Salisbury JournalNo way back for Pietersen - Downton (From Salisbury Journal)

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No way back for Pietersen - Downton

Salisbury Journal: ECB managing director Paul Downton has stressed England are moving on without Kevin Pietersen, pictured ECB managing director Paul Downton has stressed England are moving on without Kevin Pietersen, pictured

Kevin Pietersen, and his supporters, can no longer be in the slightest doubt that he will ever play for England again - after the clearest of management statements at Lord's.

England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton was utterly unequivocal - during Saturday's press conference to confirm Peter Moores' second stint as head coach - that Pietersen will never be invited back.

It was Downton who oversaw England's decision to part ways with the South Africa-born batsman two months ago, having witnessed for himself and heard from others that Pietersen's presence no longer seemed to be in the team's best interests.

Within days of taking up his new role at the start of this year, Downton was struck by Pietersen's evident 'disengagement' in the England team which lost the final Test in Sydney to confirm their embarrassing Ashes whitewash.

The ECB's explanations for effectively ending Pietersen's international career have contained only limited detail - with reference to issues of "trust" and "team ethics" - but assurances of permanence have always been steadfast.

Downton was all the more so, interjecting after Moores was asked whether there might ever be any prospect of a return for Pietersen.

"The sooner we understand that Kevin has had his time, the better," said Downton, who made it clear that the player himself eventually concluded it was best for his central contract to end.

"We are moving on without him.

"We sat down, talked through it over a number of hours - and he was the one, in the end, who wanted to terminate his contract.

"We came to an agreement to do that.

"He is free to play wherever he wants around the world, but the sooner we can focus on young players coming through the more everyone will enjoy it."

Downton was convinced almost immediately that England needed a solution to the Pietersen problem.

"Go back to Australia and watch what happened.

"What you saw was a senior England player who had become disconnected from the team.

"I watched every ball of that Sydney Test, and I've never seen anyone so disengaged from what was going on.

"What you need from a senior player is backing, support, everyone working together - and we'd just got to a stage where that was no longer the case."

Downton's first significant task in his new role was to address difficulties which were becoming apparent during England's Ashes defeat.

"I arrived in Sydney on December 31, and it was clear from meeting [then team director] Andy Flower that there were two major issues.

"He was uncertain about his future and whether he wanted to stay and what we were going to do about Kevin.

"The issue was that you had a senior England player who had got disconnected from the team.

"I spent two to three weeks speaking to all the coaches who were on that trip, several senior players, to the captain, to James Whitaker - and we came to the conclusion, a unanimous one, that if England will rebuild after a very disappointing loss then we had to make a decision."

Downton's hope is that, without Pietersen, a 'new era' can flourish under Moores and captain Alastair Cook.

"We had to build not for the next three months, but the next two, three, five years.

"For the side to grow... we had to invest in new players and we had to build a new team with some core values.

"It was decided that wouldn't happen with Kevin in the side.

"We decided not to select him. I don't see any intention of going back."

Speculation has been rife about what may or may not have happened between Pietersen and his team-mates.

But Downton added: "If you are looking for a smoking gun, there are no specific issues.

"During 10 years we had a strong side, strong leadership in terms of established captains and coaches, and that side could accommodate Kevin.

"That balance has shifted. We have to invest in new players and a new side won't accommodate Kevin. It's as simple as that.

"It's about... what is best for English cricket."

Moores, whose first stint as England coach ended in his sacking in 2009 after a power struggle with then captain Pietersen, will not have to renew the association.

Pietersen, perhaps pre-empting England's confirmation of Moores as coach, this morning tweeted: "Everyone deserves a 2nd chance!"

Asked to respond, a chuckling Moores said: "Good tweet."

Pushed on the same topic, he added: "I never fell out with Kevin. Kevin fell out with me.

"There's a noble difference."

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