Pietersen 'rested' as Stokes is given one-day chance

 

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The Independent Online

England yesterday omitted Kevin Pietersen from their one-day side in favour of a 20-year-old who has faced only 10 balls in international cricket. Ben Stokes of Durham will be given an opportunity at some stage during the five-match series against India, which begins on his home ground next Saturday.

He made his international debut against Ireland on Thursday, when he was out for three trying to force the pace. Stokes is also part of an audacious squad for the only Twenty20 match against India at Old Trafford on Wednesday which shows the selectors are determined to fashion a youthful, vigorous side in a bid to retain their World Twenty20 title next year.

Jos Buttler, another 20-year-old from Somerset, and Alex Hales, 22, from Nottinghamshire, are also part of the T20 squad. Both have made deep impressions and if Buttler has had a relatively quiet summer so far, Hales scored five fifties for his county in the domestic T20 and is averaging almost 40 in the Championship.

Pietersen has retained his place in the T20 squad. The selectors preferred to use the term "resting" for his ODI omission and while it may not be entirely euphemistic it is not entirely the truth. He had a lean time against Sri Lanka earlier in the summer with a top score of 41 and has not scored a one-day hundred for three years.

Geoff Miller, the chairman of selectors, said: "The decision to omit Kevin Pietersen from the one-day squad is in line with our policy of sensibly managing player workloads and will give the opportunity to another batsmen to test himself batting at No 4."

Pietersen was first left out of the squad last summer when it was made plain that form was the reason. His absence will give a chance for Ian Bell to stake another claim for a place higher in the order. Bell looked out of place at No 6 earlier in the summer and while that remains a vexatious hole to fill, they might in the long term look at Tim Bresnan.

It would be unlikely for Stokes to be asked to fill such a pivotal position so early in his career but the selectors are in danger of getting themselves in a pickle if they do not resolve the issue. Eoin Morgan looks the best bet but equally he is much happier at No 5.

ODI squad: A Cook (capt), J Anderson, I Bell, R Bopara, T Bresnan, S Broad, J Dernbach, S Finn, C Kieswetter (wk), E Morgan, S Patel, B Stokes, G Swann, J Trott

T20 squad: Broad (capt), Bopara, Bresnan, J Buttler, Dernbach, Finn, A Hales, Kieswetter (wk), Morgan, Patel, K Pietersen, Stokes, Swann.

Cook, Trott on shortlist

Five of England's ODI squad were also named in another side yesterday, the ICC's Test team of the year. The quintet is: Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Jimmy Anderson. Cook and Trott are both also in line for the Cricketer of the Year and the Test Cricketer of the Year awards.

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