LONDON - Kevin Pietersen says England cricket director Andrew Strauss was right to overlook him for this year's Ashes test series victory over Australia.
The controversial South African-born batsman, speaking to 200 delegates at a Sports Industry Breakfast Club meeting on Thursday, was asked if his former captain Strauss made the correct move in leaving him out.
"Absolutely," replied Pietersen. "It seems to be the right decision at the moment and good luck to him.
"He's done OK. Some of the stuff he has done with the England team and with getting past players back in the dressing room is brilliant," added the country's fifth highest test run-scorer.
"There is so much knowledge out there which we missed out on in the last three or four years of my career where we could have had that impact."
Pietersen was sacked by England last year following a number of incidents that culminated in the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia during which he was accused of being disengaged from the team.
Asked on Thursday if he thought the door was now firmly bolted shut on a return, the 35-year-old replied: "If it is, it is. I'm not sitting here worrying about what has happened. I'm living my life".
The two men fell out spectacularly during the 2012 test series against South Africa when Pietersen sent provocative texts about then-captain Strauss to opposition players.
The animosity between them was re-ignited last year when Strauss made offensive comments about his former team mate while broadcasting for Sky Sports.
There was a clamour for Pietersen to be recalled in May when he smashed 355 not out for Surrey against Leicestershire, and the innings prompted a meeting with Strauss.
"I went there with a lot of positivity and left with quite a bit of negativity," Pietersen said to a smattering of laughter.
"He had a decision to make and he made his decision and it turned out absolutely fine. England won the Ashes.
"At the time I thought it was ridiculous, it was nonsense to leave me out. I might have said something stronger to him," added Pietersen.
"I am buzzing that England won and I am not looking back to the meeting in May thinking 'oh goodness, things could have been so different'. I am pretty cool about it."
Pietersen, who hit 8,181 runs in 104 tests including 23 centuries, said he had many business interests but was in no mood to quit cricket yet.
As well as turning out for Surrey this year, he has represented St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League and recently signed for the Dolphins in the South African Twenty20.
Pietersen said his first love remained test cricket and he is hoping the T20 format does not suffocate the five-day game.
"Twenty20 is going to stay for sure because that form of the game brings a whole different audience to test cricket," he explained.
"I love test cricket and I think we owe it to the great game, which is test cricket, to speak positively about it. I don't want to sit on this stage and say test cricket is dead."
Saying he wanted the structure of the five-day game to remain intact, Pietersen added: "I think test cricketers need to be paid more.
"They need to know they are being looked after a lot more so they don't think, 'oh, I'm not really making it in the test arena, I'll go over to Twenty20.
"I am not saying they don't get paid well now, and some of us playing franchise cricket earn some very good money, but we should all be saying we want to be playing test cricket, that's where we all want to be," said Pietersen.