ECB chairman Colin Graves says he did not make any promises to Kevin Pietersen regarding his England selection chances, Sky Sports reports. Pietersen has repeatedly stated that he was told by Graves that he would be considered for England duty if he joined an English county and showed some good form. The batsman subsequently signed for Surrey and earlier this week scored a career-best unbeaten 326 in the County Championship match against Leicestershire.
But in a statement on the ECB web site, Graves said: “Kevin felt he had a lot to offer and was interested in a dialogue with the ECB, sorting things out and working together. He would love to play for England again but he wanted to contribute, whether as a player or not. “I didn’t make any promises. There were no guarantees that if he chose to exit his IPL contract, play County cricket and score runs he would be selected for England. And I said he should make any decision on his future on that basis.
“I can see something has been misunderstood around the conversation and in the following debate – and perhaps how that happened.” Pietersen met newly-appointed cricket director Andrew Strauss on Tuesday and was told at that meeting that he will not be selected for England because the ‘trust has eradicated’ between the player and the ECB. The decision to continue to exile Pietersen has been roundly criticised, with former England captain Nasser Hussain saying the national side are not currently good enough to leave out their best players.
But Graves says the trust needs to be restored before the situation can change. “Ahead of a big, busy summer of cricket, a clear decision needed to be taken,” his statement said. “Given the history and the book, the simple fact is that bridges have still not been rebuilt and trust needs to be restored. “That takes time – as Andrew Strauss made clear this week. “Kevin was told on Monday and I completely support the decision that was taken. He may not have liked what he heard but it allowed him to look at his opportunities.
“Despite everything, he can work with us to re-build the relationship and make a further contribution to English cricket. It was important he knew where he stood.” Graves was also keen to clarify his own role in conversations with Pietersen and said it was unacceptable to call his integrity into question. “I understand why people feel it’s important,” he said in a statement. “In the past few days my integrity has been called into question, something I can’t accept.
“Throughout my business career and my years at Yorkshire, integrity has been my watchword. It governs everything I do and is an important part of what I bring to the ECB. “So it saddens me that what was a private conversation with Kevin in March has been used to do just that. “Back then, when we talked on the phone, Kevin asked if I thought his England career had ended in the right manner following the last Ashes series in Australia. I agreed that nobody particularly emerged with much credit from the whole episode, particularly given his achievements for England.
“Kevin felt he had a lot to offer and was interested in a dialogue with the ECB, sorting things out and working together. He would love to play for England again but he wanted to contribute, whether as a player or not.”