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Pietersen ruled out of World Cup

Kevin Pietersen at England's training session ahead of their World Cup match against South Africa Associated Press

Kevin Pietersen has been ruled out of the World Cup due to his hernia and will return home immediately to undergo surgery. He complained of further soreness following an eight-over spell during England's six-run victory over South Africa in Chennai and Eoin Morgan has been confirmed as his replacement

"I fly home tonight. Out of the WC & IPL. Absolutely devastated!!" Pietersen said on his Twitter page on Monday morning. Morgan's call-up to the World Cup completes a full turnaround for the left-hander who was initially ruled out of the tournament with a broken finger picked up in Australia.

However, after being told he needed surgery the injury didn't prove as severe as first thought and Morgan has followed the same route as Michael Hussey, who replaced Doug Bollinger for Australia after recovering from his hamstring injury, into a tournament that appeared to have passed him by.

Pietersen, meanwhile, will be out of action for around six weeks after surgery, which means he will struggle to be fit in time to take up his contract with Deccan Chargers in the IPL, but he is expected to return in time for the first Test of the home season against Sri Lanka, in Cardiff, on May 26. Pietersen's injury was confirmed after the team returned from Australia last month and revealed on Saturday, although the original intention had been to manage the problem through the rest of the World Cup.

Reacting to the news, England's coach, Andy Flower, reiterated his belief that Pietersen could have made it through the tournament with careful management, and remarked that the player might have tried to "bite the bullet". "Unfortunately he says the pain is too debilitating, and he can't go on like that," added Flower. "So it's a pretty simple decision to replace him."

Despite his early Twitter remarks, Pietersen was quick to look on the bright side of his early return to England, with the prospect of seeing his young son, Dylan, right at the top of his priorities. "Every cloud has a silver lining they say.. Well, as frustrated as I am to be missing the rest of the WC & IPL, I'll be at home with my family & friends.. I haven't been home properly since 29 Oct... Time with family & friends is always sorely missed when on the rd... Can't wait to see my little man....."

On a spinning wicket in Chennai, England had no option but to turn to Pietersen's offbreaks in a bid to force their crucial victory over South Africa and the decision to send him home was made after the game. He had picked up a groin strain during the one-day series in Australia but only missed one match. However, with only three days back at home between that tour and leaving for the World Cup there was little time for players to overcome any injury concerns.

Pietersen had taken on a new role at the World Cup, having been promoted to open the batting alongside Andrew Strauss. He had looked in good form during his first three innings with scores of 39, 31 and 59 before edging to slip for 2 in the first over of the match in Chennai. Pietersen spent time off the field during Ireland's famous run-chase on Wednesday and looked hampered during the tense final stages of the South Africa victory.

Before the World Cup there was a report that Pietersen was planning on quitting ODI cricket after the tournament and although he denied the story there is a strong chance he has now played his last international in the format. England's next ODIs after the World Cup are against Sri Lanka in June.

There are various options to replace Pietersen at the top of the order with most of England's batsmen having had time in the role. Matt Prior was opening in Australia before reverting to the middle order, Ian Bell was touted as an option for the World Cup while Ravi Bopara, who returned to the side with a Man-of-the-Match 60 against South Africa, is another possible solution.