May not be space for KP – Gatting

Published: Monday 20th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Former England captain Mike Gatting believes Kevin Pietersen should not walk straight back into the international set-up, even if he piles on the runs for Surrey this season.

Pietersen has returned to the LV= County Championship in a bid to stake a claim for an England recall, although the 34-year-old only managed 19 runs against Glamorgan on Sunday.

England were held to a draw in the opening Test of a three-match series against West Indies last week, and calls for a Pietersen comeback continue to linger ahead of the Ashes this summer.

“There are a few bridges that still need to be rebuilt,” said Gatting, who had just penned a congratulation message to James Anderson, England’s leading Test wicket-taker, as part of Slazenger’s celebratory flag tour.

“Even if KP scores runs there might not be spaces available. If Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Joe Root play well, there might not be a place for him.

“You’ve got to have somebody who isn’t playing well to get Pietersen in.

“He doesn’t just come straight back – that would be unfair on the people in there at the moment.

“If he does get runs, fine, but that’s not the end of it.

“If people are playing well in the team, why should he just get straight in?”

Bell and Ballance both hit centuries in Antigua while Root also showed signs of good form with scores of 83 and 59.

The scorecard was less encouraging for England captain Alastair Cook, however, who could only manage 11 and 13, stretching his run without a Test century to 33 innings.

Cook’s poor performances saw him removed as One-Day captain before the World Cup earlier this year and Gatting admits more questions will be asked of the England skipper if he fails to find runs against West Indies.

“Alastair knows what he’s got to do, he’s got to get some runs,” Gatting said.

“We can keep speculating but I suspect at the end of the West Indies series, they’ll look at it and if he hasn’t got any runs there might be some questions asked.

“He might possibly get the series against New Zealand – the fact is Alastair has got more 100s than anyone else has and people do go through bad patches in their careers.

“Alastair has had a break, when he was left out of the One-Day series, he’s had time to get himself sorted.

“Maybe he needs a break from the captaincy, that’s for people to sit and decide, I suspect it’s about the runs though, not the captaincy.

“He’s a well-respected man in the team, the fact is he’s a batsman, he’s a captain and if he fails to get the runs somebody will have to make a decision.”

Published: Monday 20th April 2015 by The News Editor

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