Pietersen shot leaves teenager in hospital

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The Independent Online

A schoolboy cricketer was recovering in hospital today after being floored by a drive from England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

Reece Topley, 15, was bowling at the star as part of a practice session at Loughborough University, Leicestershire, held yesterday.

But Pietersen hit one delivery straight back at the 6ft 6in teenager, hitting him in the ear and knocking him to the ground.

Reece, an emerging talent who attends the Royal Hospital School, in Holbrook, Suffolk, had been invited to bowl at the England batsmen as part of the team's preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 competition.

Reece's father, Don, 45, a former Essex cricketer, said: "Certainly there was a bit of pain and a bit of shock but it could've been a lot worse."

Don said his son, who had a "few" stitches inserted into his wound last night, remained at the Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital and was undergoing tests today.

"In a light-hearted moment last night in the hospital, I did suggest to Reece that he might have dropped a catch - to which he replied: 'I think I stopped it going for six,"' said Don.

He added that Pietersen had been concerned about the injury and had left a signed bat for Reece to collect at the university.

"Kevin Pietersen has always been Reece's favourite cricketer," said Don. "I'm sure that will remain the case if Reece gets this bat."