Pietersen dropped by England, joins Surrey

LONDON Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:54pm IST

File photo of England's Kevin Pietersen as he celebrates reaching his half century during the Super 8 match against South Africa at Kensington Oval during the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament in Bridgetown May 8, 2010.  REUTERS/Philip Brown/Files

File photo of England's Kevin Pietersen as he celebrates reaching his half century during the Super 8 match against South Africa at Kensington Oval during the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament in Bridgetown May 8, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Philip Brown/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Batsman Kevin Pietersen was dropped by England on Tuesday for the first time in his career and will move from Hampshire to Surrey on loan for the rest of the county season.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) omitted the 30-year-old right-hander from the squads for the Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan which start on Sunday and the five one-dayers that follow.

"Kevin Pietersen has been omitted from both squads as we feel that his game would be best served by getting as much cricket under his belt as possible before a long and challenging winter," national selector Geoff Miller said.

"The remainder of the county season is an ideal opportunity to do just that...

"Kevin has proved on numerous occasions that he is a world- class player and we know he'll benefit from getting more time in the middle to work on his batting and get his game back to the level he has shown throughout his career.

Pietersen, part of the Twenty20 World Cup-winning side this year and voted the player of that tournament, had earlier declared on Twitter that he was "Done for rest of summer. Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too."

The South African-born player, who made his debut for England in 2004, also used an expletive in a 'Tweet' that was subsequently deleted -- but not before the content had spread rapidly through the media.

"NATURALLY DISAPPOINTED"

England under-19 captain Azeem Rafiq, who plays for Yorkshire, was fined 500 pounds ($770.3) and banned from all cricket for a month earlier in August for criticising team manager John Abrahams on his Twitter feed.

"While I'm naturally disappointed to have been omitted from the England squad I fully understand the reasons why and will be doing everything I can to get back into the England team," he said in the ECB statement.

"I have no issue with the selectors omitting me from the limited-overs squads and my sole focus now is working on my game ahead of an exciting winter."

Pietersen has passed fifty for England just once this season and the last of his 16 test centuries was scored against West Indies in March, 2009.

A break from internationals would give him time to get more first-class cricket under his belt before the start of the Ashes in Australia in November.

Pietersen spoke this month of a personal crisis in which he said he had fallen out of love with the game after struggling to score runs and having to re-adjust to the ranks after losing the captaincy.

Pietersen quit as captain 18 months ago in controversial circumstances after a public fallout with former coach Peter Moores.

He also underwent Achilles surgery last year which became infected, keeping him out of most of the Ashes series and leaving him fearing for his career. He returned to the side for a disappointing tour of his native South Africa.

Wicketkeeper Steven Davies was selected in both squads after an excellent year for Surrey while Craig Kieswetter was omitted from the one-day series lineup.

"As ever the wicketkeeper's role is a fiercely contested position in the England team and we've no doubt Craig Kieswetter will continue to press for the chance to reclaim his place in the England ODI squad," said Miller.

Twenty20 squad: Collingwood, Anderson, Bopara, Bresnan, Broad, Steven Davies, Kieswetter, Morgan, Sidebottom, Swann, Luke Wright, Yardy.

One-day squad: Strauss, Anderson, Bopara, Bresnan, Broad, Collingwood, Steven Davies, Morgan, Shahzad, Sidebottom, Swann, Trott, Luke Wright, Yardy.

(Editing by Ed Osmond. To query or comment on this story email: sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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