Former England skipper Michael Vaughan says the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) must now consider the return of Kevin Pietersen following the resignation of managing director Paul Downton.
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Downton played a leading role in Pietersen’s sacking following England’s 5-0 Ashes loss in Australia last year, and Vaughan believes the decision “haunted” the former ECB managing director during his year in the role.
Vaughan says the ECB must now consider selecting Pietersen for the upcoming Ashes series if he shows good form with the bat for Surrey during the County season.
“For Paul, Kevin Pietersen haunted him and in a nutshell that whole saga is why we have to change,” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.
“Kevin is back playing county cricket and he has to be in a system where players are judged on performance. If he is one of the top seven batsmen in England by the time the Ashes start then England have to consider him.
“It is about picking teams to win games. People have to be old enough and mature enough to look each other in the eye and say we have messed up.”
While admitting that Pietersen was no angel during his time in the England side, Vaughan says that selectors must pick the best 11 players regardless, citing the uneasy but successful relationship between Australia skipper Michael Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann.
“KP has done some bad things but so have some of the other players in the England team. They have got to be man enough to accept it is about winning.
“I have just been in Australia and I never heard much about a comfortable relationship between Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann but they seem to make it work. Perhaps you need a bit of an edge in your team.
“Sport should never change. It is about picking the best 11 players to win games for the team. Captains, managing directors, coaches, selectors and players will be judged on winning and playing a brand of cricket people want to watch. Fans are excited by teams taking risks and bringing KP back is a big one.
“English cricket has to face up to that decision.”
Downton resigned from his post on Wednesday following significant public pressure after England’s horror performance at the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Peter Moores’ side was eliminated in the group stage after losing four of its six matches, with England’s only wins coming against minnows Scotland and Afghanistan.