The South African-born star batsman was splashed on the front page of the local newspaper in Brisbane this week under the headline: “He’s so arrogant not even his own team likes him.”
But Pietersen, 33, tagged “Mr Ego” by the Brisbane Courier-Mail, responded to the claims at a media conference before tomorrow’s first Test at the Gabba.
“I’ve got to be confident in my ability,” he said.
“Clearly, as a South African coming into England, I had to really fight some tough battles and had to be single-minded in achieving what I’ve had to try and achieve.
“I can’t help people thinking that I’m arrogant. I think a lot of great sportsmen out there have that little bit of something to them that makes them try and be the best and want to be the best. I call it confidence. You guys (media) call it arrogance, it makes for better headlines.”
There has been speculation that Pietersen might retire after this Ashes series, but he made it clear he has unfinished business ahead. Pietersen wants to retire with 10,000 Test runs (he currently has 7,887), he wants to win the 2015 World Cup with England and he wants to score a Test century in his country of birth, South Africa.