FORMER Australia batsman Matthew Hayden yesterday labelled ex-England skipper Kevin Pietersen’s enforced exile from international duty “ludicrous”.
The 34-year-old is England’s highest run-scorer across all formats of the game but saw his central contract terminated in February following last winter’s dismal Ashes tour, before releasing his controversial book KP: The Autobiography in October.
Pietersen remains in the wilderness after being omitted from England’s 15-man World Cup squad, which was named on Saturday ahead of January’s tri-series against hosts Australia and India, a decision Hayden has questioned.
“It’s ludicrous Kevin Pietersen is not in the England squad, it’s just crazy,” said Hayden. “World Cups are won on innovative batting and we’ve seen that progression in thinking in batsmen, particularly because of the T20 format of the game.”
Pietersen has continuously expressed his desire to return to the England fold, most recently following the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to remove Alastair Cook as one-day international captain and replace him with Eoin Morgan.
“Great news that @Eoin16 is new England one-day captain. Top player, leader and bloke. Hope I get to play for him.” tweeted Pietersen.
But the maverick batsman’s hopes of an international renaissance look forlorn after the ECB’s managing director Paul Downton poured cold water on the concept of an recall.
“We parted company with Kevin because throughout then ECB management, from the dressing room up to the board, it was felt that it was the right decision to go in a slightly different direction,” said Downton. “If anything more bridges have been burned by Kevin’s book. There is no interest from our point of view in going backwards. We’ve got an exciting group of young players and Eoin’s excited to be working with those guys. He wants to fulfil the team’s potential.”