England news December 19, 2012

Pietersen contract set to be extended

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Kevin Pietersen's return to the England set-up is likely to be given a final stamp of authority by the ECB with the upgrading of his four-month central contract to a full, year-long one.

Pietersen, who was dropped from the squad during the Test series against South Africa after a breakdown in relations with the dressing room, was given a short-term contract at the beginning of October, after England's exit from the World Twenty20. That would run up until the end of January but Andy Flower, England's team manager, indicated that Pietersen's "reintegration" had gone smoothly and a new contract, covering home and away series against New Zealand and the Ashes, will be a formality.

"The contract won't be a problem," Flower said. "Kevin has been excellent in every way. We don't all always get on with people all of the time - any of us in any walk of life - and everyone has made an effort to make it work."

The temporary arrangement allowed Pietersen to be selected for England's tour of India, where they secured a first Test series win since 1985. Pietersen made a crucial century in the series-levelling win in Mumbai and ended as England's second-highest run-scorer, and Flower was keen to praise his efforts. "It's been really good fun and he should be very proud of the way he's operated out here, both as an individual and as a player," he said.

Pietersen, along with the majority of England's Test squad, has returned home after being rested for the two-match T20 series with India, which begins on Thursday. He will be part of the ODI squad flying back out to India in January and is set to play his first one-day match in almost a year, since scoring back-to-back hundreds in England's 4-0 whitewash of Pakistan in the UAE.

Just a few months later, Pietersen announced his surprise retirement from limited-overs international cricket, setting off a chain of events that culminated in his exclusion from the England set-up but Flower insisted the issues had been fully resolved.

"We did move on from it as soon as we had our meetings and everyone made a commitment to do so," Flower said of the behind-the-scenes process to smooth Pietersen's return to the squad. "I want to continue that, moving forward. We want to learn from the past, but we don't want to keep on revisiting it."

While Pietersen has been included for the five ODIs against India, James Anderson and Jonathan Trott have been rested, in line with England's move towards a more flexible selection policy. Pietersen's temporary retirement was in part down to a feeling that too much was being demanded of England cricketers and the message appears to have been heeded, and even extended to the management. The ODI series will be Ashley Giles' first in charge of the limited-overs sides, with Flower taking a more back-seat role.

"We want to make this new coaching structure work for English cricket like we did the three captains," Flower said. "It's not gimmickry; we want to make the most efficient use of our resources and our personnel. I think we're lucky to have a coach of Ashley Giles' quality taking over and we want some of his ideas and energy to assist in taking our limited-overs sides up a notch or two. We believe he can do that."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dabhand on December 20, 2012, 16:27 GMT

    @trav29 - I think you are missing one key point though - KP is 5 years older, so assuming all things remain equal he will have 5 years longer than KP to add to his tally and naturally *greatness* has to be relative to what either do on the field counts, but that has to include throwing hissy fits. @sachin_vvsfan, that's what teams are all about, everyone, not just an individual - not even KP can win single handed, he doesn't bowl enough ;-)

  • Charlie101 on December 20, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    @Alex Alleyne you have missed the point KP had his second attempt at running English cricket - the first was with Peter Moore and the second was his bizarre retirement from th ODI team expecting the management to allow him to play in the T20 world cup. He lost big time on both occasions

    The good thing is that now he understands the system is stronger than him and various other team members are also behaving and we have a a winning team again.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on December 20, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    The fact that he is not English does not concern me - let's face it all English teams over the past 40 years have been packed full of players from elsewhere. However at this very moment his head will be expanding and by the time the IPL comes round it will be the size of The Oval.

  • yorkshirematt on December 20, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    @trav29 What I'm saying is that he's incredibly frustrating. He has the potential and the talent to be the greatest player ever, but he needs to use his head and cut out the regular daft dismissals. What he's like as a bloke is of no consequence to me

  • dummy4fb on December 20, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    kevin pietersen has a wonderful record against india and his recent controversies didnt stop him from scoring runs in the series. such is his talent and no cricket board would like to loose him

  • jmcilhinney on December 20, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    @SurlyCynic on (December 19 2012, 12:10 PM GMT), um, there pretty much weren't any. It was always the non-England fans whining about KP not being English. There were certainly some England fans who questioned KP's commitment to English cricket, but that's hardly the same thing. Many would question Chris Gayle's commitment to WI cricket but that doesn't mean that they don't think that he's WI enough. Feel free to lie, bend the truth or distort facts in an attempt to make your tired old point though. KP wasn't born in England. We get it. Got anything useful to say?

  • sachin_vvsfan on December 20, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    His innings in mumbai turned the fortunes in Eng favour. With out Monty and KP cooks lone battle would have been in vain.

  • dummy4fb on December 20, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    When on song he is the best batsman in the world. He can take any bowler to the cleaners and for those who doubt his ability, they better confirm my statement form McGrath, Warne, Brett Lee, Steyn and Morkel. He has a touch of genius to his batting.

  • Akhter786 on December 20, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    KP is surely among the modern day genius, only his presence has such a deep impact on the match that it becomes irresistible.

    Though Cook is now the best batsman in england side but KP is the most impactful, even his fifties lift the team and leaves opposition desparate

  • IuR. on December 20, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    KP is the best guy. very very good news

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