It certainly was not a shock to me when Kevin Pietersen was omitted from
England's squad for the World Twenty20
later this year.
There are still issues to be sorted out and
he had already been left out of the final Test against South Africa.
England captain Andrew Strauss said those issues
must be resolved
before any decisions about Pietersen's international future are made.
Hats off to South Africa
Congratulations to South Africa, who thoroughly deserved to win the Test series against England and take over as the number one side in the world. They outplayed Andrew Strauss's side in every department and proved to be far too good.
Speaking purely as an England fan, I want to see Pietersen back in the team.
He's an X-factor player - a box-office cricketer - and England will miss him at the World T20. Any team without him is a weaker team when you appreciate what he is capable of with a bat in his hand.
But I know from my playing days that
the whole team needs to be a tight-knit unit.
Pietersen knows that until he is able to sit down with Strauss and team director Andy Flower to sort out things out - face to face and in a totally honest way - then he will not feature in the current set-up.
If there is not any common ground, then he will not come back. It is as simple as that.
I hope Strauss and Flower want Pietersen back in the side, but they have the power to resurrect his international career or end it.
A lot has been written and said about the content of the
text messages Pietersen is meant to have sent to some South Africa players.
It was said initially that he advised the opposition to bowl around the wicket to Strauss to get him out, but there have been reports that indicate that is untrue.
We need to remember that a lot of what has been said and written is pure speculation. We do not know exactly what caused the breakdown in the relationship between Pietersen and the team.
Multi-tasking at the Test
The Premier League season is under way and there have already been a few surprise results, with Manchester United and Liverpool both losing. As good as the final Test was, I must admit I had one eye on the spare TV in the commentary box at Lord's. I didn't want to miss Chelsea beating Wigan, did I…?
I was very interested in
"This is not just an issue between the captain and Kevin," he said. "There are deeper issues.
"Certainly the issues of trust and mutual respect need to be addressed. There are unresolved issues that have reared their heads in the last few weeks. Those issues have to be resolved before there is any way forward."
Pietersen's next opportunity to play for England is on the
tour of India
Between now and then, meetings will take place to clear up this ugly and unwanted mess, allowing everyone to move on and concentrate solely on the cricket. The sooner those discussions take place the better.
Picking the T20 and one-day squads must have been a pretty straightforward process for the England selectors.
T20 captain Stuart Broad has been rested for the one-day internationals against South Africa, starting on Friday in Cardiff.
That makes sense. Any opportunity England get to rest one of their big guns in the crowded fixture schedule is welcome.
in Sri Lanka, England have all bases covered in the bowling department:
- Graeme Swann, Samit Patel and Danny Briggs as the frontline spinners;
- The swing, reverse swing and variations of Jade Dernbach;
- The height and pace of Steven Finn;
- Tim Bresnan and Broad as bowling all-rounders;
- And the medium pace of Ravi Bopara will be handy on the slow, low surfaces, as will Luke Wright's skills with the ball.
England are the defending champions
but will play in conditions that have not always suited them. However, if they perform with confidence and a no-fear attitude, then retaining the trophy is quite possible.