Kevin Pietersen left out of England Test squad despite going to 'great lengths to reach a reconciliation'

 

Kevin Pietersen has revealed his “disappointment” at being left out of the England Test squad to tour India.

Pietersen was omitted from a 16-man touring party this morning, the latest indication from the England and Wales Cricket Board that he faces a long road back before he represents his adopted country again.

Without Pietersen, 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 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, prior to his departure to Sri Lanka.

"At all times, Pietersen had wished his dealings with the ECB to remain private so as not to inflame an already difficult situation.

"His recent silence was not an admission of any wrong-doing; he wanted to explain and apologise to the ECB for the messages exchanged with members of the South African team.

"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 continued 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 told Sky Sports News.

Like Pietersen, Miller too is frustrated that England's most gifted batsman will not be there to assist the team on one of the toughest tours of all.

"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."

Miller left open the possibility that the 32-year-old may still have a future with England.

"He might do; we will wait and see," he said.

"He could do - it depends on when those issues are resolved.

"This is not a Kevin Pietersen issue. This is about an England side going out to India on a tough tour."

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 for the India tour."

Miller has spoken to Pietersen in person to explain why he was omitted.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I told him exactly why he hasn't been selected and explained this.

"We had a five, 10-minute chat - and that remains private.

"He is one of the best players in the world and he has shown that on many an occasion. It is not just about an individual in a changing room; it is a team ethic and unity."

Those qualities have been stressed throughout by Flower, and Strauss too.

It is understood England are not impressed by Pietersen's decision to work as a broadcast pundit in Sri Lanka during the ICC World Twenty, where Stuart Broad's team will begin their campaign in earnest against Afghanistan on Friday.

Pietersen was set for his first shift in Colombo tonight to offer his thoughts on the opening match between the hosts and Zimbabwe.

He was invited to comment on camera by waiting television crews as he made his way into the studios, but declined to do so.

In Pietersen's absence on the pitch in India, there may be opportunities for Root and Compton.

The young Yorkshireman, who spent last winter in India with the England development squad, hopes that experience could prove useful.

He told Sky Sports News: "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.

"Obviously I spent the winter in India and a lot of teams struggle out there and that experience last winter will be definitely useful if I am called upon."

The squad chosen by England today is also notable for the inclusion of slow left-armers Monty Panesar and Samit Patel as the extra spin options to complement Graeme Swann.

 

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