Cricket Buzz: ECB and Downton issue Pietersen apology
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.
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.
"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.
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Image: Kevin Pietersen
Photographs: Getty Images
Smith has no plans to retire from cricket
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has no immediate plans to retire despite suffering another serious injury and sending what seemed a farewell message earlier this week.
Smith, who is set for surgery in Cape Town after fracturing his knee playing for English county side Surrey, told South Africa’s Eye Witness News on Friday he hoped to continue his career.
“I have unfortunately gone there two years in a row and picked up two pretty serious injuries, which curtailed my time at the club. It has been disappointing. The club wants me back. If I can get back this season, that would be good,” he said.
The 33-year-old Smith wants to compete in domestic cricket for the Cape Cobras in the next season and possibly play in Twenty20 cricket in Australia.
He announced his shock retirement from international cricket in March after playing 117 Tests, 109 as captain.
“But I guess for me, it's just about getting the knee done and going through the recovery process. Hopefully in that period, I can decide what the right way forward is for me at this stage in my career.”
Smith was diagnosed with a fracture in the tibial tuberosity of the right knee last week after playing through several matches with painkillers.
His first season in country cricket last year was cut short by a serious ankle injury and he managed just five championship appearances this summer.
Smith appeared to tweet a farewell to the club on Monday: “Injuries are always tough especially when you feel job is half done. Sad to be leaving @surreycricket today but wish the club and team well.
"Team is young but has great potential. I look forward to seeing the growth in performance and stature over the next few weeks. It's been a privilege to be a part of @surreycricket and thank everyone at the club!”
Image: Graeme Smith of South Africa acknowledges the crowd
Photographs: Tom Shaw/Getty Images
Ex-England spinner Emburey has skin cancer
Former England international John Emburey has undergone surgery after being diagnosed with skin cancer.
The 61-year-old offspinner, who took 147 wickets in 64 Tests, says his condition "isn't the most aggressive form or life-threatening" and can be eliminated through surgery.
Emburey says being exposed to the sun while playing cricket may have contributed to him getting cancer.
He says in Saturday's edition of British newspaper The Sun that "it's the result of playing cricket for so many years, not wearing a hat and not wearing sun cream."
Image: John Emburey
Photographs: Adrian Murrell/Allsport