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July 15, 2012
A return to one-day internationals for Kevin Pietersen appears unlikely which means his ambitions to play in the World Twenty20 will continue to be scuppered with Andy Flower, the England team director, sticking to his original stance on the issue.
Over the week Pietersen has said he wants to play "three or four" more years in all international formats providing a schedule he is happy with can be negotiated with the ECB. Initial meetings have taken place with the board, but they do not want to be in the situation where a senior player is seen to be picking and choosing when he plays on his own accord.
Pietersen continues to believe the demands placed on him if he plays all three formats are far too great. However, claims that "I've never been looked after" appear a little wide of the mark given the security that comes with central contracts and the support he has had when injured.
Pietersen's retirement from ODIs meant he became ineligible for Twenty20 international selection as the ECB central contracts stipulate players have to be available for both formats. England need to submit a 30-man World Twenty20 squad to the ICC by Wednesday so time is running out for the situation to be resolved in Pietersen's favour.
Flower, a man of principle who counts loyalty as a major factor, does not see a way back for Pietersen. "As things stand at the moment, no, there isn't,"he told the Mail on Sunday.
"The situation is the same as it was when he first approached us. The ECB are determined to protect all three formats of the game and part of that is not setting a precedent of allowing players to retire from one-day cricket alone.
"The intent behind it is that we are serving English cricket in its entirety," Flower added. "We have to take personalities out of the equation. We all are lucky enough to have the choice about what we do. There are many people in this world that aren't lucky enough to have a choice. Here we're talking about a sporting situation and we all have our choices. I don't have to sign a contract with the ECB if I don't want to."
In the week leading towards the start of a major Test series against South Africa, which will determine the No. 1 ranking, Pietersen's stance has created a talking point that Flower wishes was not around.
"Situations like these make it a little more complicated," he said. "It doesn't mean that they can't work but it does make it a little more complicated. And I tell you one thing, none of us can afford for these types of issues to be distractions."
Geoff Miller, the national selector who is in charge of putting together the preliminary World Twenty20 squad, said if Pietersen was fully committed to 50- and 20-over cricket he would be welcomed back in the team but his name had not been involved in recent selection discussions. "My job is to pick players who are available," he said.
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