Kevin Pietersen has been named England's captain for the final match of their one-day series after Paul Collingwood was banned for four ODIs. Collingwood was found guilty of Level 3 ICC Code of Conduct breach following his side's failure to bowl their overs in the required time during their dramatic one-wicket defeat against New Zealand at The Oval on Wednesday.
In addition to missing the final one-dayer against New Zealand at Lord's on Saturday, Collingwood will also play no part in England's ODI against Scotland, their Twenty20 international against South Africa on August 20, nor the first of five ODIs a week later.
"I'm humbled to have been handed the England one-day captaincy in Paul Collingwood's absence for the final game at Lord's," Pietersen said. "Captaining England has been a dream of mine but I also understand that I'm assuming the role in Paul's absence as he is the captain and leader of the one-day side. To be asked to captain your country is the ultimate honour in sport and I feel privileged and proud to have been asked to lead the side on Saturday.
"I'm very much looking forward to leading the team against New Zealand and am excited by the challenge of captaining such a young and talented side. We can't win this series but I, like the rest of the dressing room, expect an outstanding England performance to finish the series on a high."
It remains to be seen whether Pietersen will continue the captaincy for the other three ODIs that Collingwood is missing, although there is no other obvious candidate - he is the second-most experienced of the options after James Anderson. Who replaces him at No.5 for the South Africa matches is harder to guess, but a shift in the batting order could be made to accommodate Alastair Cook - England's leading run-scorer in their last two one-day series - who has now fully recovered from his shoulder injury. Luke Wright and Ian Bell's opening partnership has promised much, but if Cook does return, it seems probable he will open the batting. Wright could then bolster the middle-order.
"Obviously I'm disappointed to be missing England's next four limited overs matches but as a team we are aware of the rules and regulations in place and it's my responsibility to bear the penalties for such a breach," Collingwood said. "Clearly we'll look to address the problem so it doesn't happen again.
"The England captaincy means the world to me and already I'm looking forward to leading the one-day team against South Africa in August. I wish my team-mates all the best for Saturday's final ODI as we aim to finish the series with a win."
Collingwood's four-match ban comes hot on the heels of yesterday's controversial match at The Oval. With Grant Elliott being run out after colliding with Ryan Sidebottom, Collingwood was offered the chance to withdraw his appeal. He turned it down, however, a decision he later apologised for.
A deficit of more than two overs in an ODI brings with it an automatic Level 2 charge against the captain involved, but if that captain has already been charged and found guilty of the offence within the preceding 12 months then the charge is elevated to Level 3.
England also felt short of the required over-rate against India in Bristol on August 24 last year. On that occasion the team was, as at The Oval on Wednesday, three overs down and Collingwood was fined 50% of his match fee. The regulations also state that players shall be docked 5% of their match fees for every over short of the required mark, with the captain fined double.