Cricket

KP set to miss out on World T20 defence

England seem sure to announce on Tuesday that Kevin Pietersen will play no part in their World Twenty20 title defence.

 
KP to miss out on WT20 - CricketReuters
 

The controversial batsman's international career is in jeopardy as his row with the England and Wales Cricket Board continues. There seems little chance of the issue being resolved in time for the 32-year-old to be included in the 15-man squad for the tournament in Sri Lanka which begins next month.

Pietersen has retracted the decision to retire from all forms of international limited-overs cricket which precluded his inclusion in the preliminary 30-man squad, but it is still unclear when he will be welcomed back.

Pietersen was left out of the side for the third Test against South Africa after admitting sending "provocative" text messages to members of the opposition.

Official confirmation of the World Twenty20 squad is expected to be announced on Tuesday morning, along with a probable 13-man group to face South Africa in five upcoming one-day internationals.

Pietersen was one of the stars of the team which won the last edition of the event - England's first success in a major global tournament - in the Caribbean two years ago. His probable omission from the T20 squad could leave the way clear for one-day international captain Alastair Cook to earn a place at the top of the order.

Cook has not played a T20 international for almost three years but would add an experienced opening option to the dynamic Craig Kieswetter and Alex Hales. Ian Bell might be an alternative and could find a place towards the top of the order while Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler all look good bets for selection.

Another matter which needs to be addressed concerns Ravi Bopara, who has become an established member of the limited-overs sides but has recently had personal issues. Bopara has played little cricket since pulling out of the second Test against South Africa but did feature for Essex in a CB40 match on Sunday.

Team captain Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach and Tim Bresnan look the favoured options in the seam bowling department, meaning James Anderson could miss out. The spin bowling duties likely to be critical on the subcontinent are set to be filled by Graeme Swann and Samit Patel.

England are in Group A for the first-round stage of the 12-team tournament alongside India and the fast-improving Afghanistan. The top two sides will progress to the Super Eight.

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