England news September 7, 2012

Pietersen not awarded central contract

Kevin Pietersen is notable by his absence from the list of players awarded central contracts for the 2012-13 season by the ECB.

Pietersen has been left out of the England team since the Leeds Test against South Africa following the revelation that he sent messages containing derogatory remarks about the England captain, Andrew Strauss, to members of the South Africa touring squad. It later emerged that Pietersen's relationship with several members of the England squad had deteriorated to an unhealthy level.

In releasing a statement containing the names of the ten centrally contracted players, the ECB said: "In respect to Kevin Pietersen discussions are ongoing and they remain private." It is understood that Andy Flower, the England coach, and Pietersen met last weekend, but that there is some way to go before a resolution to the issue is found.

While the ECB can add to the list of centrally contracted players at any point, time is running out before the Test squad to India is announced. The ECB originally hoped to announce the squad before the team depart for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in about a week's time, though they could delay it to allow Pietersen and Flower to continue their discussions during the tournament. Pietersen is due to be in Sri Lanka working for ESPN STAR as a summariser.

There is also some doubt as to Pietersen's desire to sign a central contract. While he recently reaffirmed his commitment to England in all forms of cricket, not signing a central contract would allow him to perform in the whole IPL and other T20 leagues such as Australia's BBL. It is also understood that Pietersen remains underwhelmed about the parody Twitter account that he feels may have been more directly influenced by some England team-mates than is thought by the ECB.

Chris Tremlett, who has been injured for almost the entire season and Strauss, who has retired, are also omitted from the list of players awarded contracts last year.

Eoin Morgan retains a central contract despite having not featured in the Test side since the series against Pakistan in the UAE, while Graham Onions is the one player added to the list of those players awarded incremental contracts. Morgan's inclusion may also provide encouragement to him ahead of the announcement of the Test squad to India.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "Congratulations to Graham Onions who is the one addition to the list of players who have been awarded increment contracts and is in recognition of the effort he has put in since his return from injury in 2011 and an indication that we feel he has plenty to offer England in the coming months."

"Contracts are on-going recognition for those players who have regularly been selected for England and have performed consistently as well as players who we feel could play an important role for England over the next 12 months."

England central contracts James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Matt Prior (Sussex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

England incremental contracts Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Graham Onions (Durham)

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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