KP left out of England touring team
Kevin Pietersen has been left out of England’s test squad for the tour of India as the controversial batsman pays the price for the text message scandal that has left his international career in tatters.
Pietersen was dropped for the final test against South Africa after sending texts to opposition players that contained criticism of then England captain Andrew Strauss.
The South Africa-born star has since met England coach Andy Flower for clear-the-air talks, but there are still issues to be resolved and that meant there was no place for Pietersen on the plane to India.
While Pietersen remains in exile at present, England cricket managing director Hugh Morris left the door open for the 32-year-old to return to the fold in the future.
“Both ECB and England team management have had meetings with Kevin Pietersen to address the issues which led to his omission from the final test match against South Africa,” Morris said on Tuesday.
“These discussions remain private and confidential and as there are issues still to be resolved Kevin has not been considered for selection for the India tour.”
Strauss retired from all cricket in the immediate aftermath of the Pietersen row and the fall-out from a stormy few months for English cricket continues to be felt.
Distracted by the controversy over Pietersen, England lost their place on top of the test rankings to South Africa after being beaten by the Proteas in the recent series.
There were also reports that Pietersen’s relationship with the rest of his England team-mates had deteriorated over recent months and it has proved impossible to resolve so much conflict in just a few weeks.
Although the supremely-gifted Pietersen, who was also axed for the current World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka, would be a loss to any side, England batsman Ian Bell believes the team can cope without him.
“I suppose it has rocked the boat a little bit but it doesn’t involve us as players, we don’t choose who is in the squad or the team,” Bell said.
“We’ve already seen the one-day team do well against South Africa and the Twenty20 team are on a real high too. So we’re not too worried about things.”
Pietersen’s omission and the selectors’ decision to drop Essex batsman Ravi Bopara after a poor run of form this year paved the way for two uncapped batsmen to be included in Alastair Cook’s 16-man squad for the four-match test series, which begins in Ahmedabad on November 15.
Somerset’s Nick Compton and Yorkshire’s Joe Root have been called up after both enjoyed impressive seasons in English county cricket.
Compton, the 29-year-old grandson of England great Denis Compton, was the top English batsman in the county championship with an average of 99.
Root opened the batting for Yorkshire, averaging 43.41 and winning the Cricket Writers Club Young Cricketer of the Year award on Monday.
The 21-year-old is being lined up to fill the gap left by Strauss’s shock retirement.
The squad includes three spin bowlers, Samit Patel, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, as England adapt to the demands of playing on the slow pitches in India.
Speaking about the two uncapped batsmen, national selector Geoff Miller said: “Nick Compton has performed well consistently for Somerset in County cricket this season, made big hundreds and shown that he has the temperament and the technique to play at a higher level.
“Joe Root is a player who has been successful at every level from county cricket through to EPP and England Lions, and he deserves this opportunity to step up to the next level and press his case for a place in the test side.”
England squad for tour of India: Alastair Cook (cpt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Nick Comptonn, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, Eoin Morgan, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, Matt Prior (wkt), Joe Root, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott