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Kevin Pietersen says England return on if ECB chief quits

England exile Kevin Pietersen has said he could yet return to international duty if England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke quits his post.

cricket Updated: Oct 10, 2014 03:17 IST
England,Kevin Pietersen,ECB

England exile Kevin Pietersen has said he could yet return to international duty if England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke quits his post.

Thursday saw Pietersen's controversial autobiography finally go on general sale after days of pre-publicity in which the South Africa-born batsman, England's leading all-time run-scorer, highlighted a "bullying" culture within the England dressing room and was severely critical of the management methods of former England coach Andy Flower.

It is hard to imagine the circumstances in which Pietersen might make an international return - not least because he did not play County Championship cricket for Surrey last season.

But the 34-year-old has not given up hope and having previously focused much of his ire on Flower and several former teammates, Thursday saw him turn his attention to Clarke.

"What would have to happen for me to be recalled by England?" Pietersen asked in an interview with the London Evening Standard. "Clearly, the boss would have to go.

"Clarke would have to go, and I've been hearing that could happen in the next few months. That's all hearsay, you never know. If there is a change at the top, there is potential, but we will wait and see."

It was Clarke who oversaw an uncomfortable press conference alongside Pietersen in Colombo in 2012 where he star batsman was formally reintegrated into the England team.

That followed a three-month banishment after Pietersen sent text messages critical of then England captain Andrew Strauss to opposition South Africa players during a home series with the Proteas.

"Giles pulls a lot of strings. In terms of cricket, I believe Andy Flower pulls a lot of strings too," Pietersen told the Standard.

"He has Giles Clarke in his pocket."

Smith support

One of the main points in Pietersen's book is that senior England bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, assisted by wicketkeeper Matt Prior, operated a "bullying" culture where they demanded apologies from fielders who made mistakes, but only if they were not in their own clique.

Thursday saw former South Africa captain Graeme Smith join ex-Australia skipper Ricky Ponting in supporting Pietersen's viewpoint.

"Some of the stuff that he touches on in his book I certainly can believe," Smith said in an interview with Johannesburg-based radio station Highveld FM.

"Having played against them we always used to say if we could get a win or get ahead, that they would turn on each other," added the former batsman, who retired earlier this year, in words that were strikingly similar to those used by Ponting in an interview with the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.

Smith, who had an often fractious relationship with Pietersen, also implicitly criticised the England management for the fact Pietersen was no longer an international cricketer

"KP is a draw card and world cricket loves to watch him play the game," he added.

"I think it's sad he is not playing international cricket anymore and I think English cricket is worse off without him.

"Man-management is probably a big factor in why he is not there."

The ECB have steadfastly declined to respond to Pietersen's autobiography and they had no comment to make regarding his comments about Clarke.

Former captain Pietersen, having been a key figure in one of the most successful of all England cricket sides, was effectively sacked by the ECB without being told specifically why following the team's 5-0 Ashes series loss in Australia concluded in January.

England opening great Geoffrey Boycott, speaking to the Cricinfo website, said on Thursday: "I'd be miffed if my career had been finished for no reasons given."

First Published: Oct 10, 2014 03:10 IST