London: Former captain Bob Willis has slammed star batsman Kevin Pietersen for holding England cricket to ransom through his threat to quit Test cricket at the end of the series.
The South African-born Pietersen caused a shock at the end of the drawn second Test against South Africa on Monday by saying he would announce whether he was standing down after the third and final match against the tourists later this month.
Willis said the batsman is eager to earn big money in the Indian Premier League (IPL), but not ready to play for the national team in the upcoming T20 World Cup as he retired from limited-overs cricket.
“It’s a mess. He’s clearly got his nose severely out of joint by not being included in England’s initial squad of 30 for the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September,” Willis told Sky Sports television.
“But he also wants to play fully in the IPL (Indian Premier League) which clashes directly with England’s home series with New Zealand next May. He wants to earn his $2.5 million and he is holding England to ransom,” he said.
Pietersen announced his retirement from all one-day internationals in May, but a month later, said he still hoped to play in the Twenty20 World Cup, Sport24 reports.
He explained that he did not really want to quit Twenty20 internationals but his England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) contract did not allow him to pick and choose between 50 and 20-over cricket.
Mike Gatting, another former England captain, said it would be sad if Pietersen retired from the Test scene.
“I’m not sure why he wants to quit Test cricket now, but that’s up to KP. He’s the man that makes the decisions, nobody else. It’ll be sad to lose him, but it will also give somebody else a chance to come into the England team,” Gatting said.
First Published: Thursday, August 09, 2012, 13:21