‘326 is a pretty good argument’ for Kevin Pietersen but, reportedly, not good enough
Andrew Strauss is expected to confirm on Tuesday that he has blocked a Test return for England outcast Kevin Pietersen, just hours after the Surrey star smashed a career-best 326.
The England and Wales Cricket Board’s new director of cricket Strauss met Pietersen on Monday night, and is reported to have told the 34-year-old he has not earned a Test reprieve after 15 months in exile.
Pietersen blasted a maiden triple century in Surrey’s County Championship clash with Leicester at The Oval on Monday, and then declared: “I think I deserve my England place.”
New England chief Strauss will address the media for the first time at Lord’s on Tuesday, where Pietersen will once again be the focus.
The 104-Test star was handed hope of returning to the England fold by incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves last month.
Strauss’s arrival to replace the unseated Paul Downton looks to have dashed the former Nottinghamshire run-maker’s chances, however.
Former Daily Mirror editor and Pietersen’s close friend Piers Morgan claimed on Twitter that Strauss would block any recall for the Surrey star.
Rumours later emerged that last night’s meeting had not gone as Pietersen had planned, the big-hitting showman seemingly unable to sway Strauss with his stunning innings against Leicester.
England still need to launch their search for a new coach in earnest following Peter Moores’s sacking, and Strauss would have hoped to plot a new course at Tuesday’s press call.
Instead the former England captain will be forced to justify leaving Pietersen out in the cold despite his impressive early-season form.
Pietersen was sacked in February 2014 following England’s disastrous Ashes series whitewash in Australia, but the national side’s problems off the field and on it have kept him constantly in the public consciousness.
Pietersen himself was almost staving off the resignation of another snub immediately after his mammoth innings, that he labelled among the best of his career.
“All I’ve been asked to do by the chairman-elect is to get a county and get runs,” said Pietersen.
“I’ve got runs, I’ve got a county and I do believe I’m good enough to play for England.
“All I can do is score runs, that’s it.
“The pressure I was under this morning, that’s one of the best innings I’ve ever played – purely because I knew that tomorrow there’s a press conference, and I knew that there were things happening this evening.
“So I knew that I needed to basically answer any questions with runs on the deck.
“And goodness: 326 is a pretty good argument.”
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Updated: May 12, 2015 04:00 AM