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Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Sunday, 11 January 2009

Pietersen insists he is blameless

Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores
The rift between Moores and Pietersen has embarrassed England cricket

Kevin Pietersen insists he did "nothing wrong" in the series of events which led to him quitting as England captain and the sacking of coach Peter Moores.

Speaking in depth for the first time since losing his job, Pietersen says he wants to captain England again.

"I risked it all because I thought it was my duty as England captain to say that things were not right," he said in his News of the World column.

"[But] I feel I've got unfinished business as captain of England."

England and Wales Cricket Board vice-chairman Dennis Amiss said the board was put in an impossible situation and had no choice but to sack Moores and accept Pietersen's resignation.

He told BBC 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "Once the information was in the public domain that Kevin Pietersen didn't want Peter Moores as his coach, it was always going to be impossible to resolve amicably and the ECB board was put in an impossible position.

"It was felt that we wanted a clean piece of paper, we wanted to rebuild, we wanted a completely unified team and the board wanted that as well especially with all the important cricket we have got coming up."

Amiss said Pietersen's ultimatum had made the situation in the squad difficult but he refused to criticise him.

He added Pietersen was a "marvellous, exciting" player whose future commitment was strongly welcomed.

"Kevin is very much part of the future. He's offered Andrew Strauss his backing, he hopes he will regain the England captaincy. He's got this will, this desire to do well in international cricket," Amiss added.

Pietersen, however, has been angered about how the story emerged and the subsequent coverage.

He said: "What hurts me was the character assassination that has been totally unfounded.

"And that is the reason why I want to get my story across so that people can understand that I have done absolutely nothing wrong."

Forced to resign over the rift with Moores, South Africa-born Pietersen gave his backing to new skipper Andrew Strauss.

I'll do whatever I can to win games of cricket for England and keep putting the smiles on the public's faces. I know how much people love watching me bat

Kevin Pietersen
"I feel it is right for me to go back and just play - to do something that I totally, totally love and which is scoring runs and more runs for England," he said.

"I am committed 100% behind the skipper and winning games of cricket.

"I will get up every day and I'll smile and do whatever I can to win games of cricket for England and keep putting the smiles on the public's faces, because I know how much people love watching me bat and that's the kind of stuff that turns me on."

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Many critics subsequently suggested Pietersen's ego had played a large part in his departure, but the gifted batsman defended his actions.

"People talk about my ego as if it's out of control. But if I had any kind of ego, I would have held on to the captaincy and taken all the privileges that go with it and all the perks," he said.

"I risked it all because it was my duty to say this was how we should move forward."

And Pietersen is confident his relationship with senior players such as fast bowler Steve Harmison and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will be unaffected by the upheaval.

"My relationship with Freddie was great and towards the end I sat down with him and I said ... 'mate, this is what is going on'," he said.

"I explained about the meetings I had had with the management over the situation with the coach.

"We had a good chat and Freddie's parting words were: 'You cannot leave as England captain.'"

Harmison also dismissed claims suggesting he and Flintoff had lobbied for Pietersen's removal as captain.

He told the Mail on Sunday: "I can say without a moment's hesitation that both Fred (Flintoff) and I supported Kevin as our captain and our leader.

"Strauss has already made his backing for Kevin quite clear and any suggestion that we turned against him when (managing director) Hugh Morris rang us for our views over the crisis is rubbish.

"I just don't accept the notion of a dressing-room rift, with players in one camp or another."

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew told BBC 5 Live Pietersen had e-mailed a strategy plan for 2009 to the ECB on New Year's Eve.

Agnew said: "In this Pietersen wrote he could not continue with Moores as coach. I understand he in fact wrote he would resign if Moores was not removed.

"He insisted he did not leak this to the media.

"Pietersen said the board took that e-mail as an offer to resign and that [Hugh] Morris accepted this in an unexpected five minute phone call.

"Pietersen formally resigned on Wednesday afternoon before he was sacked."

When unveiled as England's new permanent captain, Strauss said he saw no problem with working alongside Pietersen and that England would now put the debacle behind them.

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see also
Strauss to lead West Indies tour
07 Jan 09 |  England
Kevin Pietersen career photos
08 Jan 09 |  Cricket
Pietersen named England captain
04 Aug 08 |  England
England discord worries Butcher
06 Jan 09 |  England
Harmison calls for England unity
05 Jan 09 |  England
Gower unsure of Moores future
04 Jan 09 |  Cricket
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England

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