Kevin Pietersen given the cold shoulder for Twenty20 defence
The latest Kevin Pietersen saga drew to a quiet close yesterday with the announcement of England's preliminary squad for the World Twenty20. His name was not among the list of 30 players, the so-called Twenty20 thirty, which will be reduced to 15 before England defend their title in Sri Lanka in September.
Since Pietersen does sagas more prolifically than Joanna Trollope, though without the AGA, there will no doubt be another one along soon. But this particular chapter is closed after attempts at reconciliation between the player and his employers, the England and Wales Cricket Board, came to nought.
Pietersen retired from limited-overs cricket last month and has spent most of the time since declaring how desperate he is to play in the World Twenty20 – hardly surprising since he was player of the tournament by a distance when they won it last time out. England have stuck to the stricture contained in players' central contracts: all limited-overs cricket including one-day internationals and T20s, or none.
While the regulations would still permit Pietersen to be called up to the squad belatedly, the player has accepted that it is not about to happen. His agent, Adam Wheatley, said: "I think it's a shame for cricket fans. If there is a compromise to be reached we'd be happy to assist that, but from what I sense, this decision is final."
Andrew Strauss, England's Test captain, was keen to deflect Pietersen questions ahead of the series against South Africa, which starts today. England may be happy the issue is closed, though Strauss, in claiming it had not been a distraction, also suggested there might be room for compromise.
"I certainly hope so, I certainly hope so," he said. "But that's not something we're thinking about and I'm sure KP is the same in that respect. At the moment, it is all about this first Test against South Africa, as it has to be. I'm sure there will be determination to make an impact. He's that sort of player, where the big series bring out the best in him. Often when he has a point to prove he has gone out and delivered with the bat."
There are no major surprises among the 30 names for the World Twenty20, although the presence of Matt Prior, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell offers some hope of a recall to the format, while Joe Root, the Yorkshire prospect, is named in a senior cadre for the first time.
England squad for World T20
Stuart Broad (capt, Notts), James Anderson (Lancs), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorks), Gareth Batty (Surrey), Ian Bell (Warwicks), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Tim Bresnan (Yorks), Danny Briggs (Hants), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Croft (Lancs), Steven Davies (wkt, Surrey), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middx), Alex Hales (Notts), Craig Kieswetter (wkt, Somerset), Michael Lumb (Notts), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Eoin Morgan (Middx), Graham Onions (Durham), Samit Patel (Notts), Matt Prior (wkt, Sussex), Joe Root (Yorks), Ben Stokes (Durham), Graeme Swann, James Taylor (both Notts), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Woakes (Warwicks), Luke Wright (Sussex).
21 September Afghanistan (Colombo)
23 September India (Colombo)
27 September-2 October (Pallekele/Colombo)
Semi-finals 4/5 October (Colombo)
Final 7 October (Colombo).
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