Pietersen axed by England! No central contract for star exiled over Strauss texts

By Paul Newman

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ECB centrally contracted players for the 2012-13 season

James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Matt Prior (Sussex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire).

Incremental contracts

Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Graham Onions (Durham).

Kevin Pietersen has been left off England’s new list of centrally contracted players after refusing to back down from his belief that his team-mates were involved in the parody Twitter account which so upset him.

England named 10 players who will form the bulk of their squad for all international cricket for the next year without the man who was exposed by Sportsmail for  sending 'provocative' texts to South Africa players about his then captain Andrew Strauss during the second Test at Headingley.

While the move does not signal the end for Pietersen, he is increasingly unlikely to be included in the Test squad for England’s tour of India that is due to be named next Thursday as the issues between him and the team are far from resolved.

Plenty to think about: Kevin Pietersen on the field for Surrey against Nottinghamshire at the Oval on Friday

Plenty to think about: Kevin Pietersen on the field for Surrey against Nottinghamshire at the Oval on Friday

Pietersen, although contrite about the texts, still has issues of his own over the KPGenius' parody which poked fun at  his ego.

Richard Bailey, an England fan, admitted being behind the account and Stuart Broad, one of several players who know Bailey, was moved to deny any involvement in it.

A central contract for Pietersen is worth a minimum of 250,000 a year, but with bonuses that could double. Pietersen met England team director Andy Flower last week for preliminary peace talks and Sportsmail understands that the parody was still high on the errant star's agenda.

Exiled: Pietersen was banished by England after sending texts to South Africa players about Andrew Strauss

Exiled: Pietersen was banished by England after sending texts to South Africa players about Andrew Strauss

An ECB statement, accompanying the announcement of the contracts, made one scant reference to Pietersen.

'In respect to Kevin Pietersen, discussions are on-going - and they remain private,' the statement read.

National selector Geoff Miller made special mention of Onions, awarded an increment contract after his return from a career-threatening back injury - even though he has played just one Test since his comeback.

'Congratulations to Graham Onions, the one addition to the list of players who have been awarded increment contracts, in recognition of the effort he has put in since his return from injury in 2011 and an indication that we feel he has plenty to offer England in the coming months,' said Miller.

Flawed genius: Pietersen hit a brilliant 149 against South Africa in his last Test match for England at Headingley

Flawed genius: Pietersen hit a brilliant 149 against South Africa in his last Test match for England at Headingley

'Contracts are on-going recognition for those players who have regularly been selected for England and have performed consistently as well as players who we feel could play an important role for England over the next 12 months.'

Broad, in his capacity as Twenty20 captain, earlier made it clear his squad of specialists are happy to face South Africa - in a three-match series starting in Chester-le-Street on Saturday - and prepare for the defence of their ICC world crown, without Pietersen.

Broad has long been plotting England's autumn campaign, here and at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, in the knowledge Pietersen's talents would not be in the equation.

The South Africa-born batsman's reversal, last month, of his initial decision at the end of May to retire from all international limited-overs cricket changed little.

Asked if England can retain the World Twenty20 without Pietersen, he said: 'Of course, yeah. Our planning started for the 'World Cup' with the Trent Bridge game (against West Indies) earlier in the summer.'

Alex Hales, Pietersen's replacement at the top of the order, made a big-hitting 99 as England won that June fixture by seven wickets.

Uncertain future: Pietersen is scheduled to hold further talks with England's management

Uncertain future: Pietersen is scheduled to hold further talks with England's management

'Kevin had made himself unavailable, so obviously Alex came in and scored the highest score by an England batsman in Twenty20 cricket - and played beautifully and helped us win that game,' added Broad.

'We've got eight of the 'World Cup' winners still in this squad; we've got a lot of domestic experience in the likes of Samit Patel and Jos Buttler.

'I think we have got a really exciting squad - so, of course, I think we've got a chance.'

England have simply become attuned to preparing without Pietersen.

'We've had a bit of time to get used to it,' said Broad. 'It was a bit of a shock when he did retire. But he made that decision, and we obviously planned from then to be without him.'

Broad, for one, is happy to leave it to others to work out whether Pietersen plays for his adopted country again.

'It's purely an ECB call at the moment, isn't it? I do very much trust their call on it. I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but it's completely in their hands at the moment.'

In the more immediate future, he has minor concerns over the fitness of his bowling attack to face South Africa.

Broad himself broke the nail on the index finger of his bowling hand, in practice on Friday morning, but expects to be fit.

Finn was able to take full part in practice, but may not be risked because of his stiff back - and it seems Bresnan has little chance of playing after having a scan on the bowling elbow which required surgery last December and then kept him out of England's Test series defeat against Pakistan in the UAE.

Peaks and troughs in Pietersen's story so far...

HIGHS

December 1999: Pietersen comes to England's attention for the first time, playing against them for KwaZulu Natal aged 19 and taking four wickets including Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan.

2000: Travels to England with a view to qualifying to play international cricket, having become frustrated with the quota selection system in South Africa. A century on trial for Warwickshire 2nds is not enough to win a contract at Edgbaston but a year later, Pietersen signs for Nottinghamshire.

2004-05: After making his England one-day international debut in Zimbabwe, he announces himself with three centuries in a 4-1 defeat in his native country.

Summer 2005: Pietersen is preferred to Graham Thorpe in England's squad for the first Test against Australia. He ends the season with an Ashes-clinching maiden Test century at The Oval.

