Pietersen's England future remains unclear


Cricket:England team director Andy Flower has blamed Kevin Pietersen’s desire to be available for the whole of the Indian Premier League as the starting point for the right-hander’s fall from grace.

Pietersen’s England future has been cast into serious doubt following a turbulent summer that has led to the fracturing of his relationship with team-mates and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The 32-year-old has found himself on the outer with hopes of a return resting on whether he can re-establish trust within the England set-up following his texting controversy. It is a situation that has tested the resolve of Flower, who believes Pietersen’s attitude to the England set-up has been changed by the lure of the IPL.

Pietersen announced his shock retirement from limited overs internationals earlier this summer — despite his desire to appear in next month’s World Twenty20 title defence — in a move that would allow him more scope to play with his high-profile IPL franchise the Delhi Daredevils.

He subsequently backtracked on playing a full IPL tournament next spring in his YouTube video, where he re-affirmed his commitment to representing England in all three formats.

But Flower is certain Pietersen’s availability for the cash-rich tournament is at the heart of the current problems he admits are likely to linger with little hope of an IPL window being introduced to avoid clashes with England internationals.

“I think it’s fair to say that his issues over being available for the entire IPL have changed his attitude,” Flower said. “I think that was the catalyst for a lot of the stuff. “I think the IPL and the international fixtures in England are an area of conflict. And it will continue to be an area of conflict in the future.

“It would be better if there was a very clear window prior to our international season starting. But it doesn’t look like that is an issue that is going to be sorted out in the future so it may well recur.”

Flower yesterday made it clear he wanted Pietersen to hold “face-to-face” and “man-to-man” talks with skipper Andrew Strauss — who was reportedly mentioned by Pietersen in the derogatory text messages sent to South African players.

That would, apparently, be the first step towards any resolution which will take place with the knowledge that the renewal of the England central contracts loom large on the horizon.

England’s players will sign off on new deals next month although Flower does not expect any resolution on the Pietersen matter to have been concluded before then. That would likely cast further doubt over the South Africa-born batsman’s future, although Flower was reluctant to be drawn on the consequences it might have on Pietersen’s contract negotiations.

“I don’t think it would be fair for me to say that. Regardless of central contracts, I wouldn’t like to put a time frame on it because that might be unrealistic. To resolve certain issues of trust and mutual respect, it might take longer than that.”

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