Kevin Pietersen was axed from the England set-up because team officials felt he could not be trusted.

The batsman was last week left out of the squads for the tour of the Caribbean and the ICC World Twenty20 and a settlement was reached to dissolve his central contract.

The England and Wales Cricket Board released a statement on Sunday which acknowledged Pietersen's contribution to England but added: "However, the England team needs to rebuild after the whitewash in Australia.

"To do that we must invest in our captain Alastair Cook and support him in creating a culture in which we can be confident he will have the full support of all players, with everyone pulling in the same direction and able to trust each other.

"It is for those reasons that we have decided to move on without Kevin Pietersen."

The statement raises further questions, with "confidentiality provisions" meaning no details were given of the reasons for the lack of trust in England's leading run-scorer across all formats.

Pietersen, though, has a history of clashing with authority figures in the England set-up.

He successfully lobbied in January 2009 for the removal of then coach Peter Moores, costing him his own position as captain, and almost saw his international career end in 2012 after sending derogatory text messages about then captain Andrew Strauss to members of the touring South Africa team.

Strauss wrote in his Sunday Times column: "Without trust, the team environment is stillborn. It is for this reason that Kevin Pietersen's international career had to be brought to an end."

Sunday's statement also appeared to address recent tweets from Pietersen's confidant Piers Morgan thought to relate to a team meeting held while England were trailing 4-0 in this winter's Ashes.

The broadcaster claimed Pietersen was "stabbed in the back" by England vice-captain Matt Prior after reportedly criticising then team director Andy Flower.

Wicketkeeper Prior - who famously made the initial telephone call to Pietersen which paved the way for his reintegration in 2012 - responded angrily on Twitter and was supported by all-rounder Tim Bresnan.

The ECB statement read: "Allegations have been made, some from people outside cricket, which as well as attacking the rationale of the ECB's decision-making have questioned, without justification, the integrity of the England team director and some of England's players.

"Andy Flower, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior, who have all been singled out for uninformed and unwarranted criticism, retain the total confidence and respect of all the other members of the Ashes party.

"These are men who care deeply about the fortunes of the England team and its image, and it is ironic that they were the people who led the reintegration of Kevin Pietersen into the England squad in 2012."

Pietersen's representatives at Mission Sports Management declined to respond to the statement when contacted by Press Association Sport.