England news March 18, 2015

Whitaker cold on Pietersen return

ESPNcricinfo staff

James Whitaker was not prepared to entertain the notion of a Kevin Pietersen return © Getty Images

James Whitaker, the England national selector, has poured cold water on the notion of Kevin Pietersen returning to play for England saying the batsman is "not part" of England's plans.

Pietersen, buoyed by incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves' suggestion that an England return is possible, is attempting to mount a challenge for an England recall by cancelling his IPL contract and fully committing to county cricket - but a deal with Surrey might be delayed until more clarity on his potential future is gained.

Graves has had a telephone conversation with Pietersen and intends to meet him when Pietersen returns from his BBC radio commentary duties at the World Cup. By that time, Graves will be officially in office.

Pietersen used his commentary stint to reaffirm his ambitions: "If I can do anything that can help me get back into it for England then it's something I want to do. I love playing for England."

But Whitaker, also speaking to the BBC, refused to entertain talk of Pietersen playing for England again, saying there was no place available in the England middle order.

"We haven't had discussions at all about Kevin," he said. "I know Colin very well, he is entitled to his opinion, but Kevin isn't part of our plans. We've been developing our team for a year in Test match cricket. We've had some good conversations about what happened after the end of Australia.

"We've produced some good middle-order players with Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Ian Bell continuing to perform well, so we are happy with where we are in the middle order."

England Test captain Alastair Cook also played down the prospect of Pietersen returning, saying: "I think it's very unlikely," he said. "There's been a hell of a lot of stuff happened with his book and all that kind of stuff. It's a long way back from that."

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