Hampshire to keep Pietersen on sidelines at the Rose Bowl

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The Independent Online

Hampshire have effectively told Kevin Pietersen he is no longer wanted at the Rose Bowl after defying England's wish for the out-of-form batsman to play for the county against Kent on Sunday.

Pietersen, in common with several contracted England players, was made available for county cricket this week ahead of the opening Test against Pakistan a week tomorrow.

But Hampshire said yesterday that Pietersen, who has already announced he will leave the south coast at the end of the season to find a club nearer his home in Chelsea, would not be considered for their Clydesdale Bank 40 fixture.

They say that England coach Andy Flower has accepted their argument that the county's interests would be better served by selecting "other England aspirants" ahead of Pietersen, who has not reached 50 in 17 one-day internationals and has not scored a Test century for 15 months.

A county statement explained that "the Hampshire team ethic is best served by maintaining a consistent policy for team selection which takes account of commitment to both club and country.

"Kevin Pietersen has announced his intention to play elsewhere and Hampshire feels it must devote its energies to the continuing development of other England aspirants. The decision is fully acknowledged and understood by Andy Flower."