London: Kevin Pietersen returned to County Championship cricket to win back his England place after being offered a “clean slate” by England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves, the batsman said on Saturday.

However only this week it emerged he was told by new England cricket director Andrew Strauss that a “massive trust issue” remained and that was the reason given to Pietersen for his exclusion from the national side.

Pietersen was sacked by England 15 months ago in the wake of the Ashes whitewash in Australia but appeared to believe he could play his way back into the team following telephone conversations with Graves before he took up office.

But his hopes of a return this summer were quashed when, just hours after scoring a maiden triple-century for Surrey against Leicestershire, he was told by Strauss that he would not be selected. Graves said on Friday that he “didn’t make any promises” to Pietersen and the 34-year-old admits that is the case, but on Saturday, in response to a comment on Twitter, Pietersen said: “Exactly -- no one is guaranteed selection. I was told there was a CLEAN SLATE. I wanted to earn my place back.”

Busy Strauss
Strauss has spent his first week in his new position firefighting after overseeing the sacking of coach Peter Moores and then deciding there was no way back into the team after all for Pietersen.

Graves only took office on Friday but one of his first actions as chairman was to defend his integrity in an ECB blog after Pietersen accused the governing body of being “incredibly deceitful”.

“Throughout my business career and my years at Yorkshire, integrity has been my watchword. It governs everything I do and is an important part of what I bring to the ECB,” he wrote.

“I didn’t make any promises. There were no guarantees that if he chose to exit his IPL (Indian Premier League) contract, play county cricket and score runs he would be selected for England — and I said he should make any decision on his future on that basis.”