Pietersen says Warne row left on the field

Published: Monday, November 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Brisbane:England batsman Kevin Pietersen said he bore no grudge with Australia's Shane Warne after the pair clashed during the Ashes opener at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Pietersen, also known as KP in English dressing room, yelled an obscenity at Warne after the Australian leg-spinner hurled the ball at his head during a tense period of play on day four of the first Test Sunday. Pietersen was forced to swat the ball away with his bat.

The confrontation followed criticism that the two players, who are team-mates with English county Hampshire, were too friendly for members of opposing Ashes sides.

The 26-year-old right-hander told ABC radio after England lost the Test by 277 runs that the argument with Warne was "just playing nice, hard cricket" and would not affect their off-field relationship.

"What happens on the field stays on the field, it's got nothing to do with what happens off the field," South African-born Pietersen said.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who was receiving treatment for a strained back at the time of the confrontation, said both fans and players would relish the prospect of more Warne and Pietersen showdowns during the Ashes.

"Going on yesterday it looks like it will be an on-going battle," he said.

"I wasn't out there amongst it yesterday, it would have been nice to listen in to what was being said, I also saw it on television.

"They are two very feisty and competitive players, so there's no doubt that Shane will be bowling a lot to Kevin as the series go on.

"He (Pietersen) seems like he enjoys the battle as well, so the fans and the players can look to it all summer."

The clash came during Pietersen's 153-run fourth-wicket stand with Paul Collingwood, virtually the only period England was on top during the match.

Collingwood, who was at the other end, played down the incident and said both Pietersen and Warne would not let the incident affect their friendship.

''Youre facing world-class bowlers but also people trying to get into your minds. Im sure KP and Warne will kiss and make up,'' Collingwood was quoted by 'The Sun' as saying.

''KP is a guy who likes a challenge. Thats why, when he comes up against the best players in the world, he wants to prove himself.

Hes up for a fight as well. You could say he thrives on that sort of confrontation,'' he added.

Pietersen said the period of dominance allowed England to salvage some pride after a desperate performance early in the match.

"We needed to go out there in the second innings and show some dedication," he said.

"We started off really badly in the first three days so we had to go at it and show some determination, some sort of grit and commitment."

He said England would be looking to display similar fighting qualities from the start of the Adelaide Test beginning Friday.

"The last 24-36 hours have been very encouraging for England and hopefully we can build on that and take it into the next Test."

He was optimistic about England's Ashes defence, comparing the Gabba loss to the one his side suffered in the first Test of the 2005 series at Lord's but still went on to win international cricket's oldest prize.

"We (have) started very slowly but we started very slowly at Lord's last year so hopefully the boys can swing it around and come back from there and we can go forward."


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