England national selector James Whitaker has refused to reveal why Kevin Pietersen’s international career had been cut short, citing legal reasons.
Whitaker, in his first public appearance since replacing Geoff Miller as England’s selection supremo, was the first member of the England and Wales Cricket Board hierarchy to comment since a carefully-worded statement issued on Tuesday signalled the end of star batsman Pietersen’s time in the international game.
The intervening 48 hours had seen the ECB widely criticised by the likes of England great Ian Botham for failing to provide a specific reason as to why Pietersen, England’s leading run scorer across all international formats, had been jettisoned.
That left a statement which spoke of a need “to rebuild not only the team but also the team ethic and philosophy” after England’s 5-0 Ashes series thrashing in Australia.
Whitaker, asked about Pietersen’s England exile, told Sky Sports: “That is a legal position and at the moment I’m not at liberty to say.”
Whitaker’s mobile phone then appeared to ring and the interview was briefly halted.
But when it resumed, he added: “Unfortunately I’m not in a position to reiterate what reasons there have been.”
Thursday saw Whitaker announce England’s first ‘post-Pietersen’ squads for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and the preceding limited overs series in the West Indies.
“The one-day international team and the England Twenty20 team has played a number of matches over the last 12 months or so without Kevin and, on occasion, performed very well, and I would hope that’s the case going forward,” said former batsman Whitaker, a ‘one Test wonder’ against Australia in 1986.
“It’s still a surprise going to an ICC competition without one of your leading run-scorers but the players and management are well rehearsed in coping without him.
“What I can say is this is a group of players who can look forward to re-energising the team going forward with different values, (to) re-evaluate the culture of the team.
“England, over the last four or five years, have shown these good values.
“Over time they can dissipate a little but now is a good time to rewrite those values.”
Uncapped duo Moeen Ali and Stephen Parry were included in a 15-man group for both events, while fellow newcomer Harry Gurney will head to the West Indies.
The only time England have won a major limited overs international trophy was when, with Pietersen playing a leading role, they triumphed at the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
England tour squad for the West Indies:
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire, capt), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Harry Gurney (Nottinghamshire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Michael Lumb (Nottinghamshire), Stephen Parry (Lancashire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Tredwell (Kent), Luke Wright (Sussex)