No England recall for Pietersen
LONDON — Kevin Pietersen was told he will not play for England again after meeting new England director of cricket Andrew Strauss to discover whether his career-best 326 not out yesterday was enough for a Test recall.
The South Africa-born former England captain confirmed the meeting with Strauss, as well as Tom Harrison, the new chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, following his unbeaten 326 for Surrey against Leicestershire — an extraordinary performance.
“There is a meeting this evening and it’s a totally private matter,” Pietersen said, refusing to speculate on any possible outcome.
However, Piers Morgan, his close friend and loudest cheerleader, quickly speculated that Pietersen was about to be told to forget his dream of playing for England in another Ashes series.
Tweeting shortly after Pietersen left the field to a standing ovation, Morgan said: “I can now reveal that Andrew Strauss and Tom Harrison asked to see KP tonight. I believe to tell him he wouldn’t play for England again.”
And that proved to be case even though Pietersen, who eclipsed his previous best score of 254 by 72 runs after hitting 34 fours and 14 sixes — “the most incred-
Southampton v Aston Villa, West Ham v Everton, Queens Park Rangers v Newcastle, Sunderland v Leicester, Burnley ible innings from KP ever seen,” according to Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart — believed he made a powerful case for his recall and acknowledged that with new men in the top jobs at Lord’s and a new coach to be appointed, he could not have chosen a better moment to deliver such an emphatic statement.
“They say timing is everything,” he said. “He (Strauss) has come in, there’s a new chairman (Colin Graves) on Friday or Saturday, there has to be a new coach, (Peter) Moores has gone.
“I’ve got to be careful what I say; it’s an interesting time, and what more can I do? I was told to go and get a county, I was told to score runs... I think I’m scoring runs.
“I’ve always said since my knee was sorted in Australia, after that first training session in Australia, I said that my knee’s good, and if my knee’s good, I’m going to play well.
“I played well in the Big Bash, I gave up a contract in India, I’m not playing for any money here - I’m dedicated to getting back my England place. I want my England place, and I think I deserve my England place.”
Nonetheless, it was always going to be a major surprise for Strauss to agree to KP’S return. His former batting partner and successor as Test captain, Alastair Cook, was firmly behind the decision to sack Pietersen following the Ashes whitewash in Australia two winters ago, and was furiousus when incoming ECB chairman Graves hinted in March that the door was not closed on a Pietersentersen return if he made enough ough runs in countyunty cricket.
Yet after finally disappointing the most talentedlented cricketer of his generation, ion, Strauss risks another PR disaster just ust days after ter the shabby dismissal of f Moores, whose second sackingg as England and coach — his first came along- Pietersen’s s removal as captain in early 2009 — was widely
si side de leaked the day before it was officially announced.
Now he is in danger of being accused of letting his own personal differences with the player cloud his judgment.
The “textgate” affair during the 2 2012 Test series against South Africa createdc a rift between th the pair that Pietersen tried to repair with an apology but which was reopened when, in his biography published last autumn, Pietersen held Strau Strauss responsible for allowing a bull bullying culture to develop in the Engl England team.
Strauss, meanwh meanwhile, had made his feelings toward Pietersen unequivocally clear w when, working as a television pundit,pu he was caught off micropho microphone during the MCC v Rest of the World match at Lord’s last July describing Pietersen as a “c*nt”.
He could have pu pulled a surprise and offered Pieters Pietersen a way back, although sources claimed that Strauss and his fell fellow candidates for the new role, w which will include ultimate res responsibility for team selection, we were told by the ECB that they wouldwou not be able to pick Pietersen i in any circumstances.
— The Independe Independent LONDON — Manny Pacquiao (pictured) says he is close to making a decision on whether to retire from boxing.
The Filipino, 36, returned to his home country on Wednesday following defeat by Floyd Mayweather in their world welterweight super-fight on 2 May.
“I will focus on healing my shoulder. After that, I will announce continuing my career or retirement,” he said.
“I’m not saying I am going to retire, but it’s near. I’m already 36, turning 37 this December.”
Despite a unanimous points defeat in Las Vegas, Pacquiao, a six-weight world champion, was welcomed back to the Philippines by fans as he paraded through the streets of capital city Manila on the back of a truck.
Pacquiao, who is also a congressman in his home country, had his arm supported by a sling following surgery on his injured shoulder –– a problem he said had hampered him during the fight with Mayweather, the most lucrative in boxing history.
New figures released by American networks Showtime and HBO said the fight shattered the previous record for total payper-view buys with 4.4m purchases of the fight in the United States alone.
That generated $400m in domestic sales while total revenue is expected to exceed $500m.
Mayweather (38) called Pacquiao a “sore loser” and has ruled out a rematch.
But Pacquiao, who is the subject of a Nevada law suit after being accused of failing to declare his injury prior to the bout, said he would consider fighting the undefeated American again. — BBC