KP snub is England’s loss – Roberts

Published: Tuesday 9th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Former West Indies great Sir Andy Roberts believes England’s loss is the St Lucia Zouks’ gain as Kevin Pietersen prepares to embark upon the Caribbean Premier League.

Pietersen’s hopes of an international recall were dashed last month by new England director of cricket Andrew Strauss, despite the controversial batsman bludgeoning 355 not out for Surrey against Leicestershire in a LV= County Championship match.

Strauss highlighted “a massive trust issue” between the England and Wales Cricket Board and Pietersen as the reason for his continued exile from the England set-up.

But Roberts, part of the explosive pace quartet for the Windies in the 1970s and early 1980s, thinks the sole issue should only be whether the South African-born batsman is still capable of excelling in international cricket.

Asked whether Pietersen should still be playing for England, Roberts told Press Association Sport: “If he’s still scoring the runs and he’s fit to play then I see no reason why not. One of the things that I see is that we must keep personal matters out of the sport.

“Everybody accuses him of being selfish but I know for you to be a top class sportsman, in any category be it a team or self, you have to be selfish.

“With a team sport, if the selfishness becomes a distraction on the team then you’re no good for the team.

“But if the selfishness is for yourself and your team benefits then there’s no problem with that. If Kevin Pietersen is selfish and goes out to bat and scores 100 in 80-odd balls, that must be for the benefit of the team.

“I used to want to get all the wickets because I knew that if I got all the wickets it would help the team win.”

Pietersen will head to St Lucia unburdened for the third instalment of the Caribbean’s Twenty20 competition, the second time he will represent the Zouks after playing in the latter stages of their campaign last year.

And Roberts, who will be mentoring the Zouks for the tournament which gets under way on June 20, hopes the 34-year-old can have the same impact.

“Once Kevin Pietersen comes to St Lucia Zouks and prepares to play his part I don’t think he’ll have a problem with anybody. He didn’t have any problems with any of us last year when he came for two matches,” said Roberts.

“I found that he helped and he looked to help some of the youngsters. They had a few conversations with him and some have seen wisdom in what he’s said.”

Pietersen will be one of the senior players for the Zouks in a squad also containing New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor and West Indies pacemen Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel.

Bowling all-rounder Darren Sammy will captain the side, who have failed to progress beyond the group stage in the first two editions with Roberts hoping for better fortunes this year.

“We’re hoping that this year we can get a little further on in the competition,” added Roberts, who took 202 wickets in 47 Tests for the Windies.

“We’re not short of experience this year, what they’ve been short of in the last couple of years is victories and we’re hoping that we can better that this year.”

Published: Tuesday 9th June 2015 by The News Editor

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