2006-07: Averages more than 50 as England bid to retain the Ashes but is part of a winter of failure for the team, including a 5-0 trouncing in Australia under Flintoff and then a controversial early exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean.

August 2008: Takes over the captaincy of both Test and one-day international teams. Marks his first match as captain, against his native country, with a century.

Unforgettable: Pietersen announced his arrival with an Ashes-winning 158 at the Oval

Unforgettable: Pietersen announced his arrival with an Ashes-winning 158 at the Oval

January 2009: After a fraught tour of India, interrupted by terrorist attacks on Mumbai, a rift between Pietersen and coach Peter Moores costs both men their jobs. Pietersen returns to the ranks for the tour of the West Indies as the Andrew Strauss-Andy Flower captain-coach axis takes hold.

Summer 2009: Surgery on an achilles injury rules Pietersen out of the final three Ashes Tests as England regain the urn on home soil.

May 2010: Is player of the tournament as England win their first ever International Cricket Council silverware, under Paul Collingwood's captaincy, in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

Summer 2010: Pietersen leaves Hampshire in controversial circumstances. He announces, in colourful language on his Twitter account, that he is dropped for England's ODI series at home to Pakistan - and is to join Surrey. The England and Wales Cricket Board fine him for his outburst.

2010-11: A career-best double-hundred in Adelaide is a personal highlight as England retain the Ashes in Australia - their first series win there in a quarter of a century.

2011: Pietersen is promoted to open in the World Cup, but his campaign is cut short when he announces his hernia pain is too much to bear.

Summer 2011: Pietersen is part of a prolific batting order as England go to the top of the ICC world Test rankings with a 4-0 trouncing of India.

2011-12: A 5-0 ODI whitewash defeat in India follows the publication of Graeme Swann's autobiography, in which the off-spinner contends Pietersen was never cut out to be a captain. After Pietersen's match-winning innings under stand-in leader Swann in a one-off Twenty20 in Kolkata, the pair share an ultra-awkward press conference.

2012: May - Is again fined by the ECB for criticising Sky commentator Nick Knight on Twitter. Barely a week later comes the shock announcement that he is to retire, at the age of 31, from all limited-overs international cricket.

July - Attempts by Pietersen to broker a deal to play after all in England's defence of their World Twenty20 crown, in Sri Lanka in September, come to nought when a preliminary 30-man squad is announced without his name in the list.

August 6 - Pietersen refuses to give assurances that the final match against South Africa at Lord's will not be his last for England.

August 12 - Left out of the England squad for the third Test against South Africa amid allegations that he sent derogatory texts about his international team-mates to members of the tourists' squad.

August 21 - Despite issuing an apology over the texts, Pietersen is omitted from both the World Twenty20 and the three-match NatWest International T20 Series against South Africa.

September 7 - Pietersen not among the list of 10 players given an annual central contract for 2012-13 by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

 

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Pietersen is comfortably England's best batsman, therefore he should be playing. Ignorant and bad- mannered? So what? he is a sportsman not a politician. Why should he kowtow to the pathetic little clique that is forming in the squad. His ability to score runs should be the only criterion for selection.

Click to rate     Rating   1

KP is better off if no contract is offered to him this year, he can play Big Bash, Champions League , IPL and make lots of money and ECB by the time can review the progress of the team that how they can perform without KP......next year the winner can always negotiate the looser with its own terms and conditions. ...surely we all know who will the winner be.

Click to rate     Rating   8

In the past England have been saved by he who is now in exile but now there is no one to bat well enough. Bring back KP or look to lose again and again. Looks like England are going back to the bad old days Also Swann is now looking really poor why not bring back Monty

Click to rate     Rating   11

Without KP England will continue losing. They will lose 20 20's, one day internationals and Test matches. Expect Australia to regain the Ashes next year. It is a shame that Swann wasnt sacked for trashing his own Captain when KP was Captain but there are double standards in this England set up. At least KP can sit on the sidelines and watch England continue to lose which they will. I for one wont bother going to watch their mediocre team any longer.

Click to rate     Rating   6

Good thing that KP didn't play today. Broad and Swann look really good! Morgan is much better than KP! Look out youfor England in the World Cup. India; you should be scared.

Click to rate     Rating   2

I know what the "very blessed" Kevin can do next, Strictly Come Dancing, Celeb Big Brother or I'm a Celeb get me out of here because that is all he basically is a"celeb" Never got to grips with the team ethos and never got over being sacked as Captain so probably made life uncomfortable for Strauss whilst he was in the post. Really chuffed he's gone, the waster.

Click to rate     Rating   1

Honestly, it would have been a farce if they had given him a contract. How could they possibly aim to bring him back into line and under control on the one hand whilst signing him up for a high wage? There is no lesson in saying 'we're not happy with how you have behaved and your actions but here, have a nice contract for your troubles.' As soon as the ECB took a strong stance against KP, it was always clear he would not get the contract until the talks, which as stated are still ongoing, had been completed.

Click to rate     Rating   11

Duh, 'discussions are ongoing'- so KP hasn't been axed yet then. Another non story DM. Well done.

Click to rate     Rating   6

Funny reading some of these comments, it appears that it doesnt matter how ignorant and bad mannered you are, as long as you can score runs England needs you no matter what part of the world you come from. From someone born and bred in England

Click to rate     Rating   (0)

Flattered to deceive, and always as likely to go cheaply when it mattered as score big, but no man is bigger than the team

Click to rate     Rating   17

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