Chennai, March 7: It seems his burdensome roles with the bat and the ball have taken their toll on Kevin Pietersen. The England opening batsman has contracted a hernia and will return home to undergo remedial surgery, effectively ending his World Cup. Pietersen complained of soreness following an eight-over spell during England's 6-run victory over South Africa in Chennai on Sunday.
Meanwhile, England have applied to the ICC's Technical Committee for Eoin Morgan to be his replacement, a team spokesperson said. Moregan himself has just recovered from a fractured finger which he picked up during England's one-day tour of Australia earlier this year.
Pietersen's injury was confirmed after the team returned from Australia in early Feb, although the original intention had been to manage the problem through the World Cup.
Pietersen could be out of action for around six weeks after surgery, which means he will struggle to be fit in time to take up his contract with Deccan Chargers in the IPL, but he is expected to return in time for the first Test of the home season against Sri Lanka, in Cardiff, on May 26.
"I'm obviously extremely disappointed to have picked up this hernia injury but I've been able to manage it so far throughout the World Cup and will continue to do so under the guidance of the England team's medical staff," Pietersen had said in a statement on Saturday.
On a surprisingly spinning wicket in Chennai, England had to rely heavily on Pietersen's offbreaks in a bid to force their crucial victory over South Africa and the decision to send him home was made after the game.
This World Cup, Pietersen was carving a niche for himself as opener for the English side opposite captain Andrew Strauss and had found success in the position with scores fo 39, 31 and 59 before edging to slip for 2 on Sunday morning versus the Proteas.