Defending his former Hampshire teammate over a retirement row, spin legend Shane Warne has criticized the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over their treatment of Kevin Pietersen.
Despite being dubbed 'The Ego' by the Australian media, Warne believes Pietersen should have been allowed to play Tests and Twenty20 cricket if he wanted to.
Instead, the ECB stuck to its policy that states no player can give up one-day cricket without giving up Twenty20 as well.
Warne said: "Any team that has not got Kevin Pietersen is significantly weaker. He's a match-winner so that's a big loss. It staggers me and I'm very surprised the ECB didn't try and negotiate that better, drop their egos and say, 'OK we understand this, we want to keep our best players playing all the time'.
"People might give up more one-day cricket or they might give up Twenty20. Michael Clarke's given up Twenty20 cricket in Australia because he can't play all three forms at that level. It's just a bit too much ego for my liking from the ECB. Who wouldn't want Kevin Pietersen in your side?
"He's a match-winner and puts bums on seats because people love watching him play, and he rubs off on the rest of the players. Australia will look at that team without Kevin in it and they will feel a lot better bowling to the rest of the players instead of Kevin Pietersen," The Daily Mirror quoted him, as saying.
The teams go head to head over a five-match Natwest series starting on Friday and even though Australia is ranked No.1 in the world, Warne still sees England as favourites at home.