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March 18, 2014
Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, has said there is no going back to Kevin Pietersen, putting a line through any speculation of a potential England recall.
Clarke said the decision to sack Pietersen was a "brave one" as England look to rebuild following the disastrous Ashes tour and Andy Flower stepping down as team director. His message to England supporters clamouring for Pietersen's return was to "move on".
"Who plays for England is a matter for the national selectors and their decision was a brave one," Clarke told the Evening Standard. "You select your captain, you discuss what that captain requires, what he's looking for. He has to decide what that team is about and what needs doing. This is about the culture of the team."
Pietersen was sacked in February for breaking team ethics and the only possible path back into the national side would be via a new head coach who insisted on Pietersen's selection. Clarke appeared to have ruled out such a scenario.
"English supporters must move on. There isn't going to be any going back, that's for sure. The Ashes tour was a watershed.
"Your No. 3 batsman leaves the tour after the first Test. That's pretty cataclysmic, frankly. Then your world-class offspinner retires. You cannot stop men retiring even during a series. Then you lose the series. You've got to build a team. You're going to need to make changes."
Creating a new team ethic is at the heart of England's rebuilding, under new managing director Paul Downton, and Clarke is hoping English cricket can learn from rugby, where head coach Stuart Lancaster has led a revival.
"Lancaster has done a fantastic job," Clarke said. "In a very short space of time, he has sorted out English rugby. He's talked the language of teams that Paul Downton and I like very much.
"Paul said to me, 'If you look at the most successful sporting team over the last 100 years, of course, it is the All Blacks'. One of the fundamentals they live by is the team. You just don't get to play if you don't believe in it. In the end the team must matter."
Pietersen may have been judged to not believe in Team England anymore but the Delhi Daredevils feel he is the right man for them, appointing him as captain for the new IPL season. Delhi are coached by Gary Kirsten - seen by many as the outstanding candidate to become England's new head coach; Kirsten has ruled himself out of the running.
England will appoint a new head coach in May ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka but for the immediate future they enter their second World T20 running without the player who led them to their maiden global title in 2010, when Pietersen was Man of the Series in the Caribbean. Their preparations took a further blow with a crushing defeat to West Indies in their opening warm-up match in Fatullah.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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