x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kevin Pietersen may have no choice

Given Pietersen's dismal form in the 50-over version of the game, the question to be asked is whether he is actually doing his country a favour by sticking around?

The fact that Kevin Pietersen had to yesterday deny on his Twitter account that he was planning to retire from playing one-day international (ODI) cricket at the tender age of 30 after the upcoming World Cup should have come as no surprise.

But given his dismal form in the 50-over version of the game, the question has to be asked as to whether he is actually doing his country a favour by sticking around?

With Eoin Morgan ruled out of the tournament through injury, England's hopes of building big scores and chasing down totals would appear to rest heavily on the shoulders of Pietersen.

But since his last hundred in that form of the game, a patient 111 against India in November 2008, he has an average of just 21.2 and has only passed 30 five times in 22 innings.

Whether it is a lack of concentration or just poor form, Pietersen has failed to impress and, arguably, if it was anyone else but him then they would not be in the 15-man squad trying to win the tournament for England for the first time.

Pietersen actually was dropped for the ODI series against Pakistan last summer, but even that was disguised by the England management, who claimed they wanted him to find form for the Ashes series by playing for the county side Surrey.

When he is on form, Pietersen is England's most explosive batsman and that is why the selectors are persevering with him.

But if he fails to fire over the next month and a half and England once again flop then it may not be down to him as to whether he keeps playing 50-over cricket for his country.

 

gcaygill@thenational.ae