Sport

Pietersen's int'l career seems ended

Wednesday, August 22, 2012    

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LONDON, England (AP) — For all his brash brilliance with the bat, Kevin Pietersen's divisive influence within the England dressing room may have finally cost him any hope of playing for the national team again.

For the sake of team unity, English cricket may need to sacrifice the former captain who steered the national team to its first major international title in 2010.

When the team heads to Sri Lanka next month to defend that World Twenty20 title, Pietersen will not be in the 15-man squad.

"It's a very sad situation for everyone involved," England team director Andy Flower said yesterday.

There appears to be no way back for Pietersen after he sent text messages to South Africa players that were apparently critical of his teammates during the Test series that ended Monday with the Proteas replacing England as the number one Test team in the world.

"He's absolute history," former England captain Tony Greig said. "There's no way he'll ever play again."

When he lets his cricket do the talking, Pietersen has been one of the sport's most destructive batsman, with an average of 34.76 in T20 matches and 49.48 in Tests.

The 6-foot-4 (1.93-metre) batsman became a crowd favourite for the English for his vicious attacks on opposition bowlers. His ability to turn a match on its head with unorthodox power shots won widespread admiration.

In what may have been his last game for England, the second Test against South Africa at Headingley, Pietersen hit a brutal 149 against a fearsome bowling attack.

He was dropped for the final Test following the revelation of the text messages to his rivals.

With his talent at the crease increasingly overshadowed by his petulance away from it, the England and Wales Cricket Board is in no rush to rebuild bridges.

"He played superbly in our last Twenty20 World Cup, but the circumstances that exist at the moment mean that he can't be selected for us," Flower told Sky Sports television. "There are still issues unresolved and we will be addressing those issues when we have time to do so."

Pietersen is reported to have used one of the harshest insults in the Afrikaans language to describe captain Andrew Strauss in the texts. But the problems are not just about the rift between him and other team members.

"There are deeper issues," Flower said. "Certainly the issues of trust and mutual respect need to be addressed, there are unresolved issues that have reared their heads in the last few weeks."

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