Exclusive: Ian Chappell blasts England’s ‘ludicrous’ sacking of Kevin Pietersen

EXCLUSIVE: Former Australia captain Ian Chappell describes England decision to sack Kevin Pietersen as "ridiculous"

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
kevin pietersen
Kevin Pietersen played 104 Test matches for England Photo: The Sport Review

Ian Chappell has branded England’s decision to sack Kevin Pietersen as “ludicrous” and has criticised Alastair Cook’s captaincy.

The controversial batsman was released early from his central contract in February as the 33-year-old was the big-name casualty following England’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia this winter.

The ECB defended their decision to get rid of the batsman, who has scored over 8,000 Test runs, claiming it was necessary to allow Cook to cultivate an atmosphere of trust in the England dressing room.

Any England player who wasn’t exasperated by Alastair Cook’s captaincy, well they are the ones who should have been sacked. Not someone who was exasperated by it

Ian Chappell

“The England team needs to rebuild after the whitewash in Australia,” said an ECB statement last month.

“To do that we must invest in our captain Alastair Cook and we must support him in creating a culture in which we can be confident he will have the full support of all players.”

However, former Ashes-winning Australia captain Chappell believes more England players should have joined South Africa-born Pietersen in rebelling against Cook’s captaincy.

“That [the Pietersen sacking] was a ludicrous decision,” Chappell told The Sport Review following the ESPNcricinfo awards 2013, which recognises the best individual batting and bowling performances in cricket over the calendar year.

“Any England player who wasn’t exasperated by Alastair Cook’s captaincy, well they are the ones who should have been sacked. Not someone who was exasperated by it. It’s a ridiculous decision.”

Asked whether Australia captain Michael Clarke would have handled a character like Pietersen more astutely than Cook, Chappell replied: “I don’t think Pietersen would have got exasperated with Michael Clarke’s captaincy.”

On the topic of Clarke’s leadership, Chappell believes that the Aussie skipper has played a crucial role in nurturing the best form out of fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who will miss the T20 World Cup through injury.

“I think Clarke has got the best out of him,” Chappell added.

“A lot of other people have been trying to get him to swing the ball and worry about his action so he gets it right and swings it.

“Michael Clarke was the guy who said, ‘Mate just run in and bowl fast, don’t worry about anything else’. I think that’s how he operates best.”

ESPNcricinfo’s T20 World Cup content includes news analysis and live ball-by-ball coverage available online and on a host of mobile platforms and handheld devices. www.espncricinfo.com

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