x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kevin Pietersen returns to fold for India tour

ECB 'keen to draw a line under this matter and fully focus on the cricketing challenge'.

Kevin Pietersen is presently on duty in South Africa with the Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League Twenty 20
Kevin Pietersen is presently on duty in South Africa with the Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League Twenty 20

LONDON // Kevin Pietersen was yesterday added to England's Test squad for the tour of India starting in November after resolving his issues with management and teammates following a drawn-out, phone-message row.

The flamboyant batsman was forced to undertake a "programme of reintegration" after falling out of favour with England for exchanging provocative text messages with South Africa players about then-test captain Andrew Strauss in August.

That process has lasted barely two weeks, however, with Pietersen quickly recalled after holding face-to-face discussions with team management and senior players in England this week.

"The meetings were constructive and cordial and all outstanding issues have been resolved," said Hugh Morris, the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board. "All the England players and management are now keen to draw a line under this matter and fully focus on the cricketing challenge that lies ahead in India."

The addition of Pietersen, who averages nearly 50 in Test matches, bolsters a batting line-up that had looked short of experience.

With Pietersen out of contention and Strauss retired, England called up the uncapped batsmen Joe Root and Nick Compton into a 16-man squad last month.

"We are pleased to welcome a player of Kevin's proven international calibre back into the Test squad for such an important Test series," Geoff Miller, the ECB national selector, said.

Pietersen will join up with England once his Champions League Twenty 20 commitments in South Africa with the Delhi Daredevils are finished.

England fly out to a training camp in Dubai next Thursday, with the first Test against India beginning on November 15.

"As we anticipate that Ian Bell will return home for the birth of his first child around the time of the second Test in Mumbai (starting on November 23), the team will benefit from having an extra batsman in the squad," Miller said.