Flower endorses Pietersen departure
Kevin Pietersen had little choice but to miss the rest of the World Cup, according to England team director Andy Flower.
Pietersen is returning to the UK for surgery on a hernia, that has not only ruled him out of the World Cup but also the Indian Premier League in which the batsman was due to play for Deccan Chargers.
England, who have called up fit-again Eoin Morgan as a replacement, hope Pietersen will be available for the first international action of the summer - the npower Test series with Sri Lanka that starts on May 26.
Pietersen’s injury was diagnosed in the UK before England's departure for the World Cup, but medical advisers were confident he would be able to get through the tournament.
But having bowled eight overs of off-spin versus the Proteas, following his first failure with the bat in the competition, Pietersen felt he was in too much pain to carry on.
Flower is satisfied that Pietersen simply could not have continued playing through the pain.
“He’s got a problem, and I’ve seen the scan myself,” he said. “It’s a problem he has been dealing with for a number of weeks now, so he has got to go and get that sorted out.
“We hope he will be ready for the first Test against Sri Lanka in the English summer.”
“He couldn’t move properly,” Flower explained. “He’s struggling to move at the required efficiency you need for international cricket, so we’ve taken the decision to send him home.
“He’ll have the operation as soon as possible. We wish him well and we’ve replaced him with Eoin Morgan, who’ll be arriving in Chittagong tomorrow afternoon.”
Pietersen’s early departure means captain Andrew Strauss requires a new opening partner.
Flower and Strauss have three days to make that decision before England take on Bangladesh in Chittagong in their penultimate group fixture.
Whoever takes the role, though, it seems the coach is at ease with the notion of Morgan slipping straight back into the team if necessary.
Out-of-form Paul Collingwood, who is also carrying a knee injury, was dropped in favour of Ravi Bopara for the much-needed victory against South Africa.
Flower said: “It’s unfortunate for Kev. But we’ve got Eoin, who is a proven performer in this form of the game. We’re glad to have him. We’re moving on now, and Eoin Morgan is an exciting cricketer. It’s going to be good to have him back.”
The coach appears optimistic nonetheless that it is worth persisting with the experiment of Pietersen opening the batting in one-day internationals.
He shared stands of 105, 68 and 91 with Strauss in England’s three Group B games prior to yesterday.
“He is a world-class player,” added Flower. “I thought he was forming an interesting opening partnership with Andrew Strauss.
“In three of the four games they’ve played together, they have looked good up front and they put on significant partnerships that have kicked off good batting performances.”