It's official and, not for the first time, that Kevin Pietersen has been told he has no future with England cricket. This, despite the fact that he scored a sensational hundred for Surrey in a county game, which was followed by a meeting with England's new director of cricket, former captain Andrew Strauss. During the meeting, he was clearly told by his former captain that in spite of him being a great player, he will not be considered for England, owing to 'trust' issues between him and the ECB. Bizarrely, he was offered a position as an advisor of the one-day team which he, not surprisingly, declined.
Later expressing anger over the snub, Pietersen wrote in his Telegraph column, "I went into the meeting expecting Strauss to say that England's batting order is good at the moment but if I continued to score runs and if an injury occurred then I would be in contention to play. I would naturally have to earn my recall, but at least I would be eligible. But no. Quite simply, I feel deeply misled. Tom has tried to say that Colin Graves was misinterpreted by the media when he said there was a way back for me."
It may be recalled that Sunrisers Hyderabad agreed to release Kevin Pietersen for season eight, on the condition that he would come back to join the squad in case the franchise makes it to the play-offs, which now seems like a serious possibility. This was after Colin Graves apparently told him that he could be back in the England team in case he scores runs in county cricket. Having made an unbeaten 326 for Surrey on Monday, the batsman, who is not known for mincing words boasted, "I want by England place back, I deserve my England place."
The meeting between KP and the new men at ECB however did not conclude as expected by Pietersen even as he went on from 326 to 355 not out for Surrey. Strauss stuck to his stand that Pietersen had no place in English cricket. Strauss and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison met up with KP, and informed him the same. With this, Pietersen may have played his last county match as well.
"The first thing to say is now's the time for some really honest and open conversation about Kevin Pietersen. No one has ever doubted Kevin Pietersen's ability as a player. He has been a phenomenal player for England over a long period of time. His record stacks up to anyone in England cricket, and he should be very proud of that. But over months and years, the trust between himself and the ECB has eroded," Strauss told Sky Sports.
It may be recalled that Strauss and Pietersen do not share a great camaraderie. In 2012, when Strauss was the captain of England, Pietersen was dropped from the final Test against South Africa after he sent some 'unsavoury' text messages to the opposition camp.
What next for KP?
A disappointed Pietersen, who feels 'cheated' by the ECB will now head to India to take part in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad, as agreed earlier. Pietersen will be flying out to India on Friday, and will join the IPL franchise captained by David Warner.
So have we heard the last of the KP saga, perhaps not...
--By A Cricket Correspondent