Kevin Pietersen says England axing saved marriage, called captaincy ‘worst year’ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Kevin Pietersen says England axing saved marriage, called captaincy ‘worst year’

Kevin Pietersen has spoken about how getting axed from the England side saved his marriage and how much he hated life as skipper of the Three Lions.

cricket Updated: Aug 09, 2017 15:08 IST
HT Correspondent
Kevin Pietersen believes his England dismissal helped save his marriage and improve his relationship with his children.
Kevin Pietersen believes his England dismissal helped save his marriage and improve his relationship with his children. (AP)

Kevin Pietersen, who fought a lengthy battle with the England cricket management following his unceremonious exit from the national side post Ashes 2013-14, says that the axing came as a blessing in disguise, helping him save his marriage. Pietersen, who also captained England in 2008, lamented it was the ‘worst year of his life’.

Pietersen looked set to become the first batsman from England to make 10,000 runs but saw his career coming to a sudden halt after 104 Tests in which he accumulated 8,181 runs.

Kevin Pietersen last played for England in the Sydney Test in January 2014, the final match of the Ashes 2013-14 series in which the visiting side was hammered 0-5 by Australia.

He was shown the exit door post the horrible tour of Australia, and despite the maverick cricketer treading waters in the English domestic circuit, he was never included back in.

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More than three years since his last match for England, Kevin Pietersen has thanked the team bosses for axing him. “England did me a favour in sacking me in 2014 because it has helped me with my relationship with my kids no end. I didn’t want to be a lousy dad. For the birth of my son Dylan in 2010 I had to fly back from playing in the Caribbean, see him being born then get a helicopter to Gatwick the next day to play in a semi-final for England. I was absent,” Pietersen was quoted as saying by news.com.au.

“Jess has been a rock to me but we’ve had tough times. People don’t understand the pressure that goes on between the four walls of home when it’s all going wrong, like it did for me on a daily basis for a year. We’ve put up with a hell of a lot while I was playing for England,” he added.

“Worst year of my life”

Pietersen, who captained England in three Tests and 12 ODIs in 2008, says the tenure was the ‘worst year of his life’. He did not get to see his son Dylan enough.

“I was under strict protocols. They tell you where you have be, you have to ask to do this and that. I had the best time playing for England. I wouldn’t live here if I didn’t love England. There have been hurdles. I was under the microscope. When I was captain, it was the worst year of my life. I took stock and gauged what and who was important,” he said.

“That massive fallout I had with England raised my profile and assisted and enabled me to turn a bad thing into a good thing. People think, ‘Cricket, cricket, cricket’. Well, stuff cricket. It means that what Jess and the kids have now is so special. I’ve got such a wonderful life. I wouldn’t want to be back on that England treadmill. It becomes monotonous,” Pietersen added.

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The 37-year-old added that this will be his last year playing cricket in England.

“That sacking and the hullabaloo it caused for six months has been the best thing for my life. Now I wake up with the kids, put them to bed, take them and pick them up from school. I watch most of Dylan’s sport. I will hands down see my kids more than a lot of people. I’m now hopefully being the best dad my kids could have. All I care about is my family and my African roots,” he added.

“Not an Englishman”

Pietersen, who sports a Three Lions tattoo says there was a time he tried too hard to be English. He said, “I tried too hard to be English when I played for England. I always got annoyed when people said I was South African. I concerned myself all the time with what can I say, can I talk differently?”

“But you have to accept, you are what you are. When I played for England I played to win and I was proud to wear the Three Lions but am I English? No, I’m South African,” Pietersen said.

New found motive

Pietersen says he now wants to save the rhinos that are headed for extinction. “There are more important things than cricket. It sounds crazy but I now want to try to save the 30,000 rhinos that are heading for extinction because of poachers. Rhinos are being killed every eight hours in Africa,” he said.

‘More than 6000 have been killed by poachers over the past decade. I knew I had to do something. I’ve achieved a lot in cricket but being part of stopping these animals dying out could top it all,” he added.