Kevin Pietersen: No regrets about choosing England over SA

2014-10-09 11:31

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London – Maverick, innovator, game-changer, big-hitter, showman – accolades that Kevin Pietersen has lapped up ever since he decided to up sticks from his native South Africa and try his luck in England.

But when the axe fell on his decade-long England career following last winter’s 5-0 Ashes humiliation, everyone involved in the gentleman’s game knew that the one thing Pietersen was not capable of was staying tight-lipped.

A gagging order imposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board might have kept waters calm for eight months but this week a tsunami of accusations have been unleashed ahead of the launch of Pietersen’s biography – KP – with the explosive revelations matching his blistering batting style.

Tales of betrayal, back-stabbing, playground bullies, coaching tyrants and unfair dismissals span 317 gripping pages in the book and in the process have ripped the heart out of English cricket.

Pietersen accused former coach Andy Flower “of ruling by fear”, and team mates Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad were accused of bullying other members of the team.

But despite the abrupt ending to his career, with Pietersen claiming he was made a scapegoat for voicing concerns about the workings of the team, the 34-year-old has no regrets about his decision to represent England rather than the land of his birth.

Sporting a rainbow-coloured loom band made by “my boy” – his four-year-old son Dylan – on his right wrist and a black diamond pendant he bought in India around his neck, Pietersen sat down for a chat with Reuters yesterday to discuss why he is such a polarising figure.

Here is an extract from the interview:

Do you feel betrayed by England?

No, no, no, I had an unbelievably amazing career. I don't feel betrayed at all. It’s the only route I have known, here in England.

An opportunity to come to England, to play professional cricket, I didn’t believe or realise that I would end up with a career that I’ve had.

I’ve lived the dream for years and years and years.

It’s a question about betrayal because of some little patches where I’ve been unhappy and a few things that have gone wrong.

But the majority of the time it’s been amazing. Absolutely amazing.

I’ve played cricket all around the world. I’ve played at Lord’s. Surrey’s my home ground. I’ve played at all the South African grounds, the Indian grounds, the West Indian grounds, Sri Lankan grounds, the New Zealand grounds, the Australian grounds. You name it, I’ve been there.

I’ve ticked all the boxes and I’ve won so many trophies with England. Why on earth would I sit here and say I have been betrayed? No chance.

Bearing in mind the turmoil you’ve gone through with the ECB, in hindsight do you regret deciding to represent England and not South Africa?

Never, no chance, absolutely none. I’ve loved the journey. It’s been the most amazing experience.

What about the fact that if you had represented South Africa, you might have still been playing internationally?

If I played in South Africa, I might not have played international cricket.

Who knows? No one knows what would have happened.

I know what has happened over the last 15 years. Has it been amazing? The best.

If I didn’t like this place, I would leave. I am never leaving here. My wife’s English, my little boy is English. We’re incredibly happy here in England. It’s just a no-go area.

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