Kevin Pietersen still out of favour

First he was excluded from the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, now Pietersen has been left out of England's India tour.

    Kevin Pietersen still out of favour
    Big hitter Pietersen has been playing for county cricket side Surrey but is still an England outcast [GETTY]

    Kevin Pietersen was left out by England on Tuesday for the upcoming cricket tour of India, keeping the country's star batsman out of favour after the text-message controversy that threatened team unity and his future at international level.

    Pietersen said he was "naturally disappointed'' to miss out on a place in the 16-man Test squad, having held a series of talks with England management after being dropped last month for sending "provocative'' texts to South Africa players about then-Test captain Andrew Strauss.

    "There are issues still to be resolved, Kevin has not been considered for selection for the India tour,'' ECB managing director Hugh Morris said.

    The squad contained uncapped batsmen Joe Root and Nick Compton - the grandson of England great Denis Compton - and will be captained for the first time on a full-time basis by Alastair Cook.

    But the continued absence of the South African-born Pietersen, who averages nearly 50 in Test matches and is the most prolific batsman in the world when at his best, provided the main talking point.

    Pietersen has apologised for sending the text messages to his friends in the South Africa squad, which were reportedly critical of Strauss and coach Andy Flower, and has pledged his commitment to England.

    However, with the issue remaining a divisive one in the England dressing room, he was stripped of his central contract this month and wasn't included in the squad for the World Twenty20, which begins on Tuesday.

    Tournament underway

    The opening match of the tournament sees the hosts Sri Lanka in action against Zimbabwe.

    Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are in Group D along with South Africa, with the top two teams advancing to the Super Eights.

    Sri Lanka brought in opening batsman Dilshan Munaweera for his debut while unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis recovered from back trouble to start.

    Zimbabwe surprisingly left out seasoned left-arm spinner Ray Price with former skipper Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer the two slow bowlers in the playing eleven.

    No host country has won the World Twenty20 in three editions of the tournament. England are the defending champions.

    On Wednesday, the war torn nation Afghanistan makes its second appearance in the competition. 

    Afghan captain Nawroz Mangal says his team are ready to give India a scare in their World Twenty20 match, vying to live up to the expectations that it is capable of creating upsets against the top teams in the game.

    Mangal told reporters ahead of the match that cricket in Afghanistan has developed since they played the last tournament in the West Indies two years ago, and it wants to prove they belong in the big league.

    He said every Afghan back home is aware that their national cricket team is playing the tournament and there is good support.

    The match will be played at R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

    England Squad (for India tour): Alastair Cook (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Nick Compton, Steven Finn, Graham Onions, Eoin Morgan, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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