Australia in England, 2005 July 3, 2005

Graveney hints at Pietersen selection


Kevin Pietersen has boosted his chances of playing the the Ashes © Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen looks set to make his Ashes debut for England at Lord's later this month after impressing the England selectors. David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, admitted Pietersen had put forward an 'irresistible case' for a place in the Ashes team against Australia, but said the selectors have yet to make up their minds on the starting XI.

"Kevin is very close," Graveney told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme. "I wish I had a pound for every time I had been asked whether he was going to be picked but he has stated an irresistible case with the way he has been playing. "But we must not forget, Graham Thorpe has been a class act for a number of years. It is a difficult problem for the selectors, but it is also a nice problem."

Pietersen stated his case after hitting an unbeaten 91 in his first one-day outing against Australia, at Bristol, last month, following a series of sensational one-day performances in South Africa in the winter. He currently averages 99.57 in ODIs.

His Test claims could prove difficult to resist even though Thorpe, his chief rival for a place in England's Test side, is one of the few players to enjoy previous success against Australia. Graveney, Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher will meet next week to discuss their selection options for the five-Test series against Ricky Ponting's side.