Pietersen plays straight bat to Swann questions

03:27, Dec 24 2013
Kevin Pietersen
UNDER PRESSURE: Kevin Pietersen arrives at Melbourne Airport.

Kevin Pietersen has reaffirmed his commitment to playing for England, saying he was currently "as good as gold", as Graeme Swann reiterated his parting sledge was not directed at his former teammates.

Displaying all the confidence which has made him one of the star batsmen of the modern era, Pietersen said he was "batting as well as I've ever batted" despite his lean series and called himself a "clown" for his first-innings dismissal to Peter Siddle in Adelaide.

But he refused to be drawn into the controversy started by Swann.

Swann used his column with England's The Sun newspaper to emphatically deny his comments that current international players "have no idea how far up their own backsides they are" was not directed at Pietersen.

"I'd like to make it clear that I wasn't talking about Kevin Pietersen or any England player when I made some comments during my retirement press conference," Swann wrote.

"Myself and Kev have had a very good working relationship and the way he has reintegrated himself back into the team during the last year has been spot-on."

Pietersen was defiant, frank and forthright during a rare 10-minute press appearance but most fiery when the Swann subject was broached, saying his interest levels in yesterday are less than zero".

Asked if he believed Swann's comments were referring to him, Pietersen said: "Have you been on the boundary? You should come and field with me on Thursday or Friday and see what I get called on the boundary."

"It's a lot worse things I've been called but yesterday was a family day and I'm not giving any energy to what happened yesterday. The only energy I've got on this tour left in me is for Melbourne on the 26th, training today and training tomorrow, and for Sydney."

On Swann's decision to retire mid-series, Pietersen said: "Everybody makes decisions, they all make decisions."

"He's 34-year-old grown man, he's had a fantastic career for England, it gives Monty Panesar a fantastic opportunity to now become a great bowler and you all know what I think of left-arm spinners."

Pietersen's commitment to England has been questioned throughout this series after a string of cavalier dismissals which led to former great Geoff Boycott labelling him a "mug".

Pietersen, however, said he would stick with the flair and aggression which has netted him 8052 test runs and has him sitting fifth on England's all-time runs-scorer's list.

"I've got myself in every single time. I felt like a clown in Adelaide when I hit that ball to mid-wicket to Siddle, I just didn't feel good at the crease at all - some days you have them," said Pietersen, who is averaging 27.5 this series.

"Every single other time I've batted I've felt really, really good. I've got myself in every single time I've batted. Then a couple of times I got myself out and couple of times fortune didn't favour the brave.

"It's just a case making sure I keep doing what I do because it's proved successful.

"If a situation dictates a certain way I play I've proved it over the last however many years I'll play to the situation of the game.

"I haven't got a hundred [this series], I might get one on Thursday and might be sitting here all nice and happy."

Pietersen remains committed to playing for England, his goal of scoring 10,000 Test runs and winning the 2015 World Cup.

"I'm 33 years of age, I'm batting as well as I've ever batted, I'l retire when I can't get up to play for England, I'm good as gold at the moment," Pietersen said.

"I don't know why you have to ask me. I wake up every single day trying to improve.

Pietersen denied England's team spirit had fractured but admitted the morale in any losing dressing room would never be high.

"When you win it's great, when you lose it's not, it's simple. You ask any sports player, you ask any sports coach, you ask anybody, when you lose it's great, when you lose it's not," Pietersen said.

"There's nothing you can do about it.

"The pride is there, the passion is there but when you lose there's a lot of people taking pot shots at a dressing room.

"If you guys came to any of our team meetings or took a real good look into the way the boys are training they're trying their backsides off. 

"Some days they win, some days it works, some days it doesn't. That's what you sign up for in sport, you can't always win mate."


Fairfax Media