LONDON: Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has told current limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan he will be putting his international future in jeopardy if he opts out of the upcoming tour of Bangladesh.
The future of the tour was in the balance after an attack on a Dhaka cafe in July saw 20 – mostly foreign – hostages killed, with the Islamic State group claiming responsibility.
However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said last month that the tour, which includes three one-day international and two Test match fixtures in October and November, would go ahead as planned.
The confirmation followed a visit to Bangladesh by an ECB delegation led by their long-serving security chief Reg Dickason.
England coach Trevor Bayliss has confirmed he has no qualms about touring Bangladesh, although Moeen Ali is the only England player to so far state publicly, and without qualification, that he will go if selected.
However, reports in the British press have suggested Test skipper Alastair Cook, who no longer plays white-ball cricket for England, will travel to Bangladesh as well.
“Eoin Morgan has no choice but to go to Bangladesh,” Pietersen explained in his Daily Telegraph column published Tuesday.
“It is a case of one in, all in so if he does not go he will have a red cross next to his name as far as the bosses at the England and Wales Cricket Board are concerned,” added Pietersen, England’s captain when they continued with their 2008 tour of India following the Mumbai terror attacks.
Morgan, speaking last week, denied he was “reluctant” to tour, with the Irishman saying: “I think when so much information is thrown at you within two months of a terrorist attack you need to digest everything and be settled within yourself so you can go there and concentrate on cricket.”
But Pietersen, whose brilliant career as an England batsman ended following the fall-out from the team’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia in 2013/14 following several run-ins with coaching staff and officials, said the ECB would not take kindly to their security advice being rejected by a senior player.
“When Alastair Cook is willing to lead the Test squad it puts huge pressure on Eoin as captain of the one-day team. He may still decide not to make the trip, and it is his right to take that personal choice, but it will be held against him at some stage in the future, despite any assurances to the contrary.
“When everyone else says they are willing to go why do you think you are more important than the others? That will be the unsaid message.
“People at Lord’s have long memories. They will not forget that he went against their advice and refused to captain England on a tour. It might not damage his standing with fellow players but it certainly would with the hierarchy in St John’s Wood.
“When the going gets tough for him in the future, with the team losing, or a run of personal low scores, then he will find that the loyalty from his bosses will not be the same because he went against them.
“That is just the way it is. In the end it will come back to haunt him.”