Kevin Pietersen England career over: Bob Willis says it's time for England to start afresh
'It's a shame but clearly everybody wanted KP out of the the door...'
By Bob Willis
Last Updated: 05/02/14 8:10am
Kevin Pietersen has been a controversial figure throughout his career and has been accused of causing disruption and unrest in the England change room.
Pietersen met with England's senior management earlier this week and was told of their unanimous decision not to recall him for the trip to the Caribbean next month and the tournament in Bangladesh.
And despite being one of the best batsmen in the world, Bob Willis says that the fact that the ECB are ready to lose Pietersen's prodigious talents with the bat, shows how much damage that think he has caused in the change room.
"It is a dramatic decision and one that one that really says that England have got to move on," said Willis on Sky Sports News.
"As far as playing ability you would have to say that England cannot really do without him but this shows what a negative influence they think he has been in recent years.
"Captain and team directors have all suffered because of his behaviour within that team environment. This is the end of the road for Kevin Pietersen as a England cricketer.
"Let's be honest Kevin Pietersen has disrupted every single dressing room he has ever been in whether it was Natal in South Africa, Nottinghamshire or Hampshire - I don't think he has played enough games to disrupt the Surrey dressing room yet," added Willis.
"Clearly there have been all the issues from England too, the fracas with Peter Moores, Textgate with Andrew Strauss on the South African tour. Everyone was really towing the party line in Australia about his relationship with Andy Flower and the rest of the team but clearly there were problems. It's time to move on now, that line in the sand has been drawn. No man is bigger than the game and they have decided that KP got too big for his boots in the England setup.
"It's a shame when a player who still has something to give departs the international scene. But clearly everybody wanted him out the door. It is very sad, he has been a marvellous player."
Despite the controversy, Pietersen was still a superb batsman and Willis hopes that cricket fans will remember him more for what he did with the bat on the field than what happened in the dressing room.
"I hope they do remember him smashing Shane Warne all over the place at the Oval filled to capacity but there has always been that sour taste left in the mouth. We did lots of vox pops with people leaving the grounds - yes they wanted Pietersen's runs but they did not want him as an individual in the side. The same was said about Geoffrey Boycott when he was a controversial figure in the England dressing room - they want my runs but they did not want me.
"He ranks very highly. With the advent of T20 cricket he brought something fresh to the game. There was something special about him, something that we had not seen from and English batsman for a long time. Pietersen at the top of the order against some of the best bowlers around did make them look very ordinary indeed.
"At the height of his powers I likened him to Vivian Richards who was the best batsman I ever bowled against and the best batsman I have ever seen. At the height of Pietersen's powers he was not that far behind Richards."