'My loss, England's gain'

England retained the famous urn with an innings and 157-run triumph in Melbourne on Wednesday to go into next week's final Test in Sydney with an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series.

Pietersen said the captain-and-coach partnership of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower that replaced Pietersen and Peter Moores in early 2009 had played a key role in producing that triumph.

“You know what? I have never said this before, I lost the captaincy, I got rid of the captaincy for the good of English cricket, and we would not be here today if I had not done what I did then,” Pietersen told British newspapers after the Melbourne victory.

“There is no way in this world that we would have succeeded under that regime and would have won the Ashes again in Australia after 24 years. Strauss and Andy need all the plaudits for an unbelievable 18 months and an unbelievable preparation for this team, and they are the right leadership for this team.”

Pietersen paid tribute to Strauss's selflessness, which he said made him an ideal captain. “He looks after himself after he has looked after everyone else which is a great quality of a great captain,” he added.

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