KP defiant despite ECB warning to keep mum

Published: Friday, December 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Unfazed by an ECB warning, Kevin Pietersen says he stands by his allegations of racism and corruption in South African cricket.

''I stand by it. I'm entitled to my own opinion. Some people might not like it. I've said what I have to say,'' Pietersen told 'The Australian'.

Pietersen had once again criticised the selection process in the country of his birth in a recent interview to a magazine. The swashbuckling middle-order bat surprisingly praised disgraced former South African captain the late Hansie Cronje for being a great leader despite being at the centre of the 2001 match-fixing scandal.

The England player claimed that Cronje chose to fall from grace to shield the other culprits in his team.

''At the end of the day (cheating) is wrong ... but I can see how it happens. Hansie copped a lot more than he should have. I think he took the brunt for the players. There are a lot of people who I think that have done stuff that people don't know about and got away with it,'' Pietersen had told the GQ magazine's South SAfrican edition.

The comments infuriated Cricket South Africa which lodged a formal complaint with the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit prompting the England and Wales Cricket Board to ask the player to desist from any further outbursts. ECB chief executive David Collier confirmed that the player has been warned.

The CSA, in its complaint, challenged Pietersen to give evidence on the involvement of any South African player - apart from those indicted by the board's inquiry commission - in the match-fixing scandal.

However, Pietersen has reportedly denied having any specific information. CSA wants the player to be punished by the ICC if he fails to back his claims with evidence but the governing body has so far chosen to remain mum on the issue.


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