sport

Swann puzzled by KP decision

Graeme Swann insists he was "baffled" by England's decision to dump Kevin Pietersen earlier this week.

Former England spinner Swann, who announced his own retirement from cricket midway through the tour of Australia this winter, is unable to shed any light on the reasons behind the ECB's decision to move forward without Pietersen.

Pietersen, 33, was initially dropped from the England side in the summer of 2012 after sending provocative text messages about then captain Andrew Strauss to South African players.

However Swann feels that Pietersen's attitude improved following his 'reintegration' back into the squad.

Writing in his column in The Sun, Swann said: "I'll be honest about Kevin Pietersen - myself and several other England players were not exactly members of his fan club during the Textgate scandal of 2012.

"But I changed my opinion of him once he was reintegrated back into the England team towards the end of that year.

"He made a huge effort to improve his attitude around the dressing room. I saw or heard no issues with him in Australia this winter, his approach was exceptional.

"That's why I was baffled on Tuesday when he was effectively sacked as an England player."

Swann added: "Looking back, I could understand if Kevin's career with England had finished after Textgate. But to go through the reintegration process and then, just 15 months later, discard him for good seems very strange.

"Clearly, Kevin must have upset people enough for the England hierarchy to decide he is no longer wanted. Don't forget we're not talking about a middling player here - we're talking about a batsman of sublime talent.

"As I say, I saw nothing while I was on the Ashes tour. His approach was spot-on.

"Until the powers that be shed some light on the situation we are left only with conjecture and rumour.

"I'm sure every cricket fan would like to know more detail because Kevin is the player more than any other who puts bums on seats.

"Let's hear the truth so all the speculation disappears."