REUTERS - England cricket chiefs have moved quickly to make it clear that Alastair Cook’s dismissal as one-day captain has not opened the door for a return to international cricket for batsman Kevin Pietersen.
The South African-born maverick’s undermining of Cook was one of the reasons Pietersen was cast aside by England in January after England’s 5-0 defeat in the last Ashes series in Australia.
The swashbuckling stroke-maker has a much better relationship with middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan, who has replaced Cook as captain for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year.
The 34-year-old batsman said earlier this month that he still had hopes of a recall but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Paul Downton moved to quell any hopes of a comeback.
“We parted company with Kevin in January because throughout the ECB management, from the dressing room up to the board, it was felt that it was the right decision to go in a slightly different direction,” he told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
”If anything more bridges have been burnt by Kevin’s book. There is no interest from our point of view in going backwards.
“We’ve got an exciting group of young players and Eoin’s excited to be working with those guys. He wants to fulfil that team’s potential.”
Pietersen, a former ICC ODI player of the year, released a book in October which contained attacks on the national cricket board and several of his former team mates.
Head selector James Whitaker was even blunter.
“The ECB management made this decision in January and it is the same decision now,” he told the paper. “There is no way that Kevin Pietersen will ever get back into an England team.”
Pietersen, who is in Australia playing Twenty20 cricket in the domestic Big Bash league, might draw some comfort from the fact that Whitaker backed Cook’s captaincy in September and Downton gave him another vote of confidence last week.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien