation for his decision to ditch the 33-year-old Pietersen in an interview with BBC Radio's Test Match Special on Thursday.
"One of the huge issues after Australia was 'what are we going to do about Kevin?', Downton said of a series where Pietersen was England's leading scorer, albeit with just 294 runs at 29.4.
"I watched every ball of the Sydney Test live, and I've never seen anyone as disinterested or distracted as Kevin; it looked very strange.
"I talked to every person on the management team and quite a few senior players, and I couldn't find one supporter who wanted Kevin to stay in the side.
"There was a significant amount of frustration in terms of his attitude, 'are you really fighting it out?'
"The accusations were that Kevin had too many agendas and wasn't 100 per cent focused on playing for England.
"I'm not saying everything that happened in Australia was down to Kevin.
"There is no smoking gun; this was in the best interests of English cricket.
"We'd just lost 5-0 with Kevin in the side. Are you going to back Cook and Ian Bell to be the backbone of that side, or are you going to back Kevin?
"There was a strong feeling in the dressing-room that we weren't going to grow as a side until we addressed that," Downton insisted.
But former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott, said Pietersen would still be playing international cricket if he was under a better 'man-manager' as England captain.
"Would Kevin Pietersen still be playing Test cricket if Michael Vaughan, Mike Brearley or Raymond Illingworth was captaining the side?," Boycott said.
"My answer is categorically, 10 out of 10, yes."