Pietersen 'touch and go' to join tour

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The Independent Online

Kevin Pietersen may be forced to miss England's winter tour of South Africa. The batsman, already out of the Champions Trophy, for which the team left yesterday, is struggling to recover from an operation on his Achilles tendon.

Andy Flower, England's coach, was gloomy about Pietersen's chances as the team left for South Africa for the first time this winter for the Champions Trophy.

In estimating Pietersen's return to fitness by the time England embark for the second time in November he said: "We are still taking that day by day. We are not sure whether or not he is going to be fit.

"It's absolutely more touch and go than I hoped. I would have wanted him back at the start of this one-day tournament. The problem is the infection that he got initially and then the subsequent lack of healing. He had quite a horrible wound after the infection took hold."

Flower said it was possible England would not be able to name Pietersen (above) in the touring party. When he had the operation in July it was predicted he would be missing for only six weeks. But since the wound became infected the healing process has slowed considerably.

*Leicestershire's left-hand batsman James Taylor has been named as the Cricket Writers' Young Player of the Year.