16 Jul 2012

England hold firm in Pietersen selection

7:46 am on 16 July 2012

Kevin Pietersen must make himself available unconditionally for all England limited overs cricket if he is to help the side defend their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka in September, according to coach Andy Flower.

The 32-year-old, arguably England's most talented batsman, quit One Day Internationals after team management refused him his wish to appear in Twenty20 matches while opting out of 50-over games.

The terms of an England and Wales Cricket Board central contract prevent players picking and choosing formats and team management held firm, fearing an exodus of leading names from the one-day side if they gave Pietersen his head.

But Pietersen, speaking after warming-up for next week's first Test against his native South Africa with a superb unbeaten 234 for Surrey against county champions Lancashire, said he would love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket, but only if something could be "sorted out" about the "nightmare" schedule.

Pietersen was man of the tournament when England won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean two years ago but, unless he has a dramatic change of heart, Flower does not expect the 2012 squad will include the star batsman.

Flower says the ECB are determined to protect all three formats of the game.