LONDON: England director of cricket Andrew Strauss said Tuesday that Kevin Pietersen was “not part of our plans for the summer”, saying there was a “massive trust issue” between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the controversial batsman.
However, Strauss stopped short of saying there was no way back into the international set-up for fellow former England captain Pietersen, adding: “He is not banned from the side but I can give him no guarantees for the future.”
Pietersen, 34, England’s leading all-time run-scorer across all formats, was sent into international exile last year following the team’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.
But the South Africa-born batsman was given hope of an international recall when new ECB chairman Colin Graves said there could be a way back if he scored enough runs in county cricket.
Yet just hours after he made his maiden first-class triple century for Surrey on Monday, Pietersen was told there was no prospect of him being selected by England in the immediate future.
As England captain, Strauss infamously had his own issues of “trust” with Pietersen in 2012 when the star batsman sent “provocative” texts critical of his skipper to opposition South Africa players.
It was a theme the former opening batsman returned to on Tuesday when, in his first press conference since being appointed to the director role after the ECB sacked former managing director Paul Downton, Strauss told Sky Sports: “I think the first thing to say is that now is the time for honest conversation about Kevin Pietersen.
“No one is doubting his ability. His record stacks up and he should be proud of that,” added Strauss, with Pietersen’s tally of 23 Test hundreds just shy of the England record of 26 held by current captain Alastair Cook.
“But over months and years the trust has eroded between him and the ECB and there is a massive trust issue between Kevin and me.
“I wish that wasn’t the case. I’m not apportioning blame — it’s just a fact,” added Strauss, with Pietersen having published an autobiography last year which was severely critical of many England team-mates and former coach Andy Flower.
“That is the reality — and because of that, we’ve decided it is not in the best short-term interests of the side for him to be in it,” Strauss explained.
“I went to see him last night to let him know he’s not part of our plans for the summer,” added Strauss as he ruled Pietersen out of the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand, which starts next week, or the ensuing Ashes campaign as well as England’s home limited overs internationals in 2015.
“Trust is imperative in any team environment. My job is to look to the future of English cricket and develop a side capable of winning tournaments over the next four years.
“[Pietersen] is not barred from playing for England but he is not part of our plans for this summer.”
Strauss subsequently told Sky he had offered Pietersen a role as an “advisor” on one-day cricket but that “he didn’t feel he was in a position to accept”.
Meanwhile Strauss confirmed his support for former opening partner Cook to continue as Test captain, with rising star Joe Root to become his vice-captain, while Eoin Morgan would continue as one-day skipper.
He added that former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie was “one of the candidates” to replace the sacked Peter Moores as England coach.
Strauss insisted his would not be a “tracksuit” role but said he had still to decide if he would be a selector.
As Strauss was speaking, on the other side of London, Pietersen, 326 not out overnight, took his score to an unbeaten 355 before Surrey lost their last wicket in a total of 557 against Leicestershire in a Second Division County Championship match at The Oval.
After Monday’s play, and before his meeting with Strauss, Pietersen said: “I was told to score runs, I think I’m scoring runs … I’m dedicated to getting back my England place.
“I want my England place, and I think I deserve my England place.”