Kevin Pietersen faces international axe amid power struggle in the England camp

Coach Andy Flower appears to believe the team can progress better without the flamboyant batsman

Tuesday 07 January 2014 16:12
Kevin Pietersen with Andy Flower
Kevin Pietersen with Andy Flower

Kevin Pietersen's international career risks coming to a premature end amid a power struggle in English cricket.

The controversial batsman could be the highest-profile casualty in the fall-out from the disastrous Ashes series in Australia that saw England beaten 5-0 in the series. It is understood Andy Flower, who the ECB are keen to retain as coach, appears to believe that the team would progress better without Pietersen.

Following the end of the series, Flower remarked that it was the "end of an era".

Flower refused to mention Pietersen by name when asked about the international future of the 33-year-old, and it is understood the pair's relationship has been extremely frosty since the "textgate" scandal that nearly ended Pietersen's international career in the summer of 2012.

Pietersen was quick to make his position clear today, tweeting that he was determined to help England try to regain the Ashes.

"I want to thank all the England fans for their terrific support. And I'm determined to help regain the Ashes in 2015," the flamboyant batsman wrote.

He also retweeted a newspaper column of former captain Michael Vaughan, suggesting that Pietersen should be given an influential role in Cook's England.

It is a fiendishly difficult task for Paul Downton, the new managing director of England cricket, to tackle. The board have given their backing to Flower but if the coach says he will continue only if Pietersen is discarded, it presents a serious problem, Flower has an outstanding record as England coach but after overseeing a whitewash, he is hardly in a position of strength. Pietersen said before the series began that he would like to play on for three more years.

Pietersen has played an integral role for England since his debut in 2005, playing in 104 tests and averaging 47.28 in scoring more than 8,000 runs. He is England's leading all-time scorer across all formats.

Pietersen was also the team's top run-scorer in the recent Ashes, even though he averaged 29.40 over five Tests.

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