|One of Australia’s all-time greats, Shane Warne has taken a shot at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), saying their “ego” forced English batsman Kevin Pietersen to retire from all limited formats of the game.
Kevin Pietersen, who wanted to retire from ODISs and continue playing T20 Internationals for the country, was denied a role in the shortest, fast-paced format and was told that if he stopped playing One-Dayers, he would have to retire from T20s as well. Pietersen had cited a super-hectic England cricket calendar as the reason for him stepping down. England have faced the daunting task of finding a replacement for him, but to get someone of the same caliber and charisma is unlikely. Pietersen was the Man of the Tournament 2 years ago, after leading England to their maiden ICC World T20 title when it happened in the Caribbean. However, he will continue to play test matches with the national team.
The star batsman will be absent for the upcoming ODI series against England’s arch-rivals Australia at home and Warne, who captained Pietersen at county side Hampshire, said England had damaged themselves.
The legendary Australian leg-spinner spoke to a local newspaper about this and was quoted saying: “Any team that hasn't got Kevin Pietersen is significantly weakened. He's a match-winner so that's a big loss.
“It staggers me and I'm very surprised that the ECB didn't try and negotiate that better, drop their egos and say, okay we understand this, and we want to keep our best players playing all the time.
“I think it's just a bit too much ego for my liking from the ECB,” he added.
“Who wouldn't want Kevin Pietersen in your side? He's a match-winner and he puts bums on seats because people love watching him play. He rubs off on the rest of the players. So to me it's a huge loss.”
Warne also compared Pietersen’s situation with that of Australia’s captain for tests and ODIs Michael Clarke, who stepped down from T20s last year.
“People might give up more one-day cricket or they might give up Twenty20. Michael Clarke's given up Twenty20 in Australia because he can't play all three forms at that level, but you can't imagine Australia dropping him and saying don't worry about one-day cricket, just stick to Tests,” he said.
England will play visitors Australia in a 5-ODI series, with the first one on Friday, the 29th of June, and there is no doubt that this will be a tough competition. However, Ian Bell, who replaced Pietersen in the ODI side, has shown great promise and potential, making a hundred and a fifty in wins against the West Indies recently.