England Test tour snub ‘disappoints’ Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen has revealed his “disappointment” at being left out of the England Test squad to tour India.
Pietersen was omitted from the 16-man touring party and, in his absence, England have called up two uncapped batsmen – Joe Root and Nick Compton – to help fill the vacancies left not only by him but by the retirement of former captain Andrew Strauss.
Pietersen, 32, responded by releasing a statement, via his agents Mission Sports Management, to clarify his position after a summer of contract wrangles which culminated in his omission from both the Lord’s Test and then England’s squad which will imminently defend the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
It read: “Kevin Pietersen is naturally disappointed about today’s decision, having gone to great lengths to reach a reconciliation with the ECB.”
In it, he also sought to set the record straight over the “provocative” text messages he sent to opposition South Africa players during the Headingley Test – in which there were allegations he made “derogatory” references to Strauss.
The statement continued: “Pietersen has met with – and apologised to – Andrew Strauss. He has also met with Alastair Cook to stress his commitment to England and met with ECB board members, including face-to-face meetings with Hugh Morris, David Collier and Andy Flower.
“He has also made absolutely clear both to the ECB and the England team that – despite unsubstantiated allegations to the contrary and repeated media speculation – he did not offer any tactical advice to the South Africans. Pietersen remains available for England.”
National selector Geoff Miller explained the reasons for Pietersen’s absence from England’s plans under coach Flower and new captain Cook, stressing he and his colleagues can only make their decisions based on information received from management. When that starting point was that Pietersen remained unavailable, as far as his employers were concerned, Miller and his panel had no choice.
“We are just the selectors – they let us know it [issues with Pietersen] hasn’t been resolved,” he said. “It is disappointing – he is a world class player. But it is about a team game and I can’t keep going on about that point,” he said.
“You want to take your best players. But he wasn’t available – we have to move on with other players.”
Morris, ECB Managing Director – England Cricket, corroborated the national selector’s explanations.
“Both ECB and England team management have had meetings with Kevin Pietersen to address the issues which led to his omission from the final Investec Test match against South Africa,” he said in an ECB statement.
“These discussions remain private and confidential and, as there are issues still to be resolved, Kevin has not been considered for selection.”
The squad is also notable for the inclusion of slow left-armers Monty Panesar and Samit Patel as the extra spin options to complement Graeme Swann.
Both Root and Compton have experience of Indian conditions from the England Lions squad. Compton, the 29-year-old grandson of legendary England batsman Denis Compton, said: “Going to India is a great opportunity. It was my grandfather’s favourite place to tour and I’m no different – I’ve been there five or six times and it’s an amazing place.
“Cricket’s a real religion there, what better place to play the game you love?
“The conditions will be testing but that makes it more enjoyable, to test yourself in that way.”
Young Yorkshireman Root, added: “I am really looking forward to being a part of it. If opportunities arise then fantastic. I will be working really hard to put a case forward for myself.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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