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Pietersen makes England return

David Hopps

June 20, 2013

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Kevin Pietersen, who returns to first-class action for Surrey against Yorkshire at Headingley on Friday, is poised to make his England return against New Zealand next Thursday on his home ground at The Oval.

He has been named in a 14-strong squad for two T20 internationals against New Zealand, but is only scheduled to play in the second match on June 27.

Eoin Morgan captains a squad which includes two uncapped players in Yorkshire's Gary Ballance and the Warwickshire fast bowler Boyd Rankin and which, Pietersen apart, does not include any player likely to figure in the first Investec Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge on July 10

It would be his first match for England since the Wellington Test against New Zealand in March after which he broke down with a bruised knee bone, causing him to miss the IPL, start of the English season and the Champions Trophy.

Pietersen will join the squad for the second match provided he successfully completes what will be a rare Championship outing for Surrey - back on the Headingley ground nearly 11 months after his complaints about dressing room tensions led to a prolonged stand-off with officialdom.

The squad is also notable for the inclusion of Ben Stokes, who was sent home from the Lions tour of Australia in February after two breaches of discipline, and Alex Hales, who was disciplined but not sent home after an incident on the same tour and who has been so out of form this season that he has been dropped from Nottinghamshire's Championship side.

Rankin announced his retirement from Ireland cricket at the end of 2012 but, until he plays for England, could reverse that decision without serving any qualification period. Aged 29 in a couple of weeks and with a history of injury problems, his inclusion in an England team would be highly likely to close the door on a Ireland return.

Geoff Miller, England's national selector, said: "With an intense period of cricket coming up we are conscious that we need to manage the workloads of our players throughout the summer and this NatWest series gives an opportunity for players who have performed well in domestic cricket and on the England Performance Programme and with the Lions to step up and test themselves in an international environment.

"New Zealand are a talented limited-overs side and with a World T20 competition less than a year away this series gives us a chance to look at a number of different options."

England squad: Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Michael Lumb (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Tredwell (Kent), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex)

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by aracer on (June 22, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

"Great to see KP back and I reckon a game of T20 is exactly what he'll enjoy at this time. He's probably one of the only England players that can find form for Test matches in games like this because for KP it's all about his confidence and how well he's seeing the ball."

I agree, Optic - if anything KP is actually better off finding his form in this format than in a longer one as he has no inhibitions in T20 and as you say for him it's just about getting the feel, he doesn't need to get used to a different tempo. Would be better if he could get a couple of these matches under his belt, but he will at least have got some other cricket and it's really just about getting him back in the England dressing room.

Posted by wdekwende on (June 21, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

Garry Balance should have been palying for Zimbabwe but anyway im glad the English selectors saw some huge talent in this lad, hope he will impress....

Posted by SDHM on (June 21, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

As for Stokes being England's Kallis, I can't say I see it - 1) because Kallis is such an incredible player it would be ridiculous to put that pressure on him and 2) I see Stokes more in the Botham/Flintoff mould of all rounder, an impact player who can change the course of a game in a session with bat or ball, rather than someone with the consistency of Kallis.

Posted by shad11 on (June 21, 2013, 7:45 GMT)

fantastic team,guys like stokes, hales and ballance are some of the hardest hitters in the world and they are the future of this team.not sure about rankin but looking at this team he is probably the best bowler in this team so can't blame his selection.its nice if kp gets a game.i would love to watch stokes perform;nz will be coming hard is well with mccullum,taylor and guptill and inclusion of ruthrford and latham is a positive move by nz

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (June 21, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

It is very much an experimental squad. Definitely Gary Balance is an excellent pick. Some interesting names but nothing outrageous (unless you count Jade Dernbach, but he seems par for the course - why didn't they pick Stuart Meaker instead???). Plenty of younger players who have a chance to show what they can do and make a claim to step up. These matches are definitely not a high priority, must-win series, so you use them wisely to look at your bench strength for future, bigger tests.

Good news/bad news on KP. Great that he is back. However, I understand that he is only slated to play in the second match. Add that to a maximum of 4 days Championship cricket and a few T20s for Surrey and he is going to have very little middle time under his belt come the 1st Test, most of it in the format most unlike Tests: very underdone. Selecting him for the 1st Test may turn out to be a big risk.

Posted by   on (June 21, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Cant Wait to See You back in Action KP, I am Coming to the Oval on Thursday to watch you Bat. Good Luck and All the Best KP.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (June 21, 2013, 4:47 GMT)

@ clarke501, just havin a laugh no doubt he's an englishman now, pretty sure he was born here in nz but left for your shores as a kid so you're right he hasn't played any rep cricket here and is only one team he is ever going to represent and it aint us. every team in the world is looking fora flintoff, cairns, kallis type allrounder and i would say he is the closest england have thats why im surprised he hasn't had more oppotunity for you guys, thats why i made that remark, he is a young man and time is on his side so i guess you don't have to rush him, exciting talent like that though doesn't sit on the sidelines long in nz, we don't have that luxuary.

Posted by Shan156 on (June 20, 2013, 23:31 GMT)

Good squad. I hope the new boys perform well and secure a place in the side.

Posted by whatawicket on (June 20, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

luke hill what a load of rot. knotty was a cracker of a batter. in the test match that Botham made his debut against Australia at notts AK scored 130 odd which was one of the best knocks I have seen live. this guy would have been in his element in the moden short game be it T20 or ODIs. the finest WK in the last 50 years from any country

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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