KP England reunion hopes scuppered

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Published: Sunday 11th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Kevin Pietersen’s unlikely bid to take on England in a tour match in Canberra next week is over after Chris Rogers was called up to captain an Australian Prime Minister’s XI.

England limber up for the Carlton Mid Tri-Series and the subsequent World Cup with a game against an ACT XI on Monday before taking on the PM’s representative team two days later at the Manuka Oval.

The hosts were due to be captained by Mike Hussey, but the veteran Ashes winner was ruled out after suffering a calf injury in the Big Bash.

A high-profile replacement was required to lead the side in his absence and Pietersen, controversially sacked by England a year ago and engaged in a toxic war of words with his former employers ever since, cheekily put his hat in the ring.

While playing for Melbourne Stars on Saturday, he declared himself “always available” while chatting with commentators on the player mic and later tweeted Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reiterate his hopes of featuring.

But his advances came to nothing, with Australia Test opener Rogers instead handed the prestigious role.

The 37-year-old will now go head to head with one-time Middlesex team-mate Eoin Morgan, who was named as England’s one-day captain in place of the sacked Alastair Cook last month.

Asked about Pietersen’s eagerness to line-up against his old colleagues, Morgan played a reassuringly straight bat in his first media conference as skipper.

“I think it was very ambitious,” he said.

“It’s a hugely prestigious game, for the Prime Minister’s XI. To give an opportunity to somebody who is not Australian is pretty ambitious.

“When sides tour England and we put out Lions teams we give opportunities to our youngest and best.

“I don’t think it would have spiced up the game at all. It doesn’t really bother me.”

Announcing the change to his side, Prime Minister Abbott said: “It is disappointing that Mike Hussey won’t be available to take his place as captain on Wednesday but I wish him a speedy recovery from his injury.

“I am pleased that Chris Rogers has accepted the invitation to take Mike’s place as captain. Chris has a wealth of international and domestic experience and after a successful Test series he is well placed to lead the team.”

Speaking about his appointment as captain, Rogers said: “It’s a great honour for me to be selected as captain of the Prime Minister’s XI to take on England.

“This is an important fixture on the Australian cricketing calendar and is steeped in tradition.

“I’m looking forward to following in the footsteps of Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee and others in leading this PM’s XI under lights at Manuka Oval.”

The PM’s XI also includes paceman Pat Cummins and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who were named in Australia’s World Cup squad on Sunday.

Published: Sunday 11th January 2015 by The News Editor

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