Pietersen not on Strauss’ radar
LONDON (AP) – So deep was the distrust of Kevin Pietersen that, even after his maiden first-class triple century, he was told by new cricket director Andrew Strauss he would not play for England this summer.
In revealing on Tuesday that Pietersen’s England ambitions were still bleak, Strauss said he and Tom Harrison, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO, met with Pietersen late Monday, after the batsman scored 326 not out for Surrey against Leicestershire.
Pietersen told media after the innings, “I want to play for England again soon”, but Strauss informed him he would not feature in the summer Test campaigns against New Zealand and Australia.
Strauss said he offered Pietersen a non-playing role with the limited-overs team but was turned down.
Strauss refused to permanently rule Pietersen out from returning to the fold after the summer, when England go to South Africa, but admitted their relationship needs to improve.
“Over months and years, the trust between himself and the ECB has eroded, and we are in the situation now where there is a massive trust issue between Kevin and I,” Strauss told Sky. “Because of that, we have decided that it is not in the best short-term interests of the side for him to be in that team.
“I can’t give him any guarantees on the future but he is not banned from the side. No one knows what is going to happen in the future. Everyone knows there is no trust out there. If there is a way to build trust, then let’s look at it, but at the moment, we are quite estranged.”
Strauss said he, Harrison, and new ECB chairman Colin Graves were in agreement. It was Graves who offered Pietersen a lifeline back to international cricket, which England’s highest run-scorer across all formats accepted by signing for Surrey.
Pietersen, dropped following the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash in Australia, scored his first century of the county season on Monday and finished his innings on Tuesday unbeaten on 355, not long after Strauss’ comments.
On Monday, Pietersen said, “I want to play for England again soon. I just want to score runs. Personal differences between personalities has nothing to do with what the public wants. The public wants to see England cricket winning.”
The turbulent relationship between Pietersen and Strauss emerged before a 2012 Test series against South Africa. Pietersen was dropped from England before the opening encounter for sending messages to the Proteas regarding Strauss, his then-captain and, like Pietersen, born in South Africa.
Pietersen returned to the squad in 2013 but a year later, he was discarded again after England’s humiliating Ashes tour, where they were routed 5-0, and won only one limited-overs game.