MELBOURNE- Colourful England batsman Kevin Pietersen rebuffed suggestions Tuesday he might be next to quit after Graeme Swann’s shock exit and expressed “less than zero” interest in the spinner’s retirement saga.
Pietersen, who notched his 100th Test during this Ashes series in Brisbane, also brushed off questions about the tourists’ troubled Australia campaign signalling a changing of the guard for the side following Swann’s retirement and return home of Jonathan Trott with a stress-related illness.
“I’m 33 years of age, I’m batting as well as I’ve ever batted,” the English linchpin told reporters in Melbourne when asked whether he could be the next to call it a day.
“I’ll retire when I can’t get up to play for England, I’m good as gold at the moment.”
He would not be drawn on the furore over Swann’s shock decision to walk away from the team and suggestions that his remarks about some players having “no idea how far up their own backsides they are” were directed at Pietersen.
“I’m not giving any energy to what happened yesterday, the only energy that I’ve got on this tour left in me is for Melbourne on the 26th, training today, training tomorrow and Sydney,” he said.
“My interest levels in yesterday are less than zero.”
Asked whether England could be entering a period of renewal after losing three Tests to Australia on the trot and conceding the Ashes with two games left to play, Pietersen was pragmatic.
“I think we’ve proved that we’re world-class players. You don’t play three Test matches and become horrendous cricketers, you don’t turn up on an Australian tour and lose 5-0 and never have a good day in your career again,” the combative batsman said.
“I haven’t got a clue what’s going to happen but I know — and that’s what keeps a smile on our faces — the guys that were here in 2006-2007 know, that good things do happen. The sun comes up, you leave, you go home and you turn things around.”
Pietersen said the Australians had played “much better cricket” and England had been “hurt big-time here” but team morale wasn’t too bad and there had been some constructive talk in the dressing room ahead of Thursday’s Boxing Day Test.
“We’ve had some fairly decent conversations over the last few days on how we want to now try and turns things around. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to a lot of people who’ve paid a lot of money to come over here and support us,” he said.
“We’ve let a lot of people down and we now need to turn ourselves on, and that starts today.”