Pietersen and Swann to miss Bangladesh games

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The Independent Online

England continue to balance plans future and present with the 13-man squad chosen to take on Bangladesh in three NatWest Series one-day internationals.

It has transpired that Kevin Pietersen had been prescribed a rest anyway, alongside Graeme Swann, even before he succumbed to a thigh injury against Australia at Lord's on Saturday.

The names subsequently announced yesterday morning did not include Ryan Sidebottom either, after he failed to break into a team unchanged throughout in a 3-2 NatWest win over Australia which concluded with back-to-back defeats against the world's number one nation.

Off-spinner James Tredwell is the like-for-like replacement for Swann, and Jonathan Trott returns because of Pietersen's absence - but is likely to be below his fellow Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell for a top-order spot.

National selector Geoff Miller, who reported Pietersen's injury is thought to be "slight" rather than "major", explained the reasoning behind a selection policy designed to ensure England know their best options in the longer term but still have the right personnel to beat Bangladesh too.

"We are giving the coach and captain the options to go in whichever directions they want. They will take conditions and the wicket into consideration and make those decisions on the day," he said.

"They have the option to go with two spinners, an extra batter - whatever they think is relevant at the time.

"We want to win games at this moment in time but also keep an eye on what is happening later on."

'Later on', of course, England will be heading to the sub-Continent for the World Cup early next year, a month or so after the conclusion of their bid to retain the Ashes in Australia for the first time in almost a quarter-of-a-century.

Miller and company are unsurprisingly already very mindful of both those high-profile assigments.

"We have work to do," he said.

"We have just won a series against the world champions. But we've got our feet on the ground, knowing we lost the last two.

"We will work hard to give ourselves the best chance to win the World Cup.

"I think the Aussies upped their game. They didn't enjoy losing 3-0, and worked very hard to put that right.

"But it gave us an opportunity to realise what is needed to consistently beat the best in the world.

"You just cannot go through the motions; you have to work extremely hard to beat these top-quality sides."

Perhaps chief among those with issues to address at present is Pietersen who, aside from his injury, cannot ignore a run of 16 one-day international innings without a 50 - which is entirely at odds with his world-class record in all formats.

Miller has absolutely no doubt Pietersen will be back scoring big runs soon, as long as his thigh problem does not persist.

He believes too that England have several others capable of faring well against Australia again when the two old enemies face one another in five-day cricket between late November and early January.

"We have one or two looking good," he said.

"We still have work to do, and know what we have to do to be successful down there - because Australia is a hard place to go.

"But we are getting the bricks in place quite nicely."