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Losing captaincy helped England win Ashes - Pietersen

Pietersen celebrates in Melbourne with Matt Prior
Pietersen resigned the captaincy after coach Peter Moores was sacked

Kevin Pietersen believes it was for the "good of English cricket" he lost the England captaincy and coach Peter Moores was sacked two years ago.

Pietersen says successors Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower "need all the plaudits for an unbelievable 18 months", including a double Ashes win.

After England retained the Ashes, the batsman said: "We would not be here today if I had not done what I did.

"I got rid of the captaincy for the good of English cricket."

Victory in the fourth Test in Melbourne saw England retain the urn for the first time in 24 years, and a draw in the final Test in Sydney would bring a series win in Australia for the first time since 1987.

Strauss and Andy Flower need all the plaudits for an unbelievable 18 months and an unbelievable preparation for this team

Kevin Pietersen

"There is no way in this world that we would have succeeded under that regime and won the Ashes again in Australia after 24 years," said Pietersen.

"Strauss and Andy Flower need all the plaudits for an unbelievable 18 months and an unbelievable preparation for this team, and they are the right leadership for this team.

"They are just very good at keeping us level-headed and grounded and solid.

"[Strauss] looks after himself after he has looked after everyone else which is a great quality of a great captain."

Asked if Strauss was a better captain than him, Pietersen replied: "Who knows?

"All I can say is they have done an incredible job, and I am so happy for both of them."

Pietersen was critical of Moores in a report to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after a tour of India in late 2008 and the ECB reacted by sacking both captain and coach in early 2009, offering the skipper's job to Strauss.

"He [Strauss] gave me the phone call and said: 'The ECB want me to captain; are you OK with that?'," Pietersen recalled.

"I said 'Go for it, Straussy, you're a top man'. I said 'I'm a good mate of yours, go for it, do whatever you need to,' and I've been proved right. It was a good decision by the ECB."

Pietersen was England's best batsmen on the 2006-07 tour of Australia but still shared the ignominy of the 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

Having not scored a Test century for 18 months prior to this tour, he hit a career-best 227 and was named man of the match in England's first victory of the series in Adelaide.

Pietersen has an average of 64.8 from his five innings to date, England's third biggest contributor (324 runs) behind Alastair Cook (577 runs at an average of 115.4) and Jonathan Trott (445 at 111.3).

TOM FORDYCE'S 4TH TEST RATINGS

"It's the best feeling in my career, nothing beats this," added the 30-year-old, who was also part of the side that won the Ashes at home in 2005 and 2009, although his involvement in the latter was curtailed by injury.

"As an Englishman, winning in England in 2005 was amazing after it had not been done for a certain amount of years, but people always talked about the fact that when you go to Australia it is a different kettle of fish and the last time we came here we got hammered.

"This time we have come here knowing the preparation has been right, knowing what to expect from the crowds, from the public in the street, people in hotels and taxi drivers to players out in the middle.

"We were told to beware of this and we knew what to expect. We always thought we would do a lot better than last time, I was confident of that and that has proved right."



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see also
Swann questions Australia line-up
01 Jan 11 |  England
Flower seeks winning Ashes finale
30 Dec 10 |  England
England seal win to retain Ashes
29 Dec 10 |  England
Pietersen insists he is blameless
11 Jan 09 |  England
England captain Pietersen resigns
07 Jan 09 |  England


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