KP: England were right to axe me

Kevin Pietersen has admitted England’s successful Ashes campaign vindicated the selectors’ decision not to pick him against Australia.

Pietersen began the season hoping for an unexpected recall to the Test team following conciliatory comments from new England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves.

But when Pietersen’s former captain Andrew Strauss was appointed as managing director, his first move was to rule out a comeback for the controversial 35-year-old, who had previously been axed by the England hierarchy following a series of rifts with his team-mates.

Pietersen was furious that Graves’ comments didn’t lead to a return from exile.

But England’s 3-2 series win over Australia to regain the Ashes had even Pietersen conceding Alastair Cook’s side had shone without him.

Speaking at the Sports Industry Breakfast Club, Pietersen said: “Absolutely it seems to be the right decision at the moment.

“I didn’t find it hard to watch at all. I love seeing England win.

“I have some real close buddies in that side and seeing them do the business was something that made me happy.

“Seeing those guys play so well and just seeing the structure and the way it has developed makes me so happy.”

With England now in his past, Pietersen’s future is primarily in domestic Twenty20 competitions, with a contract at the Pakistan Super League his latest venture.

Despite that, he cannot hide his affinity for the Test arena.

“Twenty20 cricket is here to stay, the game brings in a whole different audience to the sport, but I love Test cricket,” he said.

“We owe it to the great game to speak positively about Test cricket. It’s an amazing part of what we do and it’s the thing I miss most about the game.

“The art of that first morning, that first half an hour of a Test match. That hour before end of play. It’s all so fascinating. You don’t get that in any other version.”

“Test cricketers should get paid more, they need to know they are being looked after. With the lures of franchise cricket, we need to protect the game. Test matches should be the pinnacle.

“I would love to play Test cricket. If that can’t happen then I will just keep plying my trade anywhere I can over the next few years.”

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