Pietersen dropped for ODI, T20 Vs Pak

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010, 11:20 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Pietersen dropped for ODI, T20 series

England middle order batsman Kevin Pietersen has been dropped from England's limited-overs squads to face Pakistan, and will now play for Surrey for the rest of the season. This is the first time in Pietersen's career that he has been dropped by England selectors.

The England and Wales Cricket Board(ECB) confirmed the decision late on Tuesday afternoon - although Pietersen himself had inadvertently done so several hours earlier, via his Twitter feed.

Pietersen, whose current county Hampshire have been unwilling to pick him when available between international fixtures since he announced in mid-season he would be leaving them, has struggled for runs in all forms of cricket since returning from England's triumphant ICC World T20 campaign in the Caribbean in May.

England therefore hit on the idea of brokering a loan agreement between Hampshire and Surrey, to try to help the South Africa-born batsman regain his best form in time for this winter's Ashes.

Pietersen, due to play his first match for Surrey in a Clydesdale Bank 40 fixture against Worcestershire at The Oval on Wednesday, said: "While I'm naturally disappointed to have been omitted from the England squad, I fully understand the reasons why and will be doing everything I can to get back into the England team.

"I have no issue with the selectors omitting me from the limited-overs squads, and my sole focus now is working on my game ahead of an exciting winter.

"I would also like to add my huge thanks to Surrey for giving me this opportunity - and I hope I can repay them with some runs."

With Pietersen absent, England have named squads of 12 for two NatWest International Twenty20s in Cardiff and then 14 for five one-day internationals - a programme which is still in some doubt due to the 'spot-fixing' allegations against Pakistan.

Successful World T20 captain Paul Collingwood will lead a line-up staffed largely by those who accompanied him in the West Indies.

The only absentees will be Pietersen, James Tredwell, Ajmal Shahzad and the injured Michael Lumb.

Steve Davies is brought in as a specialist wicketkeeper, and an attacking batting option at the top of the order alongside previous incumbent Craig Kieswetter.

Davies - unlike Kieswetter, whose runs dried up in the mid-summer NatWest Series - is included in an ODI squad which will be led by Test and 50-over captain Andrew Strauss and will also feature Jonathan Trott and Shahzad.

All the remaining Twenty20 squad members are retained for the NatWest Series. National selector Geoff Miller explained the reasoning behind giving Pietersen a break from the international scene, and the chance to play three weeks of county cricket.

"Kevin Pietersen has been omitted from both squads, because we feel his game would be best served by getting as much cricket under his belt as possible before a long and challenging winter," he said.

"The remainder of the county season is an ideal opportunity to do just that, and we thank Surrey for giving Kevin the chance to play.

"We thank both Surrey and Hampshire for facilitating the loan period for the remainder of the county season."

Pietersen's run drought has included a failure to score an ODI fifty for 16 matches - before missing the mid-summer series against Bangladesh with an injury - and in Tests he has gone almost 18 months without a hundred.

Miller, like many others, retains great faith in the ability of Pietersen - who was England's man of the series in that march to World T20 glory.

"Kevin has proved on numerous occasions that he is a world-class player, and we know he'll benefit from getting more time in the middle to work on his batting and get his game back to the level he has shown throughout his career," he said.

The other notable selection issue revolves around England's wicketkeeping options in the shorter formats.

Kieswetter replaced Test wicketkeeper Matt Prior in the T20 and ODI squads at the start of this summer, and was seen as a significant success opening the innings with Lumb in the Caribbean.

But Miller explained: "Steven Davies has had an excellent year for Surrey this season and has earned his chance to take on the role as wicketkeeper in England's limited-overs set-up.

"As ever, the wicketkeeper's role is a fiercely-contested position in the England team, and we've no doubt Craig Kieswetter will continue to press for the chance to reclaim his place in the England ODI squad."

Surrey, meanwhile, are hoping to offset the loss of Davies to England with runs from Pietersen - at no extra expense, because of his status as a centrally-contracted player.

After England had confirmed the 30-year-old's omission, Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon said: "We are very pleased to be in a position to have agreed to the ECB's request to assist Kevin's return to form."

The Londoners' professional cricket manager Chris Adams added: "It is great to have someone of the stature and quality of Kevin Pietersen as part of Surrey cricket for the rest of the season.

"I have no doubt he will have a positive influence both on and off the pitch, and we welcome him to the club."


Write Comments