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July 18, 2012
Kevin Pietersen has been omitted from England's provisional 30-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later this year, despite his insistence that he was available for the event. The announcement suggests Pietersen is unlikely to end his premature retirement from limited-overs internationals in the near future.
Pietersen, who was player of the tournament when England won the World T20 in the Caribbean in 2010 - the only global trophy they have ever won - has always maintained his desire to play in England's defence. Last week he said he would also be open to an ODI return if his schedule could be lessened. "I would love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket," he said.
Under the terms of England central contracts, a player cannot be considered for one format of the limited-overs game unless they are available for both. While Pietersen's comments suggest he is prepared to play all formats, the England management still consider him 'retired' as he remains reluctant to commit to the team's full schedule.
Andy Flower, the England team director, responded to the news that Pietersen's representatives were in talks with the ECB by saying that the situation had not changed and that a return was unlikely. He appears to have got his way, with Alex Hales, who scored 99 on his return to the T20I side against West Indies in June, likely to continue as opener.
The final squad will be cut to 15 by August 18, ahead of the start of the tournament in mid-September. England's first game will be against Afghanistan on September 21, with India also in Group A. While there is scope for players outside the 30 to be named in the final 15, it can only happen in exceptional circumstances. That usually means injury.
While there is no place for Pietersen, there are recalls for England's ODI captain, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, who has recently made a successful return to the ODI side, Michael Lumb, who opened for England in the Caribbean in 2010, and Gareth Batty, who enjoyed a good domestic T20 season with Surrey. Joe Root, the young Yorkshire batsman, is also included for the first time, as is Lancashire's Steven Croft, alongside other young players such as Ben Stokes, James Taylor and Jos Buttler.
Matt Prior, England's Test wicketkeeper who has continued to impress in limited-overs cricket at domestic level, is also an intriguing selection and offers a potential alternative to Craig Kieswetter.
Provisional squad Stuart Broad (capt), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Gareth Batty, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Scott Borthwick, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Steven Croft, Steven Davies, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Stuart Meaker, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Graeme Swann, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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