Pietersen's retirement surprised me, says Arthur

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Published: Monday, June 25, 2012, 12:45 [IST]
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Arthur defends ECB's decision on KP

London, Jun 25: Australian coach Mickey Arthur surprised over Kevin Pietersen's retirement from international limited overs format, admitted that his team had spent enough time to work on the strategy for the talented batsman ahead of the Natwest series to be played next month.

Arthur, who backed England's decision on Pietersen's announcement, said it was quite interesting to see a batsman of Pietersen's caliber not being a part of the limited overs format for England as everyone would miss his heroics on field.

"I thought that situation was very interesting. We'd done a lot of homework on Kevin Pietersen and were expecting him to play," he said.

"I'm not privy to what has gone on but I think the way England handled that was pretty good. They sent out a clear message that you must be available for both formats if you want to play one.

"That's their policy and they've sent out a clear, hard message. Hats off to them for that decision."

Asked if Pietersen's absence would help the touring side, as he was the most dangerous player in the batting line-up, Arthur said his absence would help but Ian Bell's inclusion would again make things tough.

"It doesn't make it easy because Ian Bell has stepped up and we'll still have to play well, but Pietersen is a world-class player."

When asked if the five match series against England has added pressure on the two nations as they are scheduled to play two Test series in 2013 and 2014, he said it was always good to paly against England.

"Every time Australia and England play it is special," he said.

"There are no qualms from me. This allows us time to come to England, give guys like Pat Cummins and James Pattinson opportunities here, which is important with the amount of cricket we'll be playing in England over the next year or so.

"There are no complaints from us, because it's always special."

Australian coach having sent out two different pace attacks for the first two fixtures has said there are options available and can afford to take such decisions but need to have the right balance for the first ODI against England.

"We've got options available to us but I think we have to give some serious consideration to putting out a team against Essex that we think might play the first ODI," he said.

"It's an interesting decision but we'll try to strike the perfect balance."


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