Kevin Pietersen has been left out of England’s squad for the third cricket Test against South Africa at Lord’s, only a day after the batsman committed himself to the team following a wrangle over his international future.
Pietersen, 32, last week questioned whether he’d continue with the national team after the current series. In an interview on YouTube yesterday he said he’d had a “change of heart” and wanted to represent England in all three forms of the sport. Previously he said he wanted to give up 50-over internationals.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said today it has held “several discussions” with the South African-born player but has been unable to reach an agreement with Pietersen on his inclusion. It said one sticking point was that Pietersen is yet to confirm publicly that he didn’t send derogatory text messages about England to South Africa players, as media reports said.
“The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust,” Hugh Morris, managing director of England cricket, said in the statement. “Whilst we have made every attempt to find a solution to enable Kevin to be selected we have sadly had to conclude that, in the best interest of the team, he will miss the Lord’s Test.”
England needs to win the final match to tie the series and retain its No. 1 Test ranking. South Africa won the first match at the Oval in London by an innings and 12 runs, while the second game at Headingley in Leeds was a draw.
Jonny Bairstow comes into the squad for the third Test and will play if England maintains its recent policy of selecting six batsmen and four frontline bowlers.
On May 31, Pietersen said he’d only play Test match cricket in future. He wanted to pull out of 50-over one-day internationals and carry on with Tests and Twenty20s but ECB contracts don’t allow that.
Pietersen said last week his “obstacles” to playing for England were not about money, but that there were issues within the dressing room he had to address.
Subsequently it was reported that he had sent texts to South African players during the Headingley Test, which the Daily Mail said contained “less than flattering” comments about captain Andrew Strauss and his teammates.
The ECB said it gave Pietersen an additional six hours today to provide a solution, including the chance for him to make a public comment about the texts.
The third Test starts Aug. 16.
England squad: A Strauss (Middlesex, captain), J Anderson (Lancashire), J Bairstow (Yorkshire), I Bell (Warwickshire), T Bresnan (Yorkshire), S Broad (Nottinghamshire), A Cook (Essex), S Finn (Middlesex), G Onions (Durham), M Prior (Sussex), G Swann (Nottinghamshire), J Taylor (Nottinghamshire), I Trott (Warwickshire).