Kevin Pietersen appears to have got his wish for more free time after he was left out of the England limited-overs squad to tour New Zealand.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has made the decision to leave Pietersen out of all international action until March at the earliest as part of its attempt to manage the workload of key players.
The crux of Pietersen's period of exile from the England squad earlier this year arose from his complaint that he was not being given enough time with his family. He retired from the limited-overs game last May, but then went back on his decision.
He has since been welcomed back into the fold on a short-term contract, which is set to be extended now that his so-called "period of reintegration" has passed without hiccup during the Test series in India. And the ECB appears to have kept its side of the bargain with regard to workloads by picking players who will not play in India in the new year for the New Zealand tour, and vice versa. Pietersen is likely to return to the squad for the three-Test series against New Zealand, which begins on 5 March.
The South African-born batsman will also miss the five-match one-day series in India in the new year, as well as sitting out the tour of New Zealand, involving three one-dayers and three Twenty20 games, which follows immediately after. Chris Woakes, Danny Briggs, Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker – all of whom are involved in the India series – will also miss the one-day series against the Kiwis, but the latter three will play in the Twenty20 matches.
James Anderson, Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann, who were rested for the one-day series in India, will return to the squad for the New Zealand tour, although Swann will miss the Twenty20 games. Stuart Broad will return to captain the Twenty20 side after missing the two-match series against India with an ankle injury.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "Following on from the ODI tour to India, the tour to New Zealand will require players to adapt to different conditions and will prove a real challenge for the squad. There are a number of players who we have decided not to select for parts of the competitive programme this winter as we look to manage their workloads. Kevin Pietersen will miss the limited-overs tour of New Zealand, with Graeme Swann missing the T20 leg of the tour. This approach also provides an opportunity for talented young players to gain more international experience."
England's 2013 schedule is certainly punishing: after the trip to New Zealand, the Kiwis arrive in England for a Test and one-day series in May. Then in June England contest the Champions Trophy, a 50-over competition, followed by the Ashes.
After the Test series against Australia the home season is rounded off by a five-match one-day series. Soon after that, England travel Down Under to contest the Ashes again.
* Martin Guptill returned from illness to hit a four off the last ball for a brilliant match-winning century and series-leveling victory for New Zealand in the second of three Twenty20s away against South Africa yesterday.
Having recovered from a stomach complaint, Guptill hit six sixes in his 101 not out from 69 balls to chase down South Africa's 165-5 and earn the Kiwis an eight-wicket win at Buffalo Park.