England in disarray as tour selection is postponed over Kevin Pietersen row

World T20 preparations in jeopardy as Pietersen row leads to delay in naming squad for India

England yesterday postponed the selection of the squad for their Test tour of India. It was too late, however, to delay the distinct impression that the wheels are coming off.

The announcement of the party for what remains one of the most demanding of all series will be made on Tuesday morning, instead of today as was originally intended. Although no reason was formally given, the overwhelming probability is that Kevin Pietersen is at the root of the change.

It is difficult to tell whether this means he is closer to rejoining the dressing room or further away, and it is highly likely from the resounding official silence that those involved in what are believed to be constantly continuing talks are not much nearer to knowing either. The only quasi-official advice was not to hedge any bets. What is certain is the unprecedented nature of events.

Tour parties have been beset by controversy before, most notably when Basil D'Oliveira was first omitted and then included in the party to tour South Africa in late 1968. But at least then the selectors were able to make a decision, universally scorned though it was.

Pietersen has completely dominated the cricketing agenda since the start of August when he made a blistering 149 in the second Test at Headingley and almost immediately expressed the disaffection with the dressing room that soon led to his being dropped.

Discussions between the player and various members of the England management have been taking place intermittently. If there has been progress it has clearly not been sufficient for him to resume his England career.

The affair has overshadowed preparations for the World Twenty20, which starts in Sri Lanka next week, and has made planning for the tour of India almost equally difficult. While the resolute silence might not have helped, the feeling that England are in a state of disorder is hard to dispel.

One of the selectors, Andy Flower, the team coach, flies to Sri Lanka today with the T20 squad, so can hardly be part of the final discussions about Pietersen and India. It remains possible that Pietersen could be left out of the tour with discussions between the parties continuing but this would leave the additional problem of his current central contract ending on 30 September.

That will make him a free agent and it is well known that suitors from the Australian Big Bash T20 tournament are lining up. He already has a lucrative contract in the Indian Premier League.

If there are points of principle at stake, Pietersen's importance to the team as a player will be overlooked by management. But without him they are looking at a side which will have to contain one new opener following Andrew Strauss's retirement and would also have two Test batting novices. There could be only one outcome.

Nobody seems to know which way this will go now and nobody except those doing the talking is aware of the demands that each side has made. But the feeling in the dressing room against , that they have put up with him for too long and cannot take it any longer, should not be underestimated.

There was a suggestion, also not rebuffed, that the selectors need more time to ponder certain other roles in the party for India, such as the identity of the new opener and the support spin bowlers. But it seems stretching it to think that after a full season of watching players perform in the County Championship they do not know their preferred men.

These may be highly unusual circumstances but in so many ways it is like watching the England of the old days.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sportAll the action from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition