Pietersen out in the cold
Kevin Pietersen’s absence from international cricket continued today after he was left out of England’s squad for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka as well as the group for the one-day series against South Africa.
Michael Lumb, the Nottinghamshire opener, and Sussex allrounder Luke Wright, who were both part of the team that won the title in 2010, are recalled in the 15-man squad.
Ravi Bopara, whose summer has been interrupted by personal problems, secures a place in both the T20 and one-day squads.
Stuart Broad, who captains England in Twenty20, has been rested from the one-day series against South Africa with the selectors feeling he will benefit from a break before leading the side next month. James Anderson, Broad’s new-ball partner in Tests, does make the squad while Danny Briggs is the second specialist spinner..Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: “Stuart Broad has an important period coming up leading our T20 side and with a three-match series followed closely by the ICC World T20 we feel a two week break from cricket is in the best interests of both Stuart and the team.
Pietersen’s omission was expected following the controversial last few weeks which included being dropped for the final Test against South Africa at Lord’s.
Although he apologised to the ECB for ‘provocative’ texts he sent to South African players during the Headingley Test the board indicated there will not be any swift conclusion and return for Pietersen.
Andy Flower, the England team director, said: “It’s a sad situation for everyone involved. He played superb in the last Twenty20 World Cup but the circumstances at the moment mean he can’t be selected,” he told Sky Sports News.
“There are still issues unresolved and we will be addressing those when we have time.”Let me be clear, this is not just an issue between the captain and Kevin. There are deeper issues, certainly of trust and mutual respect that need to be addressed. Those issues have to be resolved before there is anyway forward.”
Pietersen was Man of the Tournament in the Caribbean when England won their first global trophy, but in June retired from limited-overs internationals after deciding to quit 50-over cricket which made him unavailable for Twenty20 under the terms of the central contracts. However, following the Headingley Test against South Africa he had a u-turn and via a video on YouTube made himself available for all international cricket before, the next day, being left out of the Test side.
Most of the players selected have been part of England’s Twenty20 cricket this year, but Wright and Lumb both last played in June 2011 against Sri Lanka at Bristol. The pair enjoyed impressive Friends Life t20 seasons, with Wright making 309 runs at a strike-rate of 161.78 while Lumb made 252 runs in eight matches. Wright also struck a 44-ball hundred during the Big Bash League in Australia.
Lumb formed England’s opening partnership alongside Craig Kieswetter during the 2010 tournament in West Indies but his career took a slump, not helped by injury, following that event before his move to Nottinghamshire sparked a revival this season.
The same 15-man squad will face South Africa in three matches next month. England begin the defence of their title against Afghanistan on September 21.