Cricket Expert & Columnist
Kevin Pietersen England career over: Nasser Hussain wants real reasons
Nasser Hussain has called on the ECB to explain the real reasons for axing Kevin Pietersen.
Last Updated: 05/02/14 7:59am
England's all-time leading international run scorer has been told he will not be recalled to the side following the disastrous tour of Australia, which saw England win just one of their 13 matches in all formats and led to the departure of Andy Flower as team director
Amid rumours of dressing room unrest, Sky Sports expert Hussain believes new ECB managing director Paul Downton wants to move forward without Pietersen's disruptive influence in the dressing room, but says it's a bold move to axe such a talented cricketer.
"It is a huge decision and a massive shock coming on the back of everything else that has happened this winter," he told Sky Sports News.
"The coach has gone, their number three batsman [Jonathan Trott] went home and now arguably their best batsman has been axed.
"It's been an incredible winter and nothing seems to surprise us any more. There were rumours in Australia about things going on behind the scenes and obviously Andy Flower made his thoughts felt when he got back from Australia - and I guess Alastair Cook and Ashley Giles have made their thoughts felt.
"Paul Downton has taken the unanimous decision to move on to this new era and future without Kevin Pietersen. It's a bold move when you go without one of your best players; a man of over 8,000 Test runs.
"There must have been things happening behind the scenes that Flower and Cook weren't amused with and it would be nice to know from the ECB - if you're going to axe one of your best players - what those things are."
An ECB statement released on Tuesday evening said the decision had been a "tough" one and cited the need to "rebuild not only the team but also the team ethic and philosophy".
But Hussain wants the governing body to be more specific about the immediate circumstances behind the move, which was agreed unanimously in a meeting between Downton, captain Alastair Cook, limited-overs coach Ashley Giles and national selector James Whitaker.
"They should, in some way, let people know," he added.
"If you are going to leave out your best player - or one of your best players - they should give reasons why they are leaving him out.
"While you're still in the team or just out of the team you're not going to criticise someone in your team so there will be a bit of solidarity around, so I do think the ECB should be a little bit more forthright, otherwise people will always be saying 'why have you left him out?'
"Behind the scenes we honestly don't know what's been going on. There have just been rumours and speculation and people will say 'pick your best players and manage them and get on with it'.
"I understand that sort of thinking. I have always come from that sort of school - and the higher the level you go the more different and difficult characters you have.
"Eventually someone has just said enough is enough."
Pietersen's England career has been full of controversy. He resigned as captain following a dispute with Peter Moores in 2009 and was dropped from the team in 2012 after allegations were made that he sent disparaging text messages about Andrew Strauss to members of the South Africa team.
Hussain says the off-field issues have consistently made him a difficult personality to work with and says he might be considered a poor example to the next generation of England players.
"You want to move with your best players and it's all about management," said the former England captain.
"I always feel it is about man-management. However disruptive a player is you can always try and manage most players.
"But history tells you with Kevin that he hasn't really got a foot to stand on whether it be back in Natal; or Hampshire or Nottinghamshire; whether it be Peter Moores or Andrew Strauss or Alastair Cook or Andy Flower - wherever he's been he's been a problem.
"Eventually English cricket has said enough is enough. We are going to have young players coming into this dressing room and we want them with the right sort of characters around.
"It's always the most difficult thing in a team when your best player is being disruptive. Do you move on with that player or without him?
"Some people believe in cutting out the virus and moving on, other people say man-manage your best players. There is no easy solution.
"It won't solve the team's fortunes straight away. England certainly aren't a better team without Pietersen because he's arguably one of the best players England has ever produced.
"They are going to have to take some pain. Andy Flower said that straight away after the Sydney Test match. They would have to take some pain going into this new era and we can all see now what he meant by that."