The England and Wales Cricket Board will hope the Kevin Pietersen text saga is now finally over after confirming the controversial batsman will tour India.
The 32-year-old has now been added to the England squad for the forthcoming four-Test series after a successful series of meetings in his “reintegration” process. Pietersen had initially been left out of a 16-man party as the fallout from his exclusion from the side earlier in the summer continued.
The player was dropped for the third Test against South Africa in August amid allegations he had sent text messages to opposing players criticising then captain Andrew Strauss. The issue also saw him overlooked for the World Twenty20 but efforts were made to resolve the matter and Pietersen apologised for his conduct and signed a new central contract a fortnight ago.
Pietersen has been on Champions League duty with Delhi Daredevils in South Africa but flew back to the UK earlier this week for meetings with new Test captain Alastair Cook, team director Andy Flower and other senior players.
The ECB’s managing director for England cricket, Hugh Morris, said: “We were keen that Kevin should hold a series of face-to-face meetings with team management and senior players before the Test squad departs for the UAE and India next week.
“The meetings were constructive and cordial and all outstanding issues have been resolved.
“All the England players and management are now keen to draw a line under this matter and fully focus on the cricketing challenge that lies ahead in India.”
Pietersen, who has played in 88 Tests, has now travelled back to South Africa and will link up with the England squad once his Champions League commitments are over.
England are due to travel later this month ahead of the Test series which takes place in November and December.
Pietersen’s addition may diminish the chances of rookie batsmen Joe Root and Nick Compton, both members of the original squad, breaking into the side but all players will still travel.
ECB national selector Geoff Miller said: “We are pleased to welcome a player of Kevin’s proven international calibre back into the Test squad for such an important Test series.
“As we anticipate that Ian Bell will return home for the birth of his first child around the time of the second Test in Mumbai, the team will benefit from having an extra batsman in the squad and all players who were originally selected for the tour will fly out as planned next week. Kevin will join up with the squad as soon as his Champions League commitments are complete.”
Meanwhile, Luke Wright believes swapping his Test ambitions for a globe-trotting Twenty20 calendar have been key to his England comeback.
“My priority is playing for England but I’m not involved in Test cricket and I’m fortunate that I can travel around the world playing different competitions. It’s not what I planned but it has worked out nicely for me,” he said. “You get to watch the way they play, the way they train and, being an overseas player, the pressure is on you to score runs and win games.”