Morgan: No recall for Pietersen


Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Eoin Morgan has quashed Kevin Pietersen’s fanciful hopes of an England recall, insisting his promotion as one-day captain does not change a thing.

It is more than a year since Pietersen last wore the Three Lions, having been controversially sacked after England’s ill-fated Ashes tour, but his star status and provocative public comments mean his name is never far away.

He caused a new stir earlier this week during a commentating stint in the Big Bash by suggesting that Morgan wanted him back in England’s one-day squad.

The Irishman has a more cordial relationship with Pietersen than many of his former team-mates, but made it clear on arriving in Australia that he was happy with the 15-man party.

Pietersen’s intervention ensured the situation was revisited on the eve of the Carlton Mid Tri-Series but Morgan was keen to remove any doubt this time.

“I think this is a good opportunity to clear things up, given that Kevin has a lot of opportunity to talk in the media and get his point of view out there,” said Morgan.

“I’m very happy with the group of players I have. I think this is the best group of players we have to drive the England team forward over the next two months in particular.

“Kevin’s situation hasn’t changed over the last year. It’s been reiterated over months and days. It was reiterated before Christmas by the chairman of selectors (James Whitaker) and I’m reiterating it again just to clear it up.”

Morgan’s frustration at the Pietersen issue overshadowing the squad’s first week Down Under became obvious when he was asked directly if the 34-year-old would make the team stronger.

“I think that’s a terrible question,” he said, stony-faced.

“Kevin is not in the side, he won’t be in the side for the foreseeable future, so there’s no point in answering that question.”

In truth, England face a more pressing problem than Pietersen ahead of Friday’s clash with Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

James Anderson is still struggling with a knee injury that kept him out of the recent tour of Sri Lanka.

He sat out England’s second warm-up match against a Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra in the hope of featuring at the SCG but that is still not guaranteed.

“Probably the only concern at the moment is Jimmy. He will go through a full practice (on Thursday) and see how he pulls up in the morning,” said Morgan.

“It (resting Anderson) was more managing his workload coming back from his injury. We decided he wouldn’t be able to play three games in a week and obviously the most important game is Friday.

“For him to be fit for selection he needed to up his workload in the nets and if he’d have played he wouldn’t have pulled up that well.

“I obviously want a full squad of players to pick from. Hopefully he’ll be fit for selection and if not he will be in time for Brisbane.”

Should Anderson require rehabilitation time, England face a choice between Chris Jordan and Steven Finn.

Jordan offers superior batting but struggled against the PM’s XI, shipping 60 in six overs as Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell targeted him.

Finn, meanwhile, is still short of the form that briefly made him England’s most threatening one-day bowler.

He has only bowled four overs on tour, having lost out to Jordan last time out.

The batting order looks settled, with each of the top having scored at least fifty in both warm-ups.

Ian Bell’s 187 against the PM’s XI is the country’s highest ever one-day score and he will be looking to take that form into the Tri-Series against India and Australia.

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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