Will Kevin Pietersen ever return to the England setup?

| May 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Preparations for the crucial Test Series against New Zealand should have been based upon the change of structure and policies that newly-appointed ECB Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss will implement, but they have instead been dominated by one man – Kevin Pietersen. The continuous tit-for-tat spat between the mercurial batsmen and the ECB has taken all the headlines, with both parties trading accusations and backhanded jibes in what has become an unwanted situation for English cricket fans who are looking for signs of encouragement and belief ahead of the Ashes Series against Australia. Fans, pundits, former players and even current players have all had their say on the debate, and with the top of the batting order struggling for runs and succumbing to poor collapses in recent months, those who back Pietersen believe he should have been included in the team to face New Zealand. Instead, England have gone into a Test Series in which they find themselves underdogs without their star batsman who has more than proved himself at county level for Surrey, but despite hitting 355 not out against Leicestershire, it has proven to be in vain for a player who may never feature at international level again.

Burning desire

What has become evidently clear through the ever-fierce debate is that Pietersen has a burning desire to play test cricket for England and put the shirt on once again. Despite being England’s highest run scorer in the Ashes debacle in Australia last year, he was hung out to dry as a scapegoat for off-the-field reasons that have never become public knowledge. Pietersen may be outspoken and have fallen out with certain team-mates at times in the England dressing room, but he is undoubtedly one of the country’s best batsmen; his omission goes against the train of thought that any team, irrespective of what sport they are participating in, should always pick their best players when fit and available.

Some may argue that Pietersen should have focused much more on shining at county cricket level than going to play in the Indian Premier League, but the fact that he has come back to Surrey and shown his unerring class shows just how hard he is willing to work to earn his place in the England team. He has done so with the belief that he would be recalled if he got himself into form at test level again, but whether or not this promise, supposedly made by Colin Graves, is fact or fiction, Pietersen’s latest omission could well be the final nail in the coffin of a player who should, without question, be scoring runs for England again.

Poor handling

Neither Pietersen nor the ECB have covered themselves in glory throughout the entire feud between the two parties, but while the former’s book did little to dispel the theories that he has disrupted the harmony in previous England camps through his outspokenness and ruffled too many feathers to warrant a comeback, the latter have acted unprofessionally. Taken a stance is all well and good, but when news that Pietersen would not be called up for the New Zealand test before Strauss had even stepped foot in the door is the sort of PR aberration that no-one would come to expect of a national board. What has irked England cricket fans the most throughout the debacle is that not a single member of the ECB has come out with any logical or sound reasoning as to why Pietersen has been left out of the team for so long. Strauss and Alistair Cook have hinted at ‘trust’ issues as the reason why Pietersen will not return, but when England continue to leave their best batsman in the wilderness feeling let down and betrayed while the team struggles to score runs, it is surely justification for the ECB to overlook every petty argument and include him before he leaves for good.

 

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