Australia coach Darren Lehmann has launched a scathing attack on Kevin Pietersen, advising the Melbourne Stars they should remove him from their playing roster next season and suggesting he’s overpaid.
Lehmann posted his strong comments during the latter stages of the Stars’ KFC Big Bash League semi-final loss to the Perth Scorchers, tagging prolific social media user Pietersen’s official Twitter handle to ensure he would see it.
Lehmann also said he didn’t “want to listen to his excuses anymore”, a criticism likely in reference to Pietersen slamming an umpiring decision while mic'd up for BBL broadcasters Channel 10.
Stars players appeared in disbelief after they had an appeal for caught behind off Sam Whiteman turned down by umpire Shawn Craig, prompting Pietersen to call it an “absolute shocker” of a decision.
“(Umpire Craig) said it could have glove, or pad. I said, well, he’s got big gloves or big pads to reach that,” Pietersen said.
“Massive, massive nick.”
Pietersen also made comments about the WACA pitch for the semi-final showdown, saying it’s one of the slowest wickets he’d played on at the venue.
He made five off 10 balls before being caught at mid-wicket off Scorchers quick Mitchell Johnson.
Pietersen was the Stars’ leading run-scorer in BBL|06, notching 268 runs at 38.28. He was the third-leading run-scorer in last summer’s tournament and second overall in BBL|04.
Since making his BBL debut, only Heat star Chris Lynn has scored more runs than him.
Pietersen has also had a number of stints in the Channel 10 commentary box for games not involving the Stars this summer.
In a match between the Brisbane Heat and the Hobart Hurricanes, Pietersen said to national selector and former Test batsman Mark Waugh, who was sitting alongside him at the time, “I’m surprised you still have a job,” while also pressing his co-commentator on why fellow Melbourne Star Glenn Maxwell wasn’t being selected in Australia’s one-day international side.
Last week, the former England batsman also questioned why Stars teammate Marcus Stoinis wasn’t made available for their vital match against the Sydney Sixers despite not playing in the ongoing ODI series Australia is contesting against Pakistan.
"I just find it bitterly disappointing that a guy can't play in a fixture for us, which is a big fixture for us, when he's sitting in a hotel room," Pietersen said.
"I'm really disappointed. I'm working with him on a personal level to improve his game so that he can benefit Australian cricket, which he could do on Sunday, if we spend more time together, but he's not going to be here."