May 30, 2014 / 10:27 PM / 4 years ago

ECB and Downton issue Pietersen apology

(Reuters) - The England and Wales Cricket Board and their managing director Paul Downton have apologised to Kevin Pietersen regarding comments he made about the former England captain earlier this month, British media reported on Friday.

England's Kevin Pietersen walks off the field after his dismissal by Australia's Mitchell Johnson during the second day of the fourth Ashes cricket test at the Melbourne cricket ground December 27, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray

Downton, who played an instrumental role in the decision to effectively end Pietersen’s international career in February, said the controversial batsman had become “disinterested” during their 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia.

Downton also said Pietersen had lost the support of the senior players in the England dressing room during the November to January test series but the batsman responded by saying his allegations were “wholly untrue”.

Pietersen also said: “I did, and continue to have a good relationship with most of the England players, which has been subsequently highlighted by a number of press interviews.”

The ECB released a statement on Friday expressing their regret over Downton’s comments.

Managing Director of England Cricket Paul Downton looks on during a news conference that confirmed Peter Moores as the new head coach of the England cricket team at Lord's cricket ground in London April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Philip Brown

“On May 22 during an interview on BBC Test Match Special, Paul Downton of the ECB made a series of comments about Kevin Pietersen with which Kevin takes issue including the comments he made regarding his perception of Kevin’s attitude during the Sydney Test on last winter’s Ashes tour,” they said.

”Some of those comments were made in breach of a settlement agreement between the ECB and Kevin Pietersen which was concluded at the time Kevin’s central contract was terminated earlier this year.

“Paul Downton and the ECB both apologise to Kevin Pietersen for those comments made that were in breach of the settlement agreement and have confirmed that they will abide by its terms moving forward.”

Pietersen was a member of victorious Ashes teams in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and is regarded as one of England’s greatest ever players having scored 8,181 runs in 104 test matches at an average of over 47.

England’s catastrophic Ashes tour also led to coach Andy Flower leaving his position along with batting coach Graham Gooch, while spinner Graeme Swann retired mid-series.

Reporting By Tom Hayward; Editing by Rex Gowar

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