'Fantastic player, I could have done things differently': Ex England captain opens up on relationship with Pietersen

Published on Jun 30, 2021 05:07 PM IST

Kevin Pietersen was a prolific batsman for England during his career and while he steered clear of controversies on most occasions, there was one involving a former England captain that proved to be very detrimental for him.

File image of England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who played a lot of his cricket under former captain Andrew Strauss.(Reuters)
File image of England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who played a lot of his cricket under former captain Andrew Strauss.(Reuters)

It is a well-known fact that the relationship between former England players Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss soured towards the fag end of their careers. However, and as Strauss has revealed, things weren't always bad, and that the two players enjoyed a healthy working relationship for a major part of their careers.

It all went downhill in 2012, when Pietersen, who is originally from South Africa, exchanged text messages with Proteas players about his English teammates during their 2012 Test series. Pietersen was dropped and post the following 2013-14 Ashes debacle, in which England lost 0-5, Strauss' captaincy was terminated permanently.

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While speaking during the ‘Headstrong’ podcast, former southpaw Strauss spoke about the controversy regarding Pietersen.

“For the vast majority of my time captaining KP, he was excellent. Bear in mind, he was removed as England captain and he had run-ins with the ECB and all that stuff. For the most part, he was fine, we got on well. There was a time at the end there where I felt his agenda and the agenda of the team were not aligned," Strauss explained.

The former captain then explained where, according to him, swashbuckling Pietersen went wrong.

"He was trying to do something that was right for him and that was actually detrimental to the team. That was a big issue to me and that’s kind of the background to how everything went wrong in the end," Stauss further added.

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Could Strauss have managed it better? Responding to the question, he commented: “It is always right to ask ourselves the question - could we have managed it differently? Could we have done it better? I definitely feel I could have done a couple of things differently. I definitely would never absolve KP from his share of the blame in everything that went on there. When I look back at it, the vast majority of the time I played cricket with KP was a really happy phase."

Concluding the discussion on the topic, former opening batsman said that

"He did brilliantly for England. He is a fantastic player, probably the best I ever played with. England got a lot of benefit from it and he got a lot of benefit from it. It was just when the alignment wasn’t there that the issues started coming in.”

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