Kevin Pietersen saga: Chris Gayle offers untimely reminder of absent friend

 

Barbados

Perhaps one day soon the new era can begin properly. The sheet will be truly clean, as if it has just been twice through the washing machine. But  not yet.

For now the dirty linen is still being paraded in public. Just when it seems that the Kevin Pietersen issue as well as the player’s international career have been finally laid to rest, his name re-emerges. He will haunt England for some time yet.

The latest to speak his name yesterday was his erstwhile friend and foe, Chris Gayle, the effervescent West Indies opening batsman. Gayle doubtless provoked anger at the England and Wales Cricket Board, who sacked Pietersen last month, by saying: “I’m disappointed in the manner he bowed out of international cricket. It was disrespectful but I don’t know what happened behind closed doors.

“For such a big player to  go out like that who has made an impact around the world, it was really sad to see. You want to give a top player the chance to retire and walk away from the game regardless of what is happening. It is disrespectful.”

England may see it as a minor interference in their affairs of state but it is probably an unwanted distraction for a team desperately trying to forget the past and prepare for the World Twenty20 without their best player. They continue this process in earnest tomorrow with the first of three Twenty20 matches against West Indies, for whom Gayle is returning after injury.

Wherever they go, Pietersen unfortunately will not be far behind. He continues a mischievous campaign on Twitter and when England travel to Bangladesh in a few days for the World Twenty20 it would not be entirely surprising if he was in town to cover the tournament for  television.

That would serve only as a constant reminder that they are playing in a major tournament without potentially their best player. England will be aware that there is only one certain way out of it, which is to win.

They made a handy start by clinching the one-day series 2-1 earlier this week and it would be more than useful if they could go to Bangladesh by winning at least two of the three matches here over the next five days. Some reconfiguring of their team will be necessary after Joe Root’s departure from the tour – and in all probability the World Twenty20 – with a broken thumb.

One of the first matters on which they must decide is what to do with Ian Bell. He was called up as cover initially for Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales when they sustained minor injuries in Antigua last week. Both have now recovered but Root’s departure opens up a place not only here but in Bangladesh.

It is abundantly clear that the team coach, Ashley Giles, is a huge fan (and former playing colleague) of Bell. There is a feeling that he would like him in the team for his experience and a cricketing wisdom that should not be under-rated. However, picking Bell when he is not, yet, officially in the party would seem to contradict the original selection. Bell, bizarrely, has not played a T20 match of any type since the most recent of his seven appearances for England in 2011.

The opening pair of Hales and Michael Lumb will probably be reunited, though they do not seem like a combination to spearhead a campaign in which England can regain the title they won in 2010. There is a strong case for asking Morgan, the star batsman, to go in at three, though England will probably resist that.

Moeen Ali, who has started his international career with some confidence, Luke Wright and Bell are in contention with Morgan likely to continue at five. Given the sort of pitches with which England will be confronted in Bangladesh, there will be a temptation to field two spinners in addition to Ali. Local conditions, however, might dictate another seamer.

That would give an opportunity for Chris Jordan to perform at the place where he spent many happy times as a child. Jordan was born and raised in Barbados before he was scouted by Dulwich College and offered a scholarship there. He played in the first match at Kensington Oval after it was refurbished for the 2007 World Cup but said yesterday that he has no regrets about opting to play for England. Should he play he might receive a mixed welcome.

Gayle’s return provides a significant lift in West Indies spirits. He had a lean year in 2013 as he flew across the world in pursuit of T20 riches but he has had three months off and sounded ready for the fray again yesterday.

There are other big hitters but Gayle is the key. For England to win they must defy the odds. The road to Chittagong starts here.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
News
An Apple iPhone 6 stands on display at the Apple Store
businessRegulators give iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the green light
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britain's internet habits have been revealed in a new survey
tech
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
news
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